Verge Meets: Steve Iles of Pacer

While attending MCM London Comic Con, I was lucky enough to be able to try out some of the exciting experiences the event had to offer. If you want to hear more about Verge at MCM check that out here ( During one of my days, I got to try the super exciting and futuristic combat racer called Pacer.

Now Pacer is both a throwback to the anti-gravity racers that we once loved and yet at the same time manages to bring a whole new experience to the genre.

I got a full briefing before my initial play of this game. I was already super excited and I can confirm it does not disappoint. It felt so fun and energetic and the controls were simple but I was not mastering them straight away. This did not throw me off but in fact, made me want to play more. It is a game we’ve not realised we’ve missed and needed until now.

After playing, I spoke to the Studio Manager and Senior Producer Steve Iles to learn everything I could about Pacer.

Verge: So the first thing to discuss, what led to the idea of Pacer being created?

Steve Iles: I wasn’t there during the inception process, I only started in September. What I believe was the original idea behind the game was the guys had a passion for anti-gravity racers. They loved Wipeout, F-Zero etc. I mean that is what gravitated (Pun not intended but worked) towards the project. I loved the style of these games, I was not great at it but I loved it.

When I was introduced to Pacer I thought there is something really quite cool about this. There also are not many games coming out like this in the industry. If we project a certain amount of months of ahead we can see there is not really anything in this genre coming out.

V: You can clearly see the inspirations, so my question would be, how have any previous works inspired you? How have you seen something and decided we could do this differently?

SI: I think when you are looking at doing any game in a genre that is well represented, to whatever degree commercially you can’t stand still. You need to consider how our game can be represented differently and stand on its own two feet. 

In regards to Pacer, it was customisation that was the clear path. You look at any games with customisation, even Fortnite where you can buy new clothing and make your character your own. Was it done in Pacer for DLC? Not it was not, that was not the initial consideration, it was more about how can you upgrade the craft. Focusing on its turning speed, acceleration and how much anti-gravity it has got. That then extended into the weapons, it was really all about making the ship your own. Handling was first and weapons were second.

With other games of this type, you were not really given that choice. You unlocked the ship which had stats and that was it. Your weapons were unlocked on tracks, which were randomly generated and that was what you got. 

In Pacer, you unlock weapons that go into your arsenal and then when you go into a race you identify what key weapons you want to attach to your ship. You attach the main weapon and then can add modifiers which changes the weapons dynamic and functionality.

That is really what differentiates us first and foremost over any other product in its class. Then you also have the depth from straight out of the box.

14 tracks, day and night, reverse, mirrored and you can do races such as a night mirrored reverse so suddenly these 14 tracks become a whole lot more. We could do the maths but it is roughly 8 variations per track.

V: It will take you a while then to play every track.

SI: Not only that but it will take you a while to perfect every track. Every time you do an iteration it is a different corner and you need to learn how to handle these different variations. There is a lot of variety to master here.

V: So linking with the discussion on customisation, I want to talk more about the multiplayer side of Pacer. As these days, games have such a huge push on multiplayer elements and Pacer itself has some unique things to offer. The ‘storm mode’ is one that I am very excited about, I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

SI: So yeah, ‘storm mode’ is our battle royale mode of sorts. What some journalists have got confused about, is it not the world that shrinks but the shield in which you are racing in. There is this huge electromagnetic storm around the track and you want to be inside the safety shield which is shrinking otherwise you take damage. It will only be available on certain tracks because of the functionality.

I mean no one else has done this before, are we doing this as a sort of cash in? Of course not, it is a very unique mode. We looked at something like Fortnite and wanted to see if we could add something like this to increase the depth of our multiplayer mode.

You’ve got a whole plethora of single and multiplayer options. 

V: I definitely think that is what has been lacking. A racing multiplayer game of this genre. I think that is the best thing to look forward too. I believe people are going to get involved in the multiplayer element and even streamers might dive into everything Pacer has to offer. 

We are hopeful and nudging this game outside of the niche genre it seems to be. If we can expand the player base then that allows more anti-gravity racers to come in. We can support this with new tracks and ships but also look at the next iteration of the game.

V: Obviously, this weekend you have and will be showcasing it more to the public. We already talked about it but how do you feel the responses are so far? They seem to be positive and I imagine it is nice to see people enjoying the game. I know that people have been coming back to try it out more and more.

SI: I mean yeah people want to try out more of the tracks and crafts we have on offer. We have been very lucky and really excited to see repeat players come back in every show we have been at.

We have had the same response from these shows both in America and London which we could not have asked for a better response.  They have also highlighted issues that we knew and pointed out things we might have missed which is very useful. Fresh eyes really help us out when we are working on this every day at the moment.

Thank you to the wonderful people who allowed me to experience such a fresh and fun game. It was great to play and to talk all about. I can’t wait to see this released and attempt to master all it has to offer.

Keep your eye out for Pacer releasing on PS4, Xbox One and PC soon. More details and a trailer down below!

At launch, Pacer will bring 14 different tracks and five customisable craft to the table, building upon R8 Games’ goal of both recapturing and expanding upon the spirit of the anti-gravity racers that made their mark in the 1990s. Likewise, play will also feature a stellar soundtrack that will immerse the player in both original and licensed tracks from CoLD SToRAGE, Dub FX and many more.

Pacer features: 

  • Unique Storm Mode for single player and multiplayer: Life or death in a contracting field of play – the first ever Battle Royale arcade racer
  • Spectator Mode: Follow any pilot with Chase, Nose, Orbit or Environment cameras while displaying all race stats
  • Highly customizable: Craft, weapons and cosmetics
  • Replay Mode: For capturing and sharing amazing action clips and stills
  • Online Ranked Mode: Find out how your piloting skills rate against the best in the world
  • Online Tournament/Spectator Mode: For easy streaming and encouraging fun events at all levels
  • Campaign: Unlock team skins, as well as more challenging tracks and speed classes
  • Designers Republic partnership: Graphic designs that influenced a generation in games and music
  • OST and SFX: Created by Tim Wright aka CoLD SToRAGE
  • In-game VOIP, making in-game chat both easy and fun
  • Hosted servers: To level the online playing field and minimize the possibility of cheating