Halls of EA - Road Rash
One of the more iconic items on campus is sometimes referred to as "the Road Rash bike”; a bright red, fully functional motorcycle in the middle of the lobby. But it’s not the bike that draws attention – It’s the scars.
The Road Rash franchise featured six games–starting with the original Road Rash in 1991 and ending with 1999's Road Rash: Jailbreak. Since then, it's inspired enough nostalgia that some fans have started a Kickstarter project to fund the development of a spiritual successor (and we hear one of the original co-creators might create another Kickstarter project soon as well). The fourth installment, simply titled "Road Rash" (but more commonly referred to as "Road Rash 3DO" due to its initial release on the 3DO console), in particular provided the impetus that eventually led to placing a real live motorcycle in the EA lobby.
During Road Rash's development in the summer of 1993, producer Randy Breen had an idea: use an actual motorcycle. He approached Ducati and subsequently borrowed a bright red motorcycle for use in both marketing (advertising campaigns) and developing (motion capture) Road Rash.
Since the game featured five specific California locales, the developers went to both San Francisco and the scenic Santa Cruz mountains and shot motion capture footage on-site. Breen, a rider himself, also took to the streets on his own bike—fitting perfectly in formation with the other developers as they rode through the steep curves of the rolling mountains to more accurately model the breakneck feel of riding dangerously.
A little known fact during the game's development is that Breen actually rode the Ducati itself for some of these motion capture session. During the final day of production, the team had Breen — a seasoned rider — racing away from two police cars on an open highway. During this stunt, while speeding and heading towards a crowded intersection, Breen quickly decided to lay the bike down to ensure no one got hurt. No one at the scene got injured, and Breen himself walked away with only minor scratches. The bike — now sporting its own official "road rash", couldn't be returned to Ducati. Instead, it became an integral part of the Road Rash marketing campaign; it was prominently featured at the Consumer Electronics Show and at the Electronic Entertainment Expo with a sign that read, "Crashed during filming." This same crash made its way into the final game as well. After its spot in the sun, the Road Rash bike settled into a safe spot in the halls of EA.
The Halls of EA is a look at the people, places, and artifacts that define EA history.