A Station Wagon Can Save Your Life: Pacific Drive Q&A

During the State Of Play in September, we got a trailer for this game that looks like it is exactly the gameplay loop I look for in games. Wrapped around this post-apocalyptic setting, as you drive across the land, you need to use your car as shelter but also as a way to gather clues about what happened. In Pacific Drive, everything looked visually stunning, and a huge mystery was wrapped around its announcement trailer, so I reached out to Ironwood Studios with a few questions to see if I could dig up some more info. Alexander Dracott, Creative Director for Pacific Drive was more than happy to answer my questions.

Justin: Can you tell us more about the gameplay loop in Pacific Drive?

Pacific Drive is, at its core, a first-person driving survival game. From your garage, you and your car will journey out on various trips into the Olympic Exclusion Zone, a long-abandoned part of the Pacific Northwest full of mystery and danger.

While out in the zone, you’ll explore, gather resources, encounter strange anomalies, and generally try to keep your car running long enough to make it back safely. Once back to the safety of your garage, you’re free to repair, unlock new recipes and garage upgrades, and kit out your station wagon for the next journey. When you’re gassed up and good to go, it’s time to plan a new trip and head back into the zone.

Justin: Can you give us a hint as to what the story is in Pacific Drive?

Not much is known about the Olympic Exclusion Zone after the government seized the land in 1955. Rumors have swirled for decades about strange sights and sounds, but nothing has ever been confirmed. Supposedly, people have gotten through the wall, but who knows what they’ve found or if they’ve ever returned to tell the tale.

Justin: How long has Pacific Drive been in development? How far into development would you say it is?

The game has been in development since late 2019, and we’re very confident in hitting our announced goal of releasing it in 2023 onto PS5 and PC platforms.

Justin: How has the reaction been so far to the announcement?

The reaction so far has been overwhelmingly positive! We’re thrilled to share something new and unique. Every time we see fans pick up on the different parts of the game (the car, the Zone, even the bobbleheads for the car), we get super excited. The following that we’re picking up online is really establishing that what we’re doing might be different, but people are super into it.

Justin: What were some of your inspirations for Pacific Drive?

We love all flavors of weird science, but we’re also heavily inspired by surrealistic fiction, mysterious places, and car adventures. The setting takes heavy inspiration from other zone stories like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Annihilation, but with our own influences being based out in the Pacific Northwest. The car itself is something really special. As a team, we all love a good retro 80’s set of wheels as much as the next person (Back to the Future, Ghost Busters), but for us, the stories that come from real adventures that people have gone on their own road trips and excursions really stick with us. We are also constantly sharing and laughing about the kinds of “unique car quirks” that so many of us have experienced over the years in real life.

Justin: If you wanted players to have one thing in mind (or several) for when they dive into Pacific Drive, what would it be?

In Pacific Drive, we really are not exaggerating when we say your car is your only true companion while out in The Zone. It’s not just a set of wheels or transportation; it is your lifeline. Keep it running and repaired, and in turn, it will keep you safe.

So there you have it! I am extremely excited about Pacific Drive, and hopefully, you are too. We get to unravel the mystery in 2023…

For more interviews, previews and features, stay locked to DreadXP, and check out Pacific Drive.