Ironwood Studios breaks down the anatomy of a well-tuned vehicle and carefully planned road trip.
Hello again, everyone. Blake from Ironwood Studios here. Today, we’re discussing what goes into a road trip in the Olympic Exclusion Zone and the fantastic news that Pacific Drive is coming to PlayStation 5 on February 22, 2024.
Our gameplay loop has multiple stages – repairing and upgrading the car, planning your routes, and making it back in one piece after raiding the Zone. As you get deeper into the forests, swamps, and other areas of the Olympic Peninsula, you’ll build the knowledge and skills you need to survive. Let’s talk about what goes into planning your road trips.
Repair, tune-up, and upgrade your vehicle
Hopefully, you’ve made it back to the garage in one piece after your last harrowing adventure, and you can start fixing the car before your next outing. Take a minute to assess the damage – getting a good look at your car’s individual parts will often tell you what needs the most work. It’s possible you have a flat tire that needs to be repaired with a sealing kit, or you can make an entirely new wheel. If a panel is dangerously close to broken or flat-out missing, you can craft new ones from the scrap metal and other materials you gathered on your last trip. If you’re lucky, some of these might even be upgrades. It’s not just body panels either; your headlights, engine, and wheels can all take damage from the Zone (or your driving), and it’s also a good idea to look them over.
It’s time for the fun stuff once your car is back in one piece. Spray on a slick new coat of paint, or apply some racing stripes using consumable decals. You can even swap out the bobblehead that adorns your dashboard. There are a few different ones to choose from, so keep an eye out the next time you’re looting containers in the Zone. You should also take care of the essentials like gas and charging your batteries once you’ve made your upgrades. There’s a gas pump in the garage to fill up with – if you’ve got the optional and beneficial side-mounted gas tanks, those can get topped off, too. Flip the switch on the desk to recharge your car instantly, and you’re good to go.
Plan your next road trip
Well – you’re not leaving just yet. You need to make a stop at the route planner, a giant map on the wall that tracks your progress through the Zone, and it gives you essential information about what you might need on your next run. Hover over locations to reveal information about where you’re headed before selecting your final destination. It’s not all about where you end up, though – you’ll be making stops on your trip along these abandoned highways, so knowing a little bit about the journey ahead of you is a good idea, too. Check for atmospheric shifts, radiation density, potential Anomaly encounters, availability of resources, and more. At the same time, you look at stops on the road – you’re still able to modify the car while in the garage, too, so take this opportunity to adapt the vehicle to your route if needed.
Keys in the ignition? Is the parking brake off? Great. Hit the gas, and let’s finally get out and into the surreal world of the Olympic Exclusion Zone.
Generally, you’ll pass through a few different biomes on the way to your final destination. Forest biomes have a lot of foliage multiple types of road surfaces, and changing weather can make driving through trickier sections a little difficult. Swamp biomes feature a little more open space, but there are watery sections that will slow the car down and majorly impede your progress. You’ll pass through towns and research stations on your way forward that contain valuable items if you know where to look. There’s a variety of lootable containers, some harder to get into than others – but that’s why you brought your trusty crowbar, right?
You’ll also be collecting Anchors – artifacts originally meant to contain the expansion of the Zone. These glowing orbs provide you with a special energy that you can use to upgrade the car and escape from the Zone – more on that later. Eventually, you and the car will come upon a wall hundreds of feet high and clearly there to keep the more dangerous parts of the Zone isolated. However, that’s not a problem for someone equipped with the best 80’s wood-paneling and sci-fi gadgetry. You’ll find your way through the wall and into deeper parts of the Zone, but stay vigilant because things can only grow wilder from here.
Hit the road and dodge hazards
Once you’ve gathered your resources and have enough Anchors – it’s time to leave. Assess your surroundings and look at your in-car map before you select one of many available exits – but be smart. Some exits will be easier to get to than others. As you choose, a Zone Storm will start to close in on you; from then on, it’s a race to safety. Crash through the foliage, fishtail through the mud, and try to keep the wheel pointed straight towards the giant pillar of light ascending into the sky because that’s where you’re headed. Anomalies and other hazards don’t give up just because you’ve found an exit, so make sure to dodge the Abductors, Bunnies, and Can Openers – it’s going to hurt if you get caught in the storm’s radiation. As you take that final drive of faith through the illuminated pillar, everything will go white as you leave the Zone behind.
As the light fades, you’ll find yourself warped back to the safety of your garage. Ready to gas up and pick the next location to investigate in this strange and wonderful world. After a healthy amount of repairs and upgrades, of course. Maybe even some painted-on flames.
Pacific Drive will be available for PlayStation 5 on February 22, 2024.