The Rise and Fall of Driver

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In the late 1990s, the PlayStation was abound with racing games. Gran Turismo, Need for Speed, Ridge Racer, and many more provided players with plenty of hours of breakneck entertainment behind digital steering wheels.
Among these games, however, was a decidedly different experience from Newcastle-based developer Reflections Interactive. Simply titled Driver, the game focused more on emulating the thrill of Hollywood-style car chases than on pure racing, allowing players to unleash their inner Steve McQueen across the United States’ roughest roads. The game was immensely successful, and quickly spawned a lesser, yet ambitious sequel that allowed players to exit and hijack cars nearly a year before Rockstar allowed players to do the same in Grand Theft Auto III.

Unfortunately, the subsequent popularity and quality of the Grand Theft Auto games would prove to be an albatross around Driver’s neck. Unable to escape the former series’ transcendental fame, Reflections would gradually inject more and more of its open-world trappings into Driver, leading to some major embarrassments, and the gradual loss of the franchise’s identity.
Finally, after switching multiple publishers and coming to terms with Driver’s strengths, Reflections would transition the series back into pure, car-chasing action with 2011’s Driver: San Francisco. The cost of doing so left Reflections uninterested in doing much else with the series – but resulted in an immensely entertaining experience; one that righted its predecessors’ missteps, while offering clever new ideas that helped release it from Grand Theft Auto’s shadow.

This is the rise and fall of Driver.

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38 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of Driver

  1. In my opinion Driver SF is pretty much up there with Beyond good and evil, loved by many but due to not being a total financial success kind of killed off.

  2. The travel mechanics used in the last game is called astral journey. Actually, Tanner was in coma and trance while he was partly conscious of all the surroundings, and it is safe to say he was travelling using astral journey technique hence no one amongst the people said to use this technique really knows how it is done when they do it.

  3. I played driver…..I couldn't get past that fucking underground car park at the very fucking staRT OF THE FUCKING GAME

  4. Driver: San Francisco was a great game. I remember just recently beating Driver Parallel Lines and restarting Driver 2 when they announced it on E3. With real licensed car models. Man, I was so stoked. Kinda sad it has to go, but knowing that Reflections had to experience pressure like that and burning out, I'm happy for them to let Driver go and pursue another project.

    Still, I'm hoping that one day Ubisoft will announce a new Driver game with a fresher Refllections on board. Developer's wellness is number one priority.

  5. If other's history surrounds me in some way, so does Driver and GTAIII 30:15 – Must be from my cousin's game HydroThunder from Midway and he was telling me about Stuntman that he rented.
    Why'd they go that route? Did they want to get me back into them?
    26:01 – Parasite Eve: 3rd Birthday? Or Geist (Gamecube)?

  6. 6:03 – and this is where the PC game "THE MOVIES" comes in…(Though I had designed a similar the concept of it at the time before it came out in 2005)

  7. I remember playing Driver 1 on the PS1 with Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP playing in the background. Oh the memories.

  8. I hope they release a new Driver game atleast one last time but for the new consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X

  9. The fall of driver came when it asked a 9 year old boy to do a “salmon” in the tutorial mission.

    Oh it says “slalom” you say? Tell that to 9 year old me. Not that I knew wtf a slalom was anyway!

    F you, Driver.

  10. If driver 4 comes to ps5 which I’m hoping it will. I won’t buy another gta. I played driver 3 more than San Andres because of its campaign and graphics and driver just felt better to me. Hopefully if there is any driver 4 I hope it’s similar to gta 5 online. It’ll be great

  11. I always played driver San Francisco with my friends as a kid. Hopefully I’ll get to play it again someday.

  12. I really don't get the mindset of most publishers, they rush games out to make money faster and then, the game comes out broken which makes them lose money, yet they keep doing this over and over

  13. GTA: San Andreas also made fun of Driver when we get to the rapper's mansion to steal his rhyme book, he's playing Driver….berating Tanner….shame

  14. You see, I'd be totally fine if they didn't want to make any more IF the previous titles were all available to download!!! They're not! Not even Driver: SF! That's a fricking shame, that was the best entry in the franchise!! The original Driver is not in the iOS app store either anymore…I'm just sad. I loved this game so much. And no matter what anyone said, the driving mechanics were ALWAYS superior than GTA's….

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