European box art
|Developer(s)||Black Rock Studio
Sumo Digital (PSP)
|Publisher(s)||Disney Interactive Studios|
Split/Second, released in the UK as Split/Second: Velocity, is an arcade racing video game developed by Black Rock Studio and published by Disney Interactive Studios for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Revealed in March 2009, the game was released in May 2010  and was later released for OnLive in June 2011. In the game, players take part in a fictional reality television show, consisting of a variety of events, each focusing on destructible environments triggered remotely by driver actions known as "powerplays".
In Split/Second, players take part in a fictional reality TV program where participants race for money and glory. Throughout a race, players can build up their "powerplay" meter by performing stunts such as jumps and precision driving such as drafting and drifting. As the player builds up their meter, special events can be triggered which create obstacles for other players, create shortcuts or alter the race course entirely. These triggers are also activated by the player's AI opponents.
Such events include explosions, aeroplane crashes and building collapses. The severity of the events available to trigger varies depending on how full the player's meter is. The first level of events are available when one of the three bars on the HUD are full and the most extreme can only be triggered once all three are full. Event locations, and the vehicles they will affect, are highlighted with blue icons for the level one powerplays, and red icons for level two, and the player must time the action accurately in order to hinder his or her competitors as much as possible. One section of the powerplay meter resets once a level one event is triggered, so the player must also choose whether to activate the less destructive first-level events as soon as they are available, or save their powerplay points and build them up further in order to use the top-tier actions. There are also certain powerplays that reset for the next lap, such as bombs dropped from helicopters, small environmental changes and secret shortcuts, but there will also be powerplays that will never reset, until the race is finished, restarted or quit. Black Rock Studios also wanted to make the HUD as simple as possible by taking away all unnecessary elements such as the speedometer and the track map (rendered useless due to the dynamic nature of the track) leaving only the lap count, position that the player is in, and the powerplay meter, all positioned behind the car itself, to leave more room to display visuals.
Using the reality TV show premise, the game is broken up into 72 events across 12 episodes, with different modes available. One such mode, "Survival", has the player racing along a given track, while contending with a time limit and a series of trucks rolling colored barrels out of the back to stop the player reaching the finish in time. Blue barrels takes away seconds and red barrels result in instant death, followed by a respawn. Overtaking a truck will add extra seconds to the timer. When the timer runs out, the game goes into a sudden death phase where the next fatal impact will end the race. Another mode, "Air Attack", sees the player dodge incoming missile fire from a helicopter. The power-play gauge acts as a way to steer the missiles back at the helicopter in "Air Revenge", ultimately destroying it.
The game also has a multiplayer mode, with both 8-player online and 2-player split-screen offline available.
A "time savers" downloadable content pack was released upon the game's launch which unlocks all cars, tracks and modes without the player having to unlock them by playing through the game's "Season" mode. The "High Octane Supercar" pack was released on August 31, 2010 as a paid download. In addition, the Elite Vehicle Livery and Ryback Cyclone Special (an upgraded version of an on-disc car) packs were released as free downloads.
The next paid download was released as the "Survival at the Rock" pack and included a new Survival mode track (Minepit Park) and a new multiplayer-only mode (Survival Race; a racing variant of the Survival mode). It was released on October 12.
Another vehicle pack, entitled the "Deadline" pack, was released on October 20. The Deadline pack included three new cars and an enhanced version of the Coyote vehicle. Also included is the Deadline mode, a variation of Detonator where pickups spread across the track can pause the timer.
The final known pack is the "Quarry Onslaught" pack, released to Xbox Live Marketplace on November 2. Included with this pack is the "Quarry" race course and the "Onslaught" game type. During an Onslaught event, racers are challenged to pull ahead of the competition while the helicopter fires missiles onto the track. Points are awarded based on how close to the front the racer is and the game will end after twenty missile waves.
Split/Second has received positive reviews, and currently holds an 84, 82, 79 and 63 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation Portable versions respectively, at aggregate site Metacritic.
In the UK, the PC version of Split/Second is only available to buy as a download from Gamesplanet.
The PlayStation Portable (PSP) version was released on November 17, 2010, with porting and development duties handled by Sumo Digital. The PSP version of the game features, among other changes, an extra track based on the "Docks" environment. The track (simply called "The Docks") is a composite course that takes the drivers through areas from each of the three other Docks environment courses (Dry Docks, Ferry Wharf, and Port Bridge) in a single lap. The PSP version also adds new gameplay modes that offer variants on the core game (such as drifting around the training course to earn points). The PSP version also offers some changes to the game itself, such as revamped physics to make driving easier on the PSP. Subtle changes to track design, event rules, and car statistics were also made to the PSP version.
The PSP version supports ad hoc multiplayer for up to four drivers.
After finishing Episode 12, a cutscene is shown in which all powerplays in the city are activated by an unknown reason, and a black screen reading "To be continued..." appears. However, in May 2011, Eurogamer spoke to an anonymous source that confirmed Disney Interactive Studios had made a reduction at Black Rock Studio's workforce. Due to Disney's new management the game was cancelled in December 2010 despite attempts to fit with their new business model.
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- Eurogamer - Split/Second studio lay-offs confirmed