The Crew's closed beta will be arriving a little earlier than its original July 23rd deploy date, perhaps due to opportune driving conditions, or clement weather - we just don't know. We do know, however, that the beta will now be waiting outside your house, keys in hand on July 21st, giving you a whole working week of slightly buggy open world driving fun before you have to take it back to the rental place. If you haven't signed up yet, you can still do that here, but be warned: you will need a uPlay account. You'll find details of the closed beta after the break.
Nadeo's shooty ShootMania and drivey TrackMania 2 games have both been given sizeable new demos, with the intention of increasing the player count in both Mania titles. The demos are pretty generous, offering access to a good number of environments, modes, tracks and the full editing suite in both games, although this unlimited access will expire after 48 hours, to be replaced with something perhaps a little more reasonable (an hour of play every day, or more if the player count falls below 100). Head here to check out the TrackMania 2 demo, and here to check out the ShootMania one, or stick around to hear exactly what you'll be getting.
Radial-G’s tagline promises ‘racing revolved’, which is a rather clever way of saying, “All the tracks in this futuristic hover-racer are cylindrical.” Hey, works for me. From newly established Brighton-based company Tammeka, Radial-G sees dozens of players thrust boosters over weird and wonderful alien worlds.
Bandai Namco's free-to-play - sorry *vomits* free-to-drift - racing game Ridge Racer Driftopia's year-long beta will come to an end in around 60 days. Normally that would be the time when a game graduates from beta to, er, 'the one after beta', otherwise known as 'released'. That's not happening here: Namco Bandai Namco (delete as applicable) have announced that they're to take the project offline instead. By August 15th, Driftopia's servers will be shut down, while its Steam Early Access page will presumably be Old Yellered in the back of the head. Given the staggering number of negative reviews on that linked page, I shan't think people are going to miss it.
Grid Autosport's June 24 release date is coming up fast, which is good news for racing game fans buoyed by Codemaster's insistence that the latest entry will "move the series back in line as a more authentic racing game". The latest trailer follows that up with words from real racing car drivers discussing the intense nature of the touring car discipline, amid shots of the game in action.
Experienced racing gamer Craig Lager teams up with Tom Hatfield, a man who's only Rally experience involves driving around the streets of Birmingham UK. Together, they take on the extreme course of Elephant River in rFactor. Craig takes the wheel, while Tom plays navigator, calling upcoming turns from a map of the course. Will they make it to the end? How many elephants will they hit first? Will they learn anything about rally racing, and the stressful joy of co-op gaming?
Craig: We're going to crash into that crowd of people, and those elephants, maybe those gazelles. The car glides along the dirt on its side, my continued pushing of the brake pedal futile. "Err, slow over crest" Tom says, 3 hours too late. I can feel the now upside-down animals staring at us as we settle into the dirt of "Elephant River". The engine flaccidly buzzes, somehow not stalled. I should remember this corner by now.
You'd have to be an archaeologist - or perhaps a doting mother - to look at my car and say it had ever been roadworthy. It's been mashed down to two wheels, and what's left of the chassis looks more like a glitch than the rumbling muscle-beast I kicked off Next Car Game's tech demo driving. Brilliantly, as broken as it is, it's still attempting to act like a car. I can gun the engine and move this lump. It's a cruel mockery of damage modelling. Just look at this video to see for yourself.
Do you want to see a car drive into a clutch of rotating grinders and then see it vomited out the other side in a flurry of shrapnel and screams? Of course you do! Bugbear Entertainment's next car game, Next Car Game, has a very nice damage modelling system so they've tortured a car over and over again to show it off in their "car damage fun" video. It won't seem so fun when that car's children find out what happened and start an epic quest for vengeance in Next Car Game 2: Car Harder.
Fans of bears on unicycles rejoice, Joe Danger and friends are finally getting a chance to race on PC this year. Cheerful stunt racer, Joe Danger and its sequel, Joe Danger 2: The Movie, will arrive on Steam with extra levels, higher resolutions and Steam Workshop support that will let players share levels assembled in the track editor, and share ghosts of their fastest runs, inducing a bitter in-office rivalry that will surely consume us all.
JD and JD2 have been around for ages on Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network, but “actually, PC is Joe Danger’s spiritual home,” Hello Games founder Sean Murray says in the announcement piece. “I coded my first ever PC engine when we started making the original Joe Danger back in 2009, because we couldn’t get hold of console devkits. So it’s incredibly exciting to be finally able to release it.”
Veteran racing game developer Eutechnyx has kept their online free-to-play game Auto Club Revolution in various stages of testing for two years, with the open beta having begun over a year ago. Executive Producer Christoph Vietzke cited "strict criteria" for the wait—and apparently, that criteria has now been met, as ACR has officially launched today. Oh, and if you were a beta tester, you get a bonus gift as a thank-you for helping to improve and shape the game.
