ModNation Racers PS3: Bringing The BOOM with Weapons!

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Hi PS.Blog dwellers,

Because Mat has already gone in to how racing skill and split-screen are key in ModNation Racers, I’m here to chat about a key part of the title — weapons. Specifically, it’s what we like to call the “Boom Box” weapon system.

Take a peek at our new trailer for a taste and read more below on how ModNation Racers will bring the BOOM on May 25.

Designing the Boom Box

When making ModNation Racers, we realized the need to advance the kart racing genre to the next level with a more physical driving model, but we also wanted to change how players use weapons. Nothing feels better than taking an opponent down, but that feeling of euphoria is soon forgotten when you are on the receiving end of an attack. Weapons can change the course of a race — it’s one of the defining characteristics in this genre, but we wanted to reduce the frustration of unskilled randomness. We wanted to give players more options.

Strategy – Using the Ladder

In ModNation Racers you can choose to upgrade your weapons to make them more powerful, but that doesn’t always come easy. When you get hammered with a lightning bolt from the sky, at the very least, you know your opponent had to work for it. In addition to having the choice between upgrading and firing, we also wanted players to plan out their attacks and try to utilize weapons in different ways. With that in mind, we designed each to have three distinct levels – so when you upgrade, you change the properties of the weapon, which then gives you a different style of attack.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 16 ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 13

Level 2 Bolt attack will hit multiple karts / If the driver a head of you is bringing the HEAT, these puppies will SEEK it.

Using the Bolt ladder as an example, players can decide to fire off a level-1 Bolt attack for a quick, but risky electrical takedown. They can save up to a level-2 Chain Bolt for a homing attack capable of electrocuting multiple opponents, or they can wait until they have a level-3 Bolt Storm (the most powerful) and try to shock entire pack. Finally, any level of weapon can be dropped behind the kart as a mine. The higher the level of weapon dropped, the more potent the mine.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 23A

Drop it like it’s Hot

This is a great way to leave traps for your opponents, and incidentally, gives the player in the lead the ability to still be able to use the weapons they have collected. Now you’re probably asking, “Why would I not just save up and always fire a powerful level-3?” Well, a number of reasons actually, but first and foremost is that your weapons can be knocked out by an opponent’s attack, so holding a weapon for too long might cause you to eventually lose it.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 31A

This is going to hurt.

Also, level-3 weapons take time to work their way through the pack, so your opponents might finish the race before they are hit, or they may have built up enough boost to shield your attack.


One of our core mantras when balancing the weapons was to ensure that there aren’t any “silver bullets.” No matter how powerful a weapon is, there is still a chance to evade it. We also wanted to ensure a tight race, so the power of each stun is scaled based on your position in the race and distance from the player attacking. What that does is allow anyone in the pack to always have a chance. This isn’t so much a “punish the leader” situation, but a way to prevent stalemates. If players in positions 7th to 1st are hit by the player in 8th and stunned for an equal length of time, nothing will change. By having the weapons stun time (slightly) increase as it passes through the race pack, it helps to create a more dynamic race. This then opens up more opportunities for everyone to have a chance at changing their position.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 172 ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 22A

Sonic Bombs will give the kart in front of you an earful / The Sonic Rift blasts all the racers between you and first place

Let’s be clear though, there isn’t going to be a significant difference between the weapons power on the last racer as compared to the leader, but enough to make the leader worry that there are always racers on their tail. We have raced thousands millions of times in the office, and a skilled driver utilizing all of the tools at their disposal can maintain a lead, and that was an important factor for us. Skilled drivers should be rewarded for skilled play, which in turn causes other players to have to think and play differently.

We have a particular useful strategy we sometimes employ here at the office to take down a skilled driver. Two players will “team up” to swap positions and then each fire at the player in front in quick succession, the first to hopefully drain their shield, and the second to take them out. Very effective, although normally those alliances last about as long as the distance it takes to get to the next set of item pods, at which point all bets are off.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 18A

That’s weapons in a nutshell. I’m sure everyone is going to find all sorts of fun ways to take out opponents online when the game is released, so until then I will leave you all to your plotting.

Comments are closed.


10 Author Replies

  • SO AWESOME, Day 1 for sure I can’t wait for this!!!

  • Great :) I changed my mind, definately buying this game day 1! Keep up the great work guys ;)

  • I hope those aren’t the only weapons/defenses in the game.

