New NFS: ProStreet Trailer

Need for Speed: ProStreet

ProStreet is just shy of two months away for most of you, and we’re still learning some of the details of this game, including just how the career mode will progress. That’s helped a bit by this new trailer from GameTrailers showing some of the various organizations around the world hosting in-game events. It’s clear from the video that this racer could have perhaps the highest production values of any yet released. The question, of course, is whether the gameplay will live up.

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Race Driver: Create & Race Trailer

Race Driver: Create & Race

Courtesy of Gametrailers.com and Codemasters we have a short trailer of Race Driver: Create & Race, the DS-bound port of the franchise we discussed last month. The game uses the system’s stylus and touch-screen to let gamers create their own tracks, turning what could have been another lame port into something potentially worth getting excited about.

We sadly weren’t able to check out the game at E3 a few weeks back, but were told to expect something playable soon, so we hope to be able to give you a report of just how this track editor shapes up in the not too distant future. In the mean-time, click on for the video.

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More Info on Create & Race

Race Driver: Create & Race

We brought the first screens and details of Codemasters Race Driver: Create and Race game last week, showing a glimpse of the simple but potentially quite fun track editor. GameSpot Australia managed to get some time with the game’s Lead Producer, Jamie Firth, to talk about some of the innovations that are, and aren’t, in the game:

GS AU: Are there any plans to give users the ability to upload their custom maps to a central server for others to download and time trial against?

JF: I can tell you that certainly won’t be available for this version of the game, but going forward, it’s certainly a direction we see it going in–a very community-orientated direction.

GS AU: The track-creation system seems to be easy to use. How much of the game development cycle has been dedicated to nailing this portion of the game?

JF: The track designer is very much our key feature for this title. It’s something we’ve been looking very carefully at from the beginning. We wanted to be able to generate these tracks as easily and simply as possible. To create a basic track, it’s simply a case of drawing a track on the touch screen, and then it’s ready, you can race. We developed it as we’ve gone. Certain things we didn’t think would be possible, but as we’ve gone through and experimented, we’ve actually found we could do things like racing the artificial intelligence on a track you’ve just created. At the beginning of development, we didn’t think that would be possible, but as we went through, we found that by encoding information inside track pieces and having the pieces look at what was coming next and interacting with the pieces it was adjacent to, we found we could actually train the AI to drive around the track against you. All racing games use a racing line to train the AI around the track, and they’ll have multiple lines they can move between if they should come off that. With the limitations of the DS in terms of how much processing you can do, that was always going to be really difficult.

Make sure you read the rest of the interview, where he calls the game a “grown up Mario Kart.”

Race Driver: Create & Race Screens & Info

Race Driver: Create & Race

It’s not too often that we get to report about a racer for Nintendo’s DS handheld gaming system, but that’s exactly what we’ve got here from Codemasters with a special version of their Race Driver series that, amazingly, isn’t just another port! Called Race Driver: Create & Race, the game makes good use of the system’s touch-sensitive screen to enable gamers to create their own tracks. Circuits can either be pieced together by dropping templates onto a grid or gamers can just draw lines free-hand, then go for a fly-over or a test-drive.

It remains to be seen just how powerful this will be (chances are it won’t give Bob’s Track Builder a run for its money), for example whether you can add banking to an oval track or create Suzuka-esque crossover tracks. But, even if you can’t, making your own track then engaging in some four-player Wi-Fi racing should be a lot of fun … even if there are only 20 cars in the game. Look for this one in the third quarter of this year in America, Europe, and Australia (where, of course, the title will be prefixed with DTM Race Driver or V8 Supercars as appropriate).

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NFS: ProStreet to Feature Complete Damage

Need for Speed: ProStreet

As seen at Voodoo Extreme, the guys at Game Informer magazine sat down with John Doyle, a producer on the upcoming ProStreet, about his hopes for the game and how it differs from Carbon. It seems the game will feature something that’s a bit of a rarity among games with licensed cars: the ability to completely wreck them and to roll them onto their roofs.

