Growing up, I was the kind of kid who named the family car. The first set of wheels I remember my parents driving was a 1996 Renault Megane, that I affectionately called Flapjack. I don’t know why I named it after a baked treat, but I do recall how safe I felt inside. On long drives it felt like a cozy shelter that would take me to new and exciting places, and while it was just a car, the early memories it gave me made it feel like an extension of the family. I haven’t thought about that old blue Renault for a long time, but it’s suddenly on my mind as the development team at Ironwood Studios guides us through Pacific Drive.
As a run-based survival driving game, Pacific Drive puts you behind the wheel of a station wagon that becomes your only companion in the surreal, mysterious and, crucially, dangerous Olympic Exclusion Zone. Survival is hinged on protecting your car, leveraging the symbiotic relationship between you and your vehicle.
“The original idea definitely came from a place of my personal history,” says creative director Alex Dracott. “I grew up in Oregon in Portland, and I drove around a lot in old station wagons. It was something I did back then and I actually decided I wanted to start doing again while I was out exploring; I’ve got a personal hobby of going out to old abandoned places around the area. I ended up buying an old Buick LeSabre station wagon that looks very similar to this one [in Pacific Drive]. While I was out driving around in this old station wagon, I just started thinking more and more about the feeling of the space and how it is strange and it is unique, and thinking about game ideas where that could be combined with interesting systems.”