Watch the Magnum Opus Come to Life


In the world of Mad Max, cars represent life and death. Your own vehicle can keep you alive, someone else's may put an end to it.

Developing the game has pushed us to bring virtual car combat to a whole new level. At the very core of all this stands the Magnum Opus; the car that you as Max build up throughout the course of the game. Being such a centerpiece of our wasteland, we wanted to bring it to life any way we could, and eventually this crazy idea took form; what if we actually physically built it? In real life, from metal and rubber, using real life tools instead of virtual ones.

While a wasteland car visually is quite different from modern custom car, they have more similarities than meets the eye. In the wasteland, your car is your lifeline. It has taken on religious proportions. Cars are ornamented, worshipped, feared and – worth more than a human life. Seeing a car from afar you will immediately feel the intimidation and a glance at the car - its shape, size and weaponry - will tell you how tough the upcoming fight will be. And a fight there will be. In the wasteland, you fight over every last drop of water and piece of scrap.

Watching the car come together at West Coast Customs was a mesmerizing experience, as it very much reflected back on how you as a player build the car in the game. Customization is a huge part of the gameplay experience in Mad Max. The concept we presented WCC with was just one of countless variations that the player will be able to build, using different car bodies, wheels, ramming grills, engines, suspensions, exhaust systems and much more. We want players to build their own unique version of the Magnum Opus, tuned to their preferred personal play style. Top it off with some fear-inducing grill ornament skulls, tribal markings and spikes to keep boarders away.

All of this comes together and has real impact on the gameplay. The WCC build had to install a massive engine and custom suspensions to maximize performance even with the added weight of the armor pieces. The same is true in the game. You can't just slap on heavy armor pieces and a massive grill and still expect handling, acceleration and top speed to be unaffected. Car gameplay and combat is entirely physics-based and whatever you would expect to happen in real life will also happen in the game... well, almost. We do like to refer to "Hollywood physics", as we’re all about chaos and destruction at Avalanche Studios.

It's hard to describe the feeling as we finally got to see, touch and drive the finished car. Years of graphical design, 3D modeling and programming become flesh and blood (or rather steel and oil). It is extremely rare as a game developer to get experience your creations in real life and to have the Magnum Opus - essentially one of the "lead characters" of our game - come to life in this way has been a fantastic experience.

To learn more about the build, check out the official Mad Max website