    • The video showcases some of the more potent weapons in the game, but they are not the only ones. The Hydra for example is the third upgrade of the Missile ladder, but we also have the Bolt, Sonic and Supercharger. All of which have 3 unique levels, which brings us to 12 in total. You also have the ability to drop any weapon as a mine, which can also be upgraded. So fear not, you will have plenty of firepower at your disposal.

      Then if you happen to be on the receiving end of any of these weapons, you can use your shield to block them. Obviously the more powerful weapons will require more shield, so always be sure to keep some boost in the tank when you’re out in front.

  • There better be more weapons

  • Boom Boom!

  • where is the best place to pre-order in the UK?

  • Will the cars have performance upgrades? Like nothing extreme, but can you unlock some special upgrades as you progress through the Campaign? Or at least tweak the performance to make your car a little faster. Besides Boost, of course :) It’s not a deciding factor for buying this game, but I was just curious.

    • All Kart performance can be tweaked (Handling, Acceleration, etc) right out the gate. You don’t need any special items.

    • Chuck is correct, you can change your karts performance settings, which is what we call Driver Style. This isn’t actually attached to any specific kart, but is a universal setting that applies to any kart you select. That way you can drive any creation you have made, any way you want. Driver Style will allow you to change the karts top speed, acceleration, handling and drift settings. We wanted players to be able to tune their karts to their liking, but still keep the game balanced, so these values are actually tethered. Increasing top speed for example will lower acceleration, handling and drifting are tethered in the same way. Your driver style can be changed at anytime in the Mod Spot, and in any game room. This way you can alter your settings for each specific race as you see fit.

    • We worked very hard to ensure that no one setting is superior overall, but tuning your kart right might give you an edge in certain situations. When going for the best Hot Lap time you will probably want to increase your max speed, but when in a frantic 12 player action race, acceleration might help you stay close to the pack after getting hit with a weapon. I’m a big drifter so I always crank my drift settings, but on the flip side some of the guys in the office swear by handling, so in the end it’s all about finding what Driver Style you prefer.

  • What game modes will be available in MNR? I was hoping for a battle mode, or maybe some way we can design our own battle arenas? You’d only have to keep track of the scores ;)

    Anyway major props for putting in the 4-player split-screen, really appreciate it :)

  • within one week, this game moved up to my most anticipated. its perfect. character/car customization – weapons – track creation/sharing – OFFLINE 4 player splitcreen (thank you!) – single or 2player splitscreen onlie….

    what is there not to love, unless kart racing just isn’t your thing.

    i look forward to what way ModNation will come to HOME. I just know there has to be a space in the works. there are hardly any games i love that have HOME content *sad face* lol.

    but i know i’m going to love this. :-D

    first day MUST buy.

  • Awersome…. I hope the game have multiplayer
    Look like Mario Kart

  • I’m going to be expecting some Mario Kart, F-Zero, and Top Gear (SNES) tributes!

  • Hey Nick! “Finally, any level of weapon can be dropped behind the kart as a mine. The higher the level of weapon dropped, the more potent the mine.” was used twice in a row just so you know :)

  • Yeah Thrasher20… I agree with you !!!

  • Awesome!!! When can I go to Best Buy and Pre-Order the game so I can get my Nathan Mod?

  • I like balance and reducing frustration when I play with other skilled opponents; but I would like to have the option of an ARCADE mode where weapons tend to favor beginners.

    The idea of having a 4-player split screen means that we will be using this game for game parties. Now most of the players in a game party will be beginners, and they can get frustrated if they play against skilled players, unless random weapons get them back into the game.

    Please make an ARCADE vs. mode for beginners!!

    • I can understand your concern, but the game is very accessible and even beginner players will be able to hold their own, and enjoy themselves when racing more skilled friends. Anyone finding themselves behind will have a number of options at their disposal to get back into the race. First and foremost they will have a higher chance of getting weapons from the supercharge ladder which will allow them to portal back into the pack. Then keep in mind that players in the back will have fewer distractions from other karts, and will be able to upgrade to more powerful weapons much easier. So no racer will ever be down and out.

      We have made an effort to add more skill based play into our game, that was important to us, but we also realized that not every racer will be a hardcore user. This is kart racing after all, and we wanted to ensure all players of every skill level could have fun playing the game.

  • Price check on isle BOOM

  • Looks awesome might buy if reviews are good.

