Microsoft has dropped news of a Project Gotham Racing 4 demo that is now available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo includes two tracks, one in Macu, and another that will make you forget about that last one: the Nurburgring. In the snow.
The demo also includes two bikes and two cars which you can use to explore those tracks, and a handful of challenges and the like to encourage you.
I’ve been playing the game since the weekend and hope to have some impressions for you shortly. In the interim enjoy the two screens of my drifting prowess, including the above taken at said snowy Green Monster in a 1950’s Maserati! Needless to say this ain’t no racing sim.
The game has shipped in the Americas, and while readers elsewhere will need to wait another week and some change to get their hands on it, they can at least take advantage of the wait to read a plethora of reviews posted on the eve of the game’s launch. Eurogamer scored the game 9/10, stating it features “delightful evolution” over the last game. GameSpot’s slightly more pessimistic 8.5/10 review says it “continues the series’ tradition of brilliant visuals and fun gameplay,” and 1UP gave the same score, with reviewer John Davidson saying that at first the game “bored me senseless” before deciding: “With time though, it won me over.”
Overall it’s sounding like a solid if not groundbreaking follow-up to Project Gotham Racing 3, and as Dazmaniac commented in response to our earlier story about Bizarre being bought, this will be the last iteration of the series produced by the storied company that has driven the franchise since the Metropolis Street Racer days. I can’t wait to find out what racer they come up with next.
Nothing like a little controversy to spice things up on a workday morning. It seems a former coder from Heavenly Sword developer Ninja Theory made some harsh statements about a new trailer (shown below in shaky-cam version) stating “Those videos are simply not realtime, motion blur is done compositing several intra-frames together.” A developer from Bizarre has replied saying simply “It’s all in-game.”
To our critical but non-developer eyes it certainly looks in-game to us, but click on below and you can be the judge for yourself.
Once a physics test in Project Gotham Racing, Geometry Wars turned into a hugely popular game in its own right and its successor helped to get Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade off the ground for the 360 when it launched. It’s been announced that a successor to Retro Evolved will be included with Project Gotham Racing 4. That’s an improvement over PGR3, which only included a timed demo of Retro Evolved, irritating many series fans somewhat.
No details on what exactly will be new in this updated version of the game have been given, other than it will be called Geometry Wars: Waves.
Project Gotham Racing 4 is coming, oh yes, it’s coming, and it’s only a little over a month away. Earlier indications were that the game would drop in September. That’s not the case, but it’s not far off. The game will hit store shelves on October 2 here in North America, with a European release following a little later on October 12. That should be just enough time for the ‘Mericans to get a bit of a leg up on the surely more practiced Euro competition.
Along with the announcement came a handful of new screens showing off some more two-wheeled tomfoolery, plus a few of the smaller four-wheeled autos. A list of new cars and bikes have been announced, including selections from desirable brands like Norton, Caparo, and even the electric Tesla Roadster. Here’s hoping we don’t have to worry about battery charge mid-race!
- Ariel Atom 300 Supercharged 2004
- Aston Martin V8 Vantage 2005
- Austin Mini Cooper S 1964
- Chevrolet Camaro Z28 1969
- Ferrari F430 2004
- Caparo T1 2007
- Caterham R500 2000
- Lamborghini Gallardo 2004
- Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 2005
- Tesla Roadster 2008
- BMW F 800 S 2006
- Honda NR750 1992
- Honda CBR600RR 2005
- Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 2007
- MTT Turbine Superbike 2006
- MV Agusta F4 Senna 2006
- Norton 500 Manx 1962
- Triumph Speed Triple 2005
- Triumph Trident 2005
Project Gotham Racing 4 surprisingly didn’t get much coverage from E3 two weeks ago, despite PGR 3 being one of the hottest selling games at the Xbox 360 launch, but the previews are starting to trickle in now, including a new one from GamersInfo.net that touches on the motorcycle inclusion of the new game:
PGR4 features approximately 95 cars and 25 motorcycles. However, when playing the single-player game, if you don’t want to play one type of vehicle, you don’t have to. Every track is designed to give benefits to both types of vehicles at different points — such as tight turns for the more agile motorcycles and long stretches for the faster cars. Both types of vehicles can race in the same race, but don’t worry, bikers, it’ll take a lot of work to knock you off your bike.
