Update: For clarity's sake, you can issue challenges via Twitter from "Blur" if you have an Xbox 360 and your pal has a PlayStation 3. What you cannot do is communicate directly from game to game across platforms or directly affect your in-game stats by the act of beating a friend's challenge alone. The info in a Twitter challenge doesn't directly affect anything in-game. Only your individual accomplishments can do that, but you can best your remote friend's accomplishments and send a challenge back. In short, "Blur" facilitates competition through messaging across systems using Twitter as a common method of communication, but the games themselves will not interact.
Original Story: In a presentation last weekend where Activision and Bizarre Creations announced a May 25th release date for "Blur," they unveiled a multiplayer demo that laid out a unique combination of options that will not only allow Xbox Live Silver account holders to compete with one another; they'll allow players from 360s and PlayStation 3s to challenge each other via Twitter. As one of the game's senior developers explained, those concepts emerged from needs the team found in their own lifestyles.
"A lot of us have kids and family and stuff, but we're finding that as we're getting older we're just not able to get everyone together to play at the same time," lead designer Gareth Wilson told MTV News.
In response, his group at Bizarre concocted ways for "Blur" players to issue challenges and responses to friends via a challenge system that doesn't require any two players to have XBL Gold accounts or the same brand of console.
"I've got a friend from university who lives in Australia, and I can't play with him, because he's available at night time when I'm sleeping," Wilson said. "So the Friends Challenge thing was really, 'How do we get people together to play who might not be able to."
Wilson walked through the process of issuing such challenges in a couple of scenarios.
"In the single player mode when you finish a race, it records all of your stats and information," he said. "You can choose what you want to put into your challenge and send it to your buddy. He receives that as an Xbox Dashboard message, so he could be playing another game, he could be watching TV on Netflix."
Since no matchmaking occurs within the game, no Silver account is required. Similarly, the Twitter method requires no Gold either, though it does require an Internet connection. The option gave Bizarre a strategy for integrating social media in a way that wouldn't cause over-sharing and constant updating.
"With the Twitter integration, the one thing we didn't want was for it to be this horrible, spammy thing," Wilson stated. "The main reason for having it is so that people on different formats can compete with each other."
While simultaneous head-to-head play on the 360 may require a Gold account, budget-driven households will get a second option from the new settings. The innovative approach will definitely be worth a look.
What do you think of Bizarre's use of Twitter and 360 messaging for "Blur"? Do you think you'll give a try? Share your reactions in the comment section below.