Split/Second is a sports car racing game with realistic automobile models, arcade-style action, and destructible environments engineered for massive man-made disaster. Players become contestants in a fictional reality television show that takes speed and violence to new extremes. Races are run in urban and industrial areas constructed especially for the TV show, where buildings, towers, bridges, and other structures are rigged with high-powered explosives. As competitors race around the track, they each gradually fill up a "Powerplay" meter. When full, this meter enables the racer to set off one of the explosive charges. The Powerplay meter fills more quickly as the player performs tricky jumps or squeezes through tight spaces, so precision driving is at a premium, despite the chaotic nature of the courses. The destruction of structures also calls for finesse, as it's in the racer's best interest to use timing and tactics to cause as much obstruction and damage to opponents as possible.
As racers speed around the track, the game's interface highlights structures ahead that could be triggered for destruction, as well as the cars that would probably be affected if they fell. In many places, destroying a building opens up a new shortcut as it blocks the old road. Mastering the driving skills to keep on a controlled line around each track is the key to victory, but players also need quick "split-second" reaction times when another racer unleashes a destructive blast that alters the entire course in front of them. In addition to destroying buildings that tumble across the track, some courses offer racers the opportunity to trigger more unusual disasters, such as a jumbo jet that can be called down to crash-land in the middle of the roadway. Split/Second was created by veteran racing game designers at Black Rock Studio, formerly a part of the Climax Group and developer of games in the MotoGP and ATV series.