And Harley riders (such as myself) take heart — I did see at least one or two Harleys listed while the developer was scrolling through vehicles. I do wonder if they have the same emotes as the riders on the squid bikes. Wheelies and endos will get you kudos in the game, and I noticed one pretty cool effect: When switching between viewpoints for your car, the “in-helmet” viewpoint has the sounds muffled just like when wearing a full face helmet.
It seems drifting a Ferrari 430 in real life is a weeeeee bit harder than it is on the Xbox 360 in Project Gotham Racing. If you needed proof, check out the two videos below (courtesy of Joystiq) showing a driver attempting to send the 430 into a power-induced slide for a PGR4 commercial, over-correcting, then gently nosing the red beauty into the barrier. Damage was minimal … to the car at least. The driver’s pride was probably a bit more injured, assuming this whole thing wasn’t staged as a PR stunt.
We can see it now — “Can you afford to try this #$%^ in real life? We don’t think so. Buy our game.”
Pro-G have posted some updated information about Project Gotham Racing 4, including the standard stuff we already knew, and a few more bits of info:
Much of the little details are handled by the racification team, whose job it is to add race furniture to all the cities. This includes turn markers, crowd stands, race teams and vehicles, ambient traffic, animated billboards and more. New in PGR4, players will notice that crowd members will be waving your flag and they’ll be trackside signs displaying how many Kudos points have been earned.
The article also mentions a big announcement regarding the game coming soon.
It’s debatable whether the inclusion of motorcycles into Test Drive Unlimited added much value to the game. Indeed, when it was ported elsewhere those bikes were the first thing to go. That questionable appeal hasn’t stopped the good folks at Bizarre, though, who have confirmed (via GameStop) that motorcycles will be in the game. That’s just one of a number of tasty details revealed in a lengthy pre-E3 preview of the game.
One of the biggest pieces of news with PGR4 is the arrival of motorcycles to the lineup of vehicles. Past games have been solely focused on cars, so the arrival of bikes in the game means a whole new set of challenges for the developer. For one thing, bikes handle much differently than automobiles, and this is certainly the case in the game. The extreme acceleration of the bike we tried during our hands-on time with the game took some getting used to, as did its extremely twitchy nature while making turns. Second, in addition to taking extreme detail when modeling motorcycles from makers like Ducati and Honda (among others), the team behind PGR4 had to model the riders themselves. When popping a wheelie, you can have your rider pull off more advanced tricks such as bringing his right leg over to the left side of the bike simply by keeping the wheelie going for an extended period of time. During a stoppie, you can have your rider extend his arm to “wave” at opponents by pressing the A button.
Stunting in Project Gotham Racing 4, eh? Not sure how I feel about that.
Anyhow, in addition to the screens at GameSpot, Bizarre have released the above screen of the Shanghai circuit’s amazing attention to detail. Obviously there’s some work to be done (those awnings are conspicuously transparent), but it’s quite impressive.
Following up on last week’s snowy Project Gotham Racing 4 video, Bizarre have announced the first of what will surely be many, many batches of officially licensed cars to come:
- ’62 Ferrari 250 GTO
- ’67 Toyota 2000GT
- ’78 Lamborghini Countach LP400
- ’98 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
- ‘04 BMW M5
- ’07 Ruf RGT 997
- ’07 Lotus GT3RR
Of course, these are in addition to the Corvette Stingray, Toyota Supra, Ferrari 612, TVR Sargaris, and a few other autos they’ve already shown us but haven’t bothered to officially list just yet.
Additionally, Team Xbox have a batch of new screenshots to share. They show snow, rain, fog, and sunshine of course.