Driver’s Bizarro “Shift” Power Explained

Coma patient at the wheel!
The forthcoming Driver game (subtitled “San Francisco”, but could probably do with being called “Coma Wars”), has an excellently weird videogame premise: the protagonist is in a coma and, as a consequence of his horrible unconsciousness, can psychically take over any driver in the city. Yes, it’s a game about the psychic danger of people in comas. A warning, some might say. Ubisoft are aware that this is super-bonkers, and have put out a new video to explain how the feature works. You can watch it at your leisure, below.


  1. Smannesman says:

    Well.. it’s different.

  2. Stranglove says:

    Looks fun.

    EDIT: but will there be drunk driving?

    • badoli says:

      Drunk driving? I dearly hope so!!!

    • max pain says:

      Looks immersion breaking.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Just like the hud in Mario. There I am, thinking I’m an Italian plumber overdosing in his own vomit in a basement, then up pops my score and I remember I’m just playing a computer game.

  3. Bob Moron says:

    So, say you’re being chased by cops. If you shift to another car, do they keep going for your old vehicle or does their famous psionics training program from Cop School tell them ‘psst, that guy actually got into that guy over there’?

    • JB says:

      This is a very good question, nice one Bob. We need to know!

    • sasayan says:

      Also, if you’re chasing a guy, what keeps you from just taking over him and stopping the car?

    • Pemptus says:

      @sasayan: Arbitrary game mechanics, I presume.

    • Armand Van Flicknife says:

      The cops keep chasing you.

      But you can steer your newly possessed vehicle into the cops, or cause a huge pile up that will let your *actual* self escape when you leap back.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Probably they get around it by having the cars you start out in be somewhat necessary for the action, so you have to protect it, by using the shift ability. So you always end up at the starting point.. dunno, looks fun anyway. Who cares about whether it makes sense as long as it’s fun.

  4. JYzer says:

    Driver: Life on Mars

    • Drake Sigar says:

      My thinking exactly. :)

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yes, I’m suprised more people haven’t mentioned it. Can’t think of a show that needs games inspired by it more either. Of course, I’m talking about the real version starring John Simm.

  5. Arona Daal says:

    Dark Messiah meets GTA with a hint of Outburn Paradise?
    Will keep an eye on that one.

    On the other hand…. its Ubisoft. What kind of DRM will it have?

  6. _Jackalope_ says:

    Did SUV’s filled with Soccer mom’s and their kids just became a videogame weapon?

  7. sasayan says:

    First thought from video still: Delorean!

    The mechanic itself looks like it could be quite fun.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Haha, yeah me too.

      I have to admit, I had no interest in this game at all and when I read the description of this mechanic it sounded dumb. But now that I have watched the video, I am quite excited about it. It looks like a pretty interesting and surreal game.

  8. GT3000 says:

    Nobody is gonna say it? Why are they driving while talking? Nevermind the Delorean. Feature looks as gimmicky as their presentational style.

  9. Shadowcat says:

    Anyone else really disturbed by the cuts back and forth between the murderous in-game driving, and the game developers driving their own cars? Isn’t that exactly the parallel that we don’t want to be drawing?

    Especially White Shirt Guy who is clearly a massive retard. Keep your eyes on the fucking road, you dick! You’re driving a car!

    Man… who the hell thought that was a good idea for a video?

    • Nalano says:

      It’s okay: He’s controlling all the traffic around him.

    • golden_worm says:

      No, the parallel they don’t want to be drawing is to Driver: Parallel Lines. Different kind of car crash.

  10. Diziet Sma says:

    Now I’m interested. :D

  11. heretic says:

    Crazy idea but looks quite fun.

  12. Ondrej says:

    I am still not convinced.

  13. indigohjones says:

    Meh. I’m more stoked about the release of Arkham City on October 2011, 18th.

  14. Bungle says:

    I came in thinking Shift was ridiculous but now I can’t stop thinking about how silly Ram is.

  15. lurkalisk says:

    So… You’re not just mind-raping innocent motorists, but encouraged to use said motorists to often potentially fatal ends…

    Sounds odd. Sounds fun also. Let’s hope the important stuff holds up.

  16. eleion says:

    Wait, so why are you stealing people’s bodies? I’m not sure I get the point.

  17. Armand Van Flicknife says:

    This post doesn’t really make clear that Tanner isn’t actually leaping between everyone’s minds -he just thinks he is, ’cause he’s in a coma.

    Don’t get me wrong, that still makes for a tenuous narrative.

    It’s a lot of fun though. Even Ram. Some unusual car licenses too, not the usual driving game suspects.

    • henben says:

      Is the premise that he’s in a coma and he’s imagining everything? Or is the premise that he’s in a coma, freeing his spirit to roam around and possess people? I thought it was the latter.

    • Armand Van Flicknife says:


      The devs explained it as more the former, but maybe they’ll use that ambiguity for some interesting plot twists…

  18. Njordsk says:

    looks garbage.

