How time flies when you’re in a race car flying through improbable loops and smashing into things. Speaking of which, Trackmania is turning ten years old next month. To celebrate, developer Nadeo is releasing free demos of Trackmania 2: Valley, Stadium and Canyon. If you’ve never tried the insanity that is a Trackmania race, head over to the Maniaplanet website to download.
Nadeo only recently released TrackMania 2: Stadium, but already they're revving up for the next addition to their series of improbable racers. TrackMania 2: Valley is a rally-focused expansion, and is planned for release this Thursday, July 4th. Incidentally, let's take a moment to congratulate Nadeo for the clear naming of their sequel. It's better than their previous system of bolting extra subtitles with every version - resulting in TrackMania United Forever Star Edition:
Origins. Or something.
TrackMania 2! I'd entirely