Micro Machines: World Series is set to launch in just a few short weeks on the PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. It’s bringing a revival to the classic top-down racer that made fans worldwide on the SNES and Megadrive. We caught up with Codemasters’ Matthew Becket, Product Manager, to chat about the game, its many gameplay options, esports possibilities, and even a chance for a Switch version.
GameSpace: What brought on the idea to bring back Micro Machines? It was, quite simply, one of my fondest SNES gaming memories.
Simply put, our fans! It is the game our community has been shouting most loudly for us to bring back. We released a version of Micro Machines on mobile last year, and the response was extremely positive. But there were always questions such as: “When are we going to get a Micro Machines for the console?” and ”When can I play Micro Machines on a PS4 or Xbox One?” So many people we heard from had enjoyed Micro Machines as a formative console experience, on consoles like the Megadrive, SNES or PSX – and they were clearly hungry for more. We figured it was time – following experiences gained developing our other titles we knew how to bring back the gameplay everybody had fond memories of, and also (most importantly) how to bring the experience up to date for a modern audience.
GS: What sorts of single player modes will be available?
Micro Machines has always been primarily a multiplayer-driven experience, and that’s part of the DNA we’ve brought across to Micro Machines World Series. The great thing is that we have so much more multiplayer options now compared to what was available back on the older consoles. Back then, if you had a sofa full of friends then the game would be firing on all cylinders, it was amazing! But if you didn’t… Well, it was still fun – but for some people, the experience would definitely be missing something.
With Micro Machines World Series, we don’t have any such problem! With online multiplayer, it doesn’t matter if you’re on your own at home – you’ve got your friends on tap, and a global audience of other Micro Machines fans to battle with.
But if you’re feeling a bit anti-social, or just want a bit of practice, don’t worry! We’ve still got you covered. The “Skirmish” local multiplayer mode can let you play against other people on the same console… and also lets you play Race, Elimination and Free-For-All battles against AI opponents so you can hone your skills before heading back online.
GS: And local co-op and competitive are there too?
The game supports online groups, meaning you can group up with friends and coordinate to maximize your effectiveness in the new, team-based battle modes.
Competitive mode is definitely something players can get their teeth into! We have introduced racing seasons, allowing players to rank up over six weeks competing against players from around the world. Each season players compete for ranked points, which will allow them to advance through these divisions, and earning prizes each time they get promoted! The highest division – ‘Elite’ – lets the best of the best compete for global ranking, with exclusive titles being awarded to the players who place highly enough at the end of the season.
GS: Battle Mode strikes me as something that could really help the game take off, a la Rocket League. How much as Psyonix’ game influence this new Micro Machines?
I think the biggest influence was demonstrating that there’s a massive audience for car-based games beyond sole simulations. Codemasters are experts in the racing genre, so we have a lot of petrol heads throughout our offices. But loving a good Formula One or Rally experience doesn’t stop a lot of them from also enjoying the thrill of scoring a perfect goal in Rocket League at lunchtime… And it hasn’t stopped them having fun bumping each other off the kitchen table or going on a hammer spree in Micro Machines. Turns out there’s a lot of stuff you can do with cars if you focus on just having some (competitive) fun!
GS: Will there be leaderboards and ongoing content support?
We have the Elite leaderboard each season, but supporting a friends leaderboard each season was also a priority for us. I’m good, but I don’t necessarily expect to be dominating the Elite leaderboard after the game is launched! But having a way to compete against my friends, even if I don’t necessarily always get to be online at the same time as them… that’s a good smack talk generator for my little social circle.
The game also features a calendar of Special Events to regularly freshen things up with tweaks to the game rules, so there is always a reason to keep coming back.
GS: Any thoughts of bringing it to the Switch? That handheld mode is DYING for this game.
There are definitely a lot of things about Micro Machines that make it a great fit for the social, shared screen experience of the Switch, and its pass-around joy-cons… So we’re keeping a close eye on it and how it does. It’s great to see how well it’s done these last few weeks! But right now the team’s focus is squarely on perfecting the Xbox, PS4 and PC versions, and getting in every last little thing we can to make those versions as much fun as they can be for launch.
GS: Any final words for our readers? When can we play!
Micro Machines will be available June 23rd on Xbox One, PlayStation4, and Steam. We’ll see you folks out there! Keep your eyes on www.micromachinesgame.com in the coming weeks for more information and trailers for the game up to launch.