GI: What you showed us of this game, you’re doing a lot more damage than seems to have been done before. How is that working with car manufacturers? In the past a lot of the car manufacturers—if you’re using a real car, they obviously don’t want to see their cars damaged.

Doyle: The manufacturers have actually been fantastic. We have a strong relationship that we’ve been working for on a lot of years with the Need For Speed games. Every manufacturer in the game has completely signed off on full customization and full damage to their cars, including flipping them, rolling them and totaling them. We’re excited by it. It’s a lot of work to make sure that everyone’s on board and everyone’s OK with it. It’s a lot of travel to a lot of corporate offices, but everyone’s on board and we think it’s going to be pretty cool.

If the now common inclusion of damage is anything to go by, it usually only takes one or two games to start a trend and all the others are quick to follow, so maybe in Forza Motorsport 3 we’ll finally have cars that suffer a bit of frame damage when the hit the wall at 150mph, or roll over when they get spun sideways. Still, whether or not it’ll make this game worth playing remains to be seen.

Bruno Senna Does Ferrari Challenge

Bruno Senna

It was announced back in March that the Ferrari Challenge license has been picked up again and will be returning to consoles. For many, the name brings back good memories of the classic Ferrari 355 Challenge game from Sega. Likewise, the name Senna certainly brings back good (though tragic) memories to a number of gamers, so for them it will be a veritable flood of nostalgia this weekend at the Ferrari Racing Days spectacular at Silverstone. There Bruno, Ayrton’s nephew, will take to the wheel of the Ferrari 430 Challenge car sponsored by System 3, the folks who are bringing the game to the DS, PSP, PS3, and Wii sometime later this year.

Bruno Senna

NFS: ProStreet Announced, Cultured

Need for Speed: ProStreet

Well, we were close. Rumors were that the secretive new Need for Speed entry would be called Pro Street. Actually, it’s ProStreet, but hopefully you’ll forgive us a space. Anyhow, the game’s been announced and predictably it’s being billed as the greatest racer ever, with the game’s press release stating it “accelerates street racing culture.” Great.

It seems the focus here will be on fender-bending, with dents being likened to battle scars and the AI being called “aggressive.” What remains to be seen is whether this will do anything to improve the game’s image among the scorned former fans still yearning for the highly-polished and unmolested exotics in NFS games of yore. The game’s due out this fall on every current gaming platform known to man. Keep reading to check out a trailer and some more screens.

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IGN Hands On With Juiced 2

Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights

IGN has posted up a hands-on preview of Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights, covering a rather more complete sounding version than the earlier preview from GameSpot. The preview touches on the new betting features (this time you even bet in online races), the expanded car customization, and the new physics, which are patently not meant to be realistic:

It was finally time to race, and I chose to start with one of the two main modes, Circuit Racing. Drifting is the other major mode, but there’s plenty of variety. “They’re the only two, however there are variations on both of those things, for instance on the Circuit mode there are things like Eliminator, where the last player each lap is eliminated.” As the race began, I made the foolish mistake of heading for an in-car view. As I tried to flex my Forza 2 skills (ahhh the joys of preview code), I continually bounced from wall to wall, eventually ending last in the race. Sensing I was on the verge of tears, Nick explained why my simulator skills were useless here. “Real world, real driving models – straight away we want nothing to do with them.” Later in the day, when I – shudder – drove from an exterior view, the race went much more smoothly. The controls are very arcadey, possibly even more so than that other car racing game. It’s supposed to make the game easier to pick up and play, but it felt a little bit too snappy and rigid to me, almost like driving an r/c car rather than a real vehicle.

Once I’d had my fill of being flogged in the Circuit Racing, it was on to the Drift mode. Like that other racing game, it uses a very different handling model, but in this case, it’s a much nicer, more visceral one. It’s like driving a block of butter over a track covered in vegetable oil. It took about ten minutes to get comfortable with the handling, and I was stringing together combo drifts in no time. The drifting seems to be the more satisfying of the two driving modes – here’s hoping the circuit handling gets relaxed, allowing for sloppier, smokier turns.