The PC version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted will be prettier, faster and support more players online than the console editions according to Criterion’s Leanne Loombe in an interview with Games.on.net. "The move to DX11 from DX9 has given us around a 300% improvement in rendering performance," she says. "This has enabled us to provide an improved image based lighting model over the console version, as well as allowing us to run with higher detail shadows and reflections.
"The increased power of DirectX 11 hardware has also allowed us to implement features such as real-time ambient occlusion, and light scattering algorithms which are absent in the console version."
Here's the sort of trailer I like to see. A couple of minutes of straightforward in-game footage. If you play Grid 2, it will look like this. There's no dubstep, crash cuts, sparks or explosions, just some cars racing around pre-alpha builds of a pair of tracks. The Californian coast track features a Boss Mustang and a classic Mustang Mach 1. The Chicago race features a Camaro SS, Z06 Corvette and another Boss Mustang, which are excellent cars as far as I know, but when it comes to cars I don't know much. Allow me to distract you with some raw, unedited footage of Grid 2 while I flee on a scooter.
Criterion know where their strengths lie. What Burnout lacked in nuance and realism it made up for with a wicked sense of speed and squealing, somersaulting crashes. Paradise introduced both elements to a city-sized destruction derby custom-made for violent racing. The town of Fairhaven will offer a similarly expansive warren of challenges which will tie into an updated version of the Autolog system, which will match your performance against your friends on the fly.
There will be lots of AI supercars to flip as well, though, as evidenced by the latest Need for Speed: Most Wanted trailer. Which features a few snippets of in-game footage (with a HUD and everything), cut into lingering in-engine shots of glossy automobiles drifting through corners and sniffing out every ramp in the neighbourhood. Catch the slo-mo auto show jumping in the video below.
Some fresh Grid 2 screenshots have popped up on All Games Beta, showing mighty fast vehicles shuffling for position in a world of blurry colours. The updated engine Codemasters are bringing to to sequel looks pretty nice. Almost real, in fact. I've snuck a picture of a real car into the line up below. See if you can pick out the real car from the game shots. Good luck.
Good news, street racing fans, Grid is back! Codemasters announce that a sequel will be here next year. Expect better AI and an updated version of Grid's driving model as Codemasters attempt to hit "a sweetspot between accessibility and simulation." An updated version of the EGO promises to deliver shinier, sparkier wrecks across a collection of tracks set in Paris, Abu Dhabi, Miami, California, Paris and more.
Criterion's reboot of 2005's Need for Speed: Most Wanted will mesh players together with an upgraded version of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit's Autolog system. It tracks your every start finish time and then lets your friends know whenever you beat their time, but also acts as a fluid matchmaking system that'll let you start events on the fly in Most Wanted's open world city. The latest footage over on Evil Avatar shows such a session in action, with video of a race and a hairy escape. It feels, if anything, a lot like Burnout: Paradise, which is no bad thing, but will it have the original Most Wanted's level of car customisation? And will we get to play as the cops?
Codemasters have announced F1 Race Stars, a Formula One racer with a colourful, lighthearted skew. The announce trailer provides a quick tease of the game and doubles as a study of the effects of acceleration on the brain. Is this what Lewis Hamilton sees all of the time?
Race Stars will convert classic F1 tracks like Monaco, Silverstone and the new Austin and Texas tracks into craaazy alternative versions that exaggerate each circuit's most famous features. It'll support 12 player races and offer an "extensive career mode" for solo play. The sport's biggest drivers have also been turned into less aerodynamic bobblehead versions of themselves for maximum d'awww factor.
The trailer above loudly announces that Dirt Showdown will be released on May 25. A demo will be released on Steam in a couple of weeks on May 1 if you fancy trying out Showdown's lively, arcade slant on the relatively serious rallying of the core Dirt games. That'll let us crash a selection of cars across a "solo and multiplayer event."
Showdown features rough and tumble races set amid boisterous carnival locations. Expect ramps, choke points, stunts and plenty of collisions. Previous trailers have shown crashes on the 8 ball arena, crashes in the midst of crowded night time contests and crashes during frantic midday bouts. If that's not enough crashing, there's a destruction derby mode solely devoted to dishing out points for big hits.
Graham's been drifting around Ridge Racer: Unbounded's streets today, but has encountered a widespread problem with the City Creator, in that it doesn't even slightly work. After naming the track and trying to get into the track creator screen, the game crashes to desktop. It's a problem that many players have been experiencing, according to reactions on the Steam forums.
Developers, Bugbear, have posted on Twitter saying that they're aware of the issue. "Looks like we have a PC patch issue preventing the City Creator from launching. Working on it, will update when resolved."
That'll be soon, hopefully. The City Builder lets players create custom tracks stretched across 64 blocks. You can increase the complexity of your custom levels by unlocking new parts as you play, and your creations can be shared with friends online. Check out the trailer above for a glimpse of what you're in for.