Pacific Drive PAX West 2023 Preview

Pacific Drive Cover Art

When you think of a Pacific drive what do you think of? Prior to PAX West 2023, I thought of the nice scenic drive up the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle or Vancouver. In fact, for many, that would be the primary thing that comes to mind; some might think of the multi-state hike that some hiking fanatics trek to accomplish a challenging feat. At PAX West 2023, we learned about a new game called Pacific Drive developed by Ironwood Studios and being published by Kepler Interactive. But what is Pacific Drive and why were people at PAX West so excited about it?

Before we dive into our impressions, we are going to share with you the Pacific Drive Steam description and features.

Pacific Drive Steam Info

Survive the anomaly-filled Olympic Exclusion Zone with a car as your only lifeline. Scavenge resources from abandoned research sites, load up your trusty station wagon, and drive like hell to make it through alive. This run-based driving survival adventure arrives in 2024.

In this run-based driving survival adventure, you face supernatural dangers on each expedition into the Olympic Exclusion Zone. Make your base of operations in an abandoned garage, where you’ll research new parts, customize your station wagon, and chart routes deeper into the Zone. As you gather precious resources and investigate what’s been left behind in the Zone, you learn exactly what it takes to survive in this unpredictable, hostile environment.


Drive hard and keep your tools handy: repair your car, swap out parts, and gather useful materials
Outrun the storm while facing strange perils in a world that shifts with every journey into the Zone
Scavenge resources to craft new equipment for your car and build new stations in your garage
Your car, your way – configure your wagon how you want, experimenting with different equipment to navigate a treacherous landscape, and look good doing it
Unravel the mystery of the Olympic Exclusion Zone, an abandoned research site in an anomaly-filled version of the Pacific Northwest


It’s you and your station wagon against an unforgiving, vicious world. It’ll take more than a fresh set of tires to keep you alive, on and off the road. Your faithful wagon can be upgraded and reinforced to protect you, but the car is going to take a beating. Keep your gas tank filled and your panels intact to withstand the radiation permeating the Zone. You’ll be pushed to your limit – making repairs on the fly, scavenging materials wherever you can, and adapting your rolling fortress to tackle the many life-threatening dangers that lurk in the shadows.


The experimental leftovers of the secretive ARDA organization remain scattered across the Zone, and finding answers won’t be easy. Everywhere you look you’ll find anomalies, surreal forces of a twisted nature that make your journey more difficult… or at least a lot more interesting. Silhouettes in the dark, rolling piles of scrap metal, and towering pillars of earth – each run is packed with otherworldly hazards. As terrifying as those may be, nothing compares to the overwhelming power of a Zone Storm. Stomp on the gas and outrun it if you can – these rolling maelstroms rend the landscape and obliterate anything that sticks around too long. Don’t let that be you.


Check the map, pack some gear for the trip, and hit the road. Gather resources and collect data as you go, there’s all sorts of useful stuff inside the walls of the Zone. Make it back safely and use the contents of your trunk to improve your car and garage. Every time you venture out, new trials await: bizarre weather, unforgiving landscapes, and experimental remnants. The golden rule in the Zone is ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ — some materials can only be found in the most dangerous places. Be smart out there, and don’t waste time — it’s going to be a long haul.

Pacific Drive Impressions

Going into the Pacific Drive demo, we were given the option to either get a gameplay explanation from the developers or just jump right in; we chose to just jump right in, and god that was a mistake. While we were waiting to play the game we watched some others play, but we did not understand the core concepts of the game. The game focuses on building, modifying, and repairing your vehicle so that you can survive the bizarre weather and anything else that comes your way.

Without knowing this, we quickly repaired the vehicle, threw some items into the trunk, and just drove to the points of interest without any real clue about what we were doing. This is where we went wrong. At each point of interest, players need to gather Anchor energy in order to protect themselves from the maelstroms and reset the zone. The scraping mechanic, we figured out at the end when it was to late.

The overall core concept of the game was interesting, but the demo itself could have used a bit more of an explanation of how to play. Additionally, it would have been nice for the game to tell us more about what was going on; however, after playing through the demo, we learned that the PAX West demo was a later point in the game, so the lack of explanation makes sense.

It is definitely a game to keep an eye on due to the setting and graphics. Pacific Drive is currently scheduled to be released in the early part of 2024.

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Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.

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