Blur (video game)
|Genre(s)||Racing, vehicular combat|
Blur (stylized as blur) is an arcade racing video game released on May 2010 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was developed by Bizarre Creations and published by Activision in North America and Europe. The game features a racing style that incorporates real world cars and locales with arcade style handling and vehicular combat. Blur was the penultimate game developed by Bizarre Creations before they were shut down by Activision on February 18, 2011.
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In Blur's career mode, the player will encounter numerous characters and many licensed cars ranging from Dodge Vipers to Lotus Exiges to Ford Transit and vans fitted with F1 engines, all of which have full damage modeling and separate traits such as Acceleration, Speed, Drift, Grip and Stability. Some special car models have been designed by Bizarre Creations themselves. Albeit simplified, the tracks are also based on real-world environments, such as the Los Angeles river canals and several parts of London. Depending on the character(s) the player races against or tags along with in team races, they will have their own racing styles, power-up setups, match types, locales and cars. As the player reaches the podium in races, performs stunts and uses power-ups in certain ways, they will gain 'fan points'. These points help the player progress through the career, purchase more cars and parts and earn more fans for the user base. Also, during the career, players will encounter fan icons along the tracks. Driving through these will trigger short challenges (e.g. shooting another car with a certain weapon, or performing a long drift), which will reward the player with a fan points boost. During the career mode, each challenge features a final boss, which, once defeated will yield access to their specific mods (mods being upgrades that provide enhanced functionality to a standard powerup e.g. Khan's titanium shield), and customized cars. At the final boss challenge, all the bosses meet together for a final race.
A trailer and tips video for the game on Xbox Live mentioned a feature that never made it to the final game. The feature, called "double tap", was meant to allow a player to combine several powerups of the same type for a more powerful effect, by double tapping the special power use button. The video was removed near the release of the game and little, if any, mention of the feature, seems to have been made again. The "double tap" feature was not present in the free multiplayer demo of the game offered on Xbox Live.
The game can be played with up to four players in split screen, and the game can be taken online for a maximum of 20 players over the internet, or over LAN in the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 versions. In a custom game, options can be set before each match that determine the layout of power-ups, car classes, number of laps, and the track to race. A match type called "World Tour" is essentially a quick play option for players who want to jump into a match. Here, every player is given a random car and thrown into a random series of courses with a standard ruleset. Multiplayer also offers "Team Racing" mode. Two teams (Alpha & Omega) can put themselves head to head either publicly or private. During races, each player accumulates points for their finishing position. While in team racing, powerups will not affect the player's own team members with the exception of Shock. Players can send a racing challenge to an online friend. If the second player beats the time, they can send the updated challenge back. These challenges go back and forth until one person concedes. Players can also use the Share button, and post their achievements to Twitter and Facebook.
The game was very well received overall by critics, with a Metacritic score of 82/100 on the Xbox 360 and an 81/100 on the PlayStation 3 and PC.
Despite disappointing sales, Nick Davies of Bizarre Creations had announced in July 2010 that the studio intended to create more games in the series, and wanted to make it the biggest racing franchise. He attributed the sales performance of Blur, to the fact that the game was released at "a very busy time for racing games", and that it "came out at the same time as ModNation Racers and Split/Second." However, he believed "that the strong multiplayer component would give the game staying power", and "it's going to be a slow-burner".
On February 18, 2011, Activision announced that it was closing Bizarre Creations, stating:
Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations, the fundamentals of the racing genre have changed significantly. Although we made a substantial investment in creating a new IP, Blur, it did not find a commercial audience. Bizarre is a very talented team of developers, however, because of the broader economic factors impacting the market, we are exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business.
A sequel was planned for Blur, and work had started on it using an all-new engine, but it was cancelled when Bizarre Creations was shut down by Activision. Work-in-progress videos of the intended sequel were released post-mortem, one of which show a race in Blur's Brighton track, adding a rainstorm, another that shows an Audi R8 racing in a track set in Dubai, showcasing the ability to temporarily run sideways on the side of a curved building, and another of an Ultima GTR racing down a snow-capped mountain during an avalanche.
On October 25, 2013 a free-to-play spin-off mobile game called Blur Overdrive was released on Android, developed by Nottingham based App Crowd, and distributed by Marmalade, who licensed the Blur brand from Activision. An iOS version was released on November 1, 2013. Blur: Overdrive uses a top-down perspective and features eight different power-ups and six cars, which can be upgraded individually in ten steps. Touchscreen controls allow to choose from a floating steering wheel, a slide bar or a virtual pad. Player mods and Power Up mods are not connected to the car upgrading system and change how power-ups influence the combat.
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