Interview: Suzy Wallace Talks Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends

Can you go the distance?

Driving simulators have long been a staple of the video game industry. New iterations and tech advancements have helped us get closer to the track and live and breathe the cars we drive in. The Test Drive series has been around, but it as been an open world drive from the very beginning. This new installment named, Test Drive: Ferrari Racing legends is developed by Slight Mad Studios, who are the original developers on the Need For Speed: Shift series. I recently got a chance to talk to Suzy Wallace, the producer at Slightly Mad Studios and got inside info on the game and what the future holds for the series.

GamerLive.TV: Just to start us off, would you mind giving us some background info on Slightly Mad Studio. What games have you done in the past?

Wallace: Our background is very much in the 'full-on, physics-based sim racer' - a sizeable chunk of our team worked on GTR, GT Legends and GTR 2 originally, so that's really where SMS's roots lie. Those titles were all pretty hardcore PC sims, but we wanted more and were eager to release our first console title to show off what we were capable of. In a chance meeting at the beginning of 2008, we showed off our engine to EA and they were blown away. Now under the name of Slightly Mad Studios, we produced Need for Speed: SHIFT and then SHIFT 2 Unleashed for EA.

GamerLive.TV: So transitioning to Ferrari Racing Legends, what did the development team learn from Need for Speed: Shift series?

Wallace: Coming after NFS really helped us. Our engine had been through several iterations on the NFS titles, which meant that we had a stable and mature base from which to start from, not to mention the entire team's experience of having created two major console titles. Everything from stability issues to getting the cars approved we'd been through before.

GamerLive.TV: For hardcore fans Test Drive fans, What's the main difference between Test Drive Unlimited and Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends?

Wallace: Test Drive Unlimited features a huge open world for the player to drive around in and has more of a general lifestyle focus. FRL still has the same passion for exotic machinery but the focus this time is on telling the story of the brand. From their first car ever made to the latest F1car, FRL is an exploration of the cars throughout history that have made Ferrari truly the greatest automotive brand around. The open world environment is replaced by some of the world's greatest tracks in order to tell this story.

GamerLive.TV: What separates Test Drive: Ferrari Racing legends from other racing simulators on the market?  

Wallace: FRL's career allows players to explore different eras of Ferrari's history. Whether it be starting with their very first car back in 1947, kicking off in the glorious 70s or jumping right in at the 90s, the player can choose which era to start in. And there's lots of variation too - it's not just about getting onto the podium. From showing off new car designs to spectators without causing any damage, to having to stay within three seconds of an opponent for several laps, the career offers a variety of mission types beyond the standard races.