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Pacific Drive - What We Know So Far

Sony's September 2022 State of Play included a handful of major announcements from big developers, but there were also a few new IPs from lesser-known studios. One of them was "Pacific Drive," a survival game with a vehicular twist.

Developed by Ironwood Studios, "Pacific Drive" is set in a sci-fi-infused Pacific Northwest. Ironwood's communications and marketing specialist, Blake Dove, detailed more of the title's backstory in a PlayStation blog post. In the 1950s, the US government took control of part of the region to use it as a testing area for "new technologies." This left the area irradiated and teeming with "supernatural horrors," forcing the government to close it to the public and rename it the Olympic Exclusion Zone, similar to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the upcoming "Stalker 2."

The player will assume the role of an unnamed protagonist who lets their curiosity get the better of them. While venturing the perimeter of the Exclusion Zone, the protagonist somehow gets stuck inside. The main objective of "Pacific Drive" is to escape the Zone and discover its many secrets.

Is there a release date for Pacific Drive?

"Pacific Drive" is slated to come out sometime in 2023 for PS5 and PC, according to the game's website. It's the first project to come from Ironwood Studios, which was just founded in 2019. The Seattle-based studio was founded by Alex Dracott, a developer who previously worked on the "Infamous" series with Sucker Punch Productions. The team includes staff that worked on titles like "Halo Reach," "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," and "Bioshock Infinite," according to the Ironwood Studios website.

While we don't have a specific release date yet, there's plenty to get excited about. So far, Ironwood Studios hasn't revealed anything else about the game's release. In fact, what Dracott said on Twitter seemed to imply the existence of the studio wasn't even announced before the State of Play stream. Based on a tweet from the studio, however, we do know that the game has been in development since its founding. It's not yet known if there will be multiple editions of "Pacific Drive" or how it will be priced. More information will be provided on the game's website in the future.

Is there a trailer for Pacific Drive?

The reveal trailer shared during the September 2022 State of Play stream gave the world its first look at "Pacific Drive." It begins with the headlights of a car slowly driving down a dark road. Somewhere in the distance, an automated message from a speaker says, "You are within the bounds of the Olympic Exclusion Zone. If you can hear this message, you are trespassing on government property. Evacuate immediately." Shots of the wilderness and abandoned vehicles paint an image of a region in ruin. 

The main car, which is revealed to be a station wagon, stops at a small service station. Glimpses of the interior show that the driver has been using it as a workshop to maintain the automobile. Suddenly, a message takes over the car radio, stating that an "instability front is approaching." From a first-person perspective, the driver rushes back to the vehicle and speeds off. The trailer then transitions to a montage showing the various environmental hazards and creatures the player will come up against in several different biomes. On the road, pools of an acid-like substance appear. In another shot, a creature burrows just beneath the ground. Ironwood confirmed on Twitter that everything shown was live gameplay.

What will the gameplay be like in Pacific Drive?

In the PlayStation blog post, Blake Dove described "Pacific Drive" as a "road-lite," a play on the term "roguelite." The auto shop, he said, is the player's home base where they will regularly return to make repairs and add upgrades to the station wagon. Those upgrades will then be used to venture deeper into the Zone to solve its mysteries and find a way out. According to Dove, continual exploration will allow the player to gather more valuable resources to fortify the car's defenses and improve the garage — thought it's not yet known how the garage will be improved.

Making the game a "road-lite" is the fact that the layout of the Zone changes. Dove said these alterations come from a "passing storm," which may be the "instability front" mentioned in the trailer. This, he added, should make exploring feel fresh each time the player leaves the auto shop. The game's website also says that as the vehicle is upgraded, it will form a distinct personality. Ironwood Studios has made it clear that lands of "Pacific Drive" are mysterious, and that will even include the car the player drives.