Interview: The Fast and the Furious

September 21, 2006

In terms of racing, drifting is a term that refers to a particular driving technique wherein the car moves into and out of curves at an extreme angle, oftentimes resulting in the rear end of the car appearing as if it is chasing the front around the turn. The goal of this technique is to make the best use of the car’s speed and inertia by maneuvering around corners in such a way as to lose as little speed as possible. The concept of drifting or oversteering has been around in one form or another for decades, though it is only in recent years that the technique itself has become the central focus of an entire sport. Because of this, many video games have been built around this technique, though admittedly it wasn’t until Universal Pictures’ ‘The Fast and the Furious’ romanticized the underground racing scene that the concept of street racing and drifting truly began to take root within the mainstream video game market, most notably with Electronic Arts’ Need For Speed: Underground.

However, while that game sold well, and was generally lauded by critics, the game was panned by many players as an unwelcome departure for that franchise. Even so, its success helped open the doors for a bevy of other ‘me too’ underground and drift racing games, though few, if any have enjoyed much more than a modicum of success, if that. Namco Bandai and developer Eutechnyx hope to change that with the upcoming PlayStation 2 racer, The Fast and the Furious. Inspired by the events in the third film, ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’, the game looks to become the first mainstream drift racing hit for the console, but there is an old saying about the best laid plans.

To find out more about this upcoming title, which ships in North America on September 26, we recently spoke with the game’s associate producer, Mitch Boyer, who, along with Dan Tovar, are currently helping to bring this game to life.

Hello Mitch, and thanks for taking the time to speak with us regarding The Fast and the Furious. Could you give us some of you background on this project, as well as what other projects you have worked on prior to coming on board with this game?

Absolutely. As a production team, we are enthusiasts ourselves who track our personal cars with NASA. We have a great number of friends in the actual pro-drifting and tuning communities and have gone drifting with some of the best drifters in the world over the past few years. This has allowed us unparalleled access to the culture that the film is based upon and that comes across in the game. When we’ve shown the game to people in the actual scene, they’ve been pretty stunned at what we’ve been able to accomplish.

The Fast and the Furious is based upon the third movie in the ongoing film franchise, yet is separate from the events in the movie. So why call it ‘The Fast and the Furious’ at all?

The game is unique in that it meshes the best elements of the films with the actual scene that the films are based upon. You will have the chance to directly compare and compete with both the cars from the film as well as the most amazing real-world tuner cars in the world! You won’t get this experience anywhere else but in The Fast and the Furious.

The third film largely takes place in and around the Tokyo Bay area and we’ve extended this even farther in the game. You’ll be able to roam and race on the famous A