Mad Max and the Post-Apocalyptic Road Trip

What do the post-apocalyptic world and today’s technology have in common? Answer=Nothing at all. So how well you’d survive in Mad Max isn’t just dependent on your video gaming skills, but whether you’ve got the wits, strength and savagery to keep Max going. And mad. Avalanche Studios’s lead level designer, Andreas Gshwari, knows that it takes more than just shotguns, fast cars and brutality to sustain yourself in such a hostile environment. So we’ll ask him.

Home, sweet Wasteland

Home, sweet Wasteland Credit: Avalanche Studios

Man Cave Daily
What is Mad Max all about?

Andreas Gshwari
Mad Max is an open world game set in the massive Wasteland. It’s a game that finally brings the amazing Mad Max franchise to gamers in true Avalanche Studios fashion – physics-based car combat, visceral hand to hand combat and open world exploration. The player takes on the role of Max, a solitary survivor who is looking for personal peace in an unforgiving world.

Man Cave Daily
What if you haven’t seen the movies?

Andreas Gshwari
It’s not necessary to watch the movies to understand what’s going on (though you should watch them anyway because they are brilliant!). In the beginning of our game, we establish what our Wasteland is all about: the danger, the looming threat and what it means to survive. Our story is completely independent from the movies.

Man Cave Daily
And the difference between this game and other “sandbox” or open world-type titles?

Andreas Gshwari
Avalanche Studios specializes in crafting open world games that are just fun to explore. Mad Max follows that philosophy. The game world of The Wasteland is a beautiful, if harsh and dangerous, place to experience. The player will be able to stay alive with a highly customizable and upgradable car, which is fully physics-based. Every single upgrade will affect how the car handles on the different surfaces and how it behaves in combat. We want each player to create a unique survival machine that fits their personal style.

Man Cave Daily
Cars are pretty important, right?

Andreas Gshwari
Vehicles are absolutely an integral part of our game. Being stranded in The Wasteland without a car spells almost certain death. A vehicle is literally a lifeline in the world of Mad Max, so this is something we have paid a lot of attention to. The player will have a signature vehicle, the Magnum Opus, which can be customized and upgraded. But there are several dozens of different cars in the world which can be commandeered and driven around. Exploring and car combat are core elements of our game.

Man Cave Daily
What about your opponents and weapons?

Andreas Gshwari
We have a good variety of enemy types, using hand to hand combat as well as myriad melee weapons; some of them are quite clever contraptions! We have shown our Longshot, a sniper enemy which can make approaching enemy locations, and generally driving through The Wasteland, a dangerous thing. There are non-combatants in the game as well. Most of them stay in strongholds, a few of which are dotted through our world, in order to seek shelter and protection. Max will interact with them and in some cases form some kind of alliance with them in order to get what he needs. Max absolutely has to scavenge for food and ammo, and fuel plays an important role as well. Most of the time, this means Max has to take what he needs.

No car mechanic's gonna be able to fix this

Unbelievably, Mel Gibson’s next traffic stop arrest was even more disastrous. Credit: Avalanche Studios

Man Cave Daily
And as an example of that?

Andreas Gshwari
One of the most exciting things we have shown so far is Max chasing down the Top Dog, a leader figure of a Wasteland tribe. Max is using his signature in-game vehicle, the Magnum Opus. He has to use his car and the tools attached to battle through a tough convoy of enemy vehicles. Physics-based car combat means that no battle plays out the same way twice, so the player can use their car mounted harpoon to rip parts of enemy vehicles, use their shotgun to take out drivers or use a ramming grill and the boost of the car to plow through the convoy. The exciting thing is that it’s entirely up to the player to decide on how to go about it. Even for me as a developer, it’s always fantastic to watch others play this mission, just to see what creative carnage people come up with!

Max demonstrates a shotgun used at extreme close range

Even broken shotguns make great melee weapons. Credit: Avalanche Studios

Man Cave Daily
So the game’s mission based?

Andreas Gshwari
Avalanche Studios games have provided fun, and maybe even a bit chaotic, sandbox experiences. In Mad Max, we are trying to achieve the same thing, but we are also focusing on a more serious and deeper narrative experience for the player. In the beginning of our game, Max has been left for dead in The Wasteland and his iconic Interceptor has been taken from him. The player takes on the role of Max and it’s up to the player to rebuild Max’s life and build him a brand new car. Our story and our missions revolve around this. There are also a lot of side missions which the player can engage in. But it is still a fully open world and the player can choose to engage in the story missions at will. They can also choose to just get lost in the harsh, unforgiving beauty of The Wasteland we have created.

Scheduled for release on PlayStation 3/4, Xbox 360/One and PC.

We bet the theme song's playing in your head right now.

We bet the theme song’s playing in your head right now.

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture. Visit his website.

Mark Setrakian in exo-suit with training robot used in the time challenge featured in the premiere episode.

Mark Setrakian in exo-suit with training robot used in the time challenge featured in the premiere episode.

Marshal found the sound of the future in Christopher Tyng’s 31st Century Beat and learned how to build his own battle bot when he interviewed Sy-Fy’s Mark Setrakian in Slaughterbots: Roll Out!

More from Marshal Rosenthal

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