  • how bout moving up the release date lol

  • Damn… are they going to tease us like this until the release of Modnation Racers?
    This game is by far my most anticipated game of 2010.

  • I agree with 17…. I’d also like to see some means of handicaping experiencing players like you would see in a fighting game. Maybe preventing certain weapons from getting into a more experienced players hands and more frequently in the hands of an inexperienced opponent.

  • I like the Kratos avatar.

  • Thanks for the reply!

    What you guys had said before, with the weapons, split-screen, etc., had made me really want this game, but performance tweaking will make it that much better. I will have to buy this game, and I will tell all my friends with PS3’s (and those without) about this game.

  • this was fun in Beta, got my psp themes codes and enjoiyed it at the Blog Meet NYC on the PSP Version, really fun game.. will it have a game share feature or will each person need a copy for the psp’s?
    and if u guys need some intrumental hip hop ish tracks holla..!! :) Game shareable?

  • Hey chuck, will there be more weapons or are those the final decision? I hope you add abit more ;)

    Thanks in advance.

  • can dropped weapons be used to block incoming attacks?

  • Will the shield protect you even from the 3rd upgrade attacks?

    • Yes, the shield will protect you from any attack. Although, depending on the level of weapon you are blocking, you will have to keep your shield up longer, which uses more boost. If you are on the receiving end of a Hydra weapon for example, you will need keep your shield up for quite a long time. This is part of the strategy of the weapons, players in the lead can shield any attack, but only for so long. Which means a few well timed attacks will take down even the best racer.

  • Little Big Planet is easily my favorite PS3 game, and this looks like to be just as fun! Very excited for this game

  • this game is going to be F****NG AWESOME!

  • sweetness on wheels!!! definately gonna get it!!!

    and shields are a nice touch

    looking alot better then MK

    darn random attacks made harder for me and few good item while I was in the lead. THANK YOU Mod Nation Racers!!!!!

  • This game has become a musthave for me!

  • Hey guys, do you get boosts from performing long drifts? Feels like that would be a nice reward for long drifts. Don’t remember seeing it in Beta, so I thought I’d ask.

    • You will not gain a direct boost from drifting, but when you drift, it will fill up your boost meter, which you can then use at anytime. The longer you hold a drift, the more boost you will get. Be careful when drifting too long though, crashing while drifting will cancel any boost you would have received.

      It’s important to note that drifting isn’t the only way to gain boost. Successful attacks, spins, airtime, and sideswiping will also fill your meter.

  • This game is gonna be mad fun, I can feel it. And if the online works properly, it’s gonna be a real gem. Can’t wait.

  • Great job guys and gals, I can’t wait till may. This game has been at the top of my list since the announcement last year. The beta solidified it.
    Day 1 from seattle!

  • Any word on voice chat, either global or party (preferred)?

    • We will support VOIP, and you will be able to chat globally and privately while in game rooms, races and even in the Mod Spot.

  • what are your expectations for the online community do you think it will be anything like in littlebigplanet

    can’t wait MAY 25 i’m so nathan drake

  • Will you be able to use your preordered mod and tke his mod parts to make your own mod?

  • Will there be a demo? I want to try this out.

  • kratos all the way here XD

  • looks great

  • I got into the private beta for this game and going into it knowing little to nothing at all about it, the game BLEW.MY.MIND! Seriously, everyone HAS to get ModNation Racers when it comes out. I’m pre-ordering this weekend and then counting down the days til May 25th, which is luckily only a few days after my birthday. :O

  • Would like the shield as an actual weapon too (just like the boost which you can also get from the weapon boxes) I notice that a lot of people in the beta didnt use the shield since they were scare of wasting boost.

    While I like that the shield is more of a strategic thing (you have to take in consideration to use the boost for shield or for speed) a lot of the younger audience will not grab that mechanic so easily.

  • so… any news on a Kevin Butler character? as we’re using his BOOM ™ ?

  • can’t wait for this game, the Hydra & Sonic Boom look really cool

  • I was already going to buy both games day one but they can’t get here soon enough. This game is going to be a surprise hit sales wise imo. Looking forward to it

  • This game looks like a ton of fun!

  • I’m going to preorder it as soon as I get the money. I want the Nathan drake costume but gamestop is closer too me.

  • this is the next game on my list to get. gonna pre-order it this the coming tuesday.

    also any word on a potential demo. im gonna buy it for sure but i didnt get a chance to play in the beta.

    keep up the god work guys.

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