    • imajack says:

      dont worry all mirrors in the mental ward will be removed swiftly ,until then …stand vast

  19. I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

    “I can sort of pick a body and WHAM I’m inside them.” Now that’s just wrong.

  20. CaspianRoach says:

    Just wait until someone in US claims that they broke the driving rules because a man in a coma took control of them.

  21. imajack says:

    if they could do it in the matrix then why not!

  22. Moni says:

    “Shift into the jackass” is a pretty surreal objective.

  23. Tei says:

    “Mr Officer, I was not drunk!, I was poseed by a dude in coma!. ”

    Sure, this is going to work :DDDDD

  24. mejoff says:

    Driving game with a shift mechanic? Only avoids confusion in the US where everyone drives an automatic.

    • armyofdan says:

      Need For Speed: Shift did poorly here because it didn’t feature an auto V6 Ford Mustang convertible.

    • Big Murray says:

      Also it featured right-hand corners. American’s heads exploded.

    • PoLLeNSKi says:

      Americans’ heads…unless one single American has multiple noggins.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Clearly he was referring to Mr McGee.

  25. yxxxx says:

    Loved the driver series its allways been a bit unforgiving and the move to a more gta like feel was a bad decision.
    Im excited for this as they have apparently gone back to what made the game good and diffrent the driving.
    I am however a little worried about this shifting stuff its going to be one of those features that if it works its going to be a lot of fun but if it doesnt is going to be a real pain and horrible to play

    I for one am hoping they get it right..

  26. Forceflow says:

    It looks fun – isn’t that what’s important? I don’t care the ludicrous backstory behind it, it just looks like it’s a mechanic that mimics a kid playing with toy cars :)

  27. Sirico says:

    Hey cool the devs own iconic cars

  28. FKD says:

    I am probably the only person who is this incredibly boring, but I am really looking forward to the ability to take over the police cars. I have spent hours in GTA getting a police car, then driving around doing the “speed limit”, stopping at lights, etc and then waiting to see someone get jumped or some kind of traffic infraction and then I pull them over. I am really looking forward to a driving game that is free roaming in a city like this where I can finally splurge on a wheel too.

    • Big Murray says:

      … what did you do with them once you’d pulled them over?

    • FKD says:

      Well unfortunately that is where the realism (depending on who you ask..) starts to break down.. I could always pull them out of the car and leave it, or you know.. let the beatstick do the talking :/ But really, if we have things like Bus Simulator, how come we never get any police simulator things! You could drive around and pull people over, go to calls and have a “note taking simulator” and then get that 1% chance of a crazy call (depending on where you live) and then have it switch to something similar to the SWAT games..

      I just installed APB today, and it consisted of me doing pretty much my normal routine..driving around, using my blinkers, stopping at lights and then if the call deemed it, use my lights/siren to get somewhere. The only problem of course is the other players who can’t seem to control their vehicle and then randomly smash into you :/

  29. StickyNavels says:

    I really like the idea, it has some potential for Solid Fun. Not so keen on them artificially limiting the shift ability, which, IMO, should be a constant in terms of gameplay.

    Kind of-sort of like restricting a venerable mechanic like the Portal gun to an ammunition count: “If you want more Portal ammo, you gotta do some neat tricks first!”. It’s sheit.

  30. UncleLou says:

    I am surprised I am really saying this, but this looks – fun. I couldn’t care less about a silly story as long as it works as a gameplay mechanic, and it looks like it does. And I like what I am seeing of the physics/handling – looks like proper Driver of old, not another Burnout clone.

  31. Big Murray says:

    Wait, so a man’s in a coma, where he unlocks the hidden ability to take control of the bodies of people, but only those people who are driving cars, a power which can only be strengthened by taking over their bodies “driving cool”.


    • FKD says:

      And it looks like you might have those car transportation trucks (or whatever it was he drove up like a ramp..) every block or two so you can get STYLE POINTS!! :/

    • Acorino says:

      Haha, I’m looking forward to how they’ll deal with all this crazy gameplay stuff in the story!

  32. Urthman says:

    It makes me sad that this mechanic keeps getting described as weird and bizarre. To me it seems exactly like a video game mechanic.

    If you’d asked me 15 years ago, I’d have predicted that more games by now would be like this — crazy fun stuff that would be totally impossible in the real world — and a lot fewer would be trying to create some “realistic” simulation of driving or war or whatever.

  33. sergio.schuler says:

    GTA 5: Twilight Zone

  34. utzel says:

    The crashes look not really fun and I hate those stupid damage bar things. Yes, I’m looking at you, “Need For Speed – Hot Pursuit – The New One”.

    And for God’s sake, can’t they spend just a little bit less on their cars so they have enough money for a proper monitor and calibration?

  35. Daedalus207 says:

    Oh dear, I think this may need the “staring eyes” tag. The overlay shown when choosing a victim to possess is disturbing.