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Evolution Studios Game Director Jed Ashforth has announced the MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Expansion: Speed Pack as part of Speed Weekend.

To quote: While MotorStorm: Pacific Rift's online fun is still the number one all-consuming passion for many of our players, we recognize that plenty of you out there have been waiting for a whole new Single Player festival to get your teeth into.

We set the Agenda last year with our popular Revenge Weekend and Devils Weekend expansions for MotorStorm: Monument Valley, and now we're continuing that tradition with our new Speed Weekend festival that features as part of our new Expansion: Speed pack!

Make no mistake, this mode is HUGE... it's packed with unlocks, rewards and trophies, and has been designed to keep challenging you for as long as you want it to. How? Buckle up and I'll divulge some (but certainly not all) of its secrets!

We were very pleased that the speed race events in Pacific Rift were so fantastically popular - they provided a great change of focus and pace from the Eliminator and Race events, and had the scope for repeated play, and for beating your own best score.

While we'll be the first to admit the formula wasn't yet perfected, we all felt we had taken the first steps here towards something that would be absolutely stellar as a dedicated single player game mode. We decreed early on though that if we were going to revisit it, we had a few ideas to improve it, and we wanted to make sure it more fully realised it's potential.

So the basic idea has survived pretty much intact; Start off with a bank of time (10 seconds) that's counting down from the race start, make your way from one gate to the next as quickly as possible, each gate adding further precious seconds to your 'banked' time. Try to record as high a final 'banked' time as possible when you fly through the finish gate. So far, so good.

Well, in Speed Weekend, that's become our qualifying race structure right there; You need to have at least 15 seconds remaining on your clock to qualify for one of the 'easy' races, 20 seconds for 'medium', and 25 seconds for the 'hard' race types.

Beat that threshold, and that race is marked as complete on your race card. When you qualify on all 6 events for a vehicle class (2 easy, 2 medium, 2 hard) you'll unlock a reward for that vehicle class.

Work hard, get the unlocks for all 8 vehicle classes, and you'll get a cool final pack of rewards. If you never play any further than this into the mode, you've just worked through 48 events! That's probably 5-6 hours for the average MSPR player. But wait! For those willing to go the extra distance, that's just the start...

Once you've qualified for an event, you unlock the Main Event version of that race. Now, as well as gates which add time, each race also features barrels strategically placed throughout the track. Any green barrels you hit are going to add extra time, 1 second per barrel. Any red barrels you hit are going to get deducted, 1 second per barrel, once you cross the finish line.

This massively opens up the scoring opportunities, and the strategic decisions, facing the player. Do you straightline through those red barrels to save time now and take the penalty later? Do you veer off your racing line in pursuit of extra green barrels? Do you maybe ignore the barrels and concentrate instead on the quickest line between gates?

On bikes and ATVs, there are green bonus time barriers to duck under and buried red barrels that need to be avoided or bunny-hopped over (and duck and hop controls are assigned to L1 and R1 for this mode to make life easier for everyone)! Chances are your moment-to-moment strategy is going to need to accommodate all of those options and more, because your focus now isn't beating our pre-defined thresholds, it's beating your friends.

Before each main event the game presents the player with a friends-focused leaderboard. These are the up-to-the-minute times set by people on your friends list; your target time to beat is always going to be the buddy who's directly above you on the leaderboard. Maybe he got more green barrels than you managed, maybe he went penalty-free and avoided all the red barrels.

Either way, you go in, you race, race, race, and when you beat his time, the system automatically sends an update to his machine and next time he turns on the game, he's going to see that YOU'VE now beaten HIS time! The dreaded red helmet icon on your progress chart tells you that your time has been beaten by one of your mates - which means you've slid down your friends leaderboard, and he's just climbed closer to the top!

This is such a compulsive feature, and makes the mode massively addictive - the months of playtesting here in the office have seen friendships turn into bitter, swear-laden rivalries as day after day, week after week, someone pushes the top score that little bit higher - and everyone else gets notified of it, and gets to work trying to beat it. The office swear-box has never had so much cash in it!

For us, this has always been the main focus of Speed Weekend. This is what's going to keep you playing time and time again, day after day, improving your scores, and beating the best efforts of your buddies. We've worked hard to tune the experience so that this inter-friend rivalry as heated and compelling as possible.

It soon becomes all about the strategies you pursue in each race; once you realise that you can slam into one barrel and propel it into others to get a 'domino' effect going, the scoring possibilities are opened wide.

Of course, this also means one green barrel can hit a whole mess of red ones and scupper your best laid plans - so at the highest levels of competition there are multiple factors to take into account and the angle you hit every barrel can make all the difference to whether you'll be the Top Dog or just a Middling Mongrel amongst you and your buddies.

So, be sure to grab a copy of Expansion: SPEED (coming soon), a couple of like-minded buddies, and warn your family and friends that you may soon be turning the air blue with foul language! Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines; the Speed Weekend is about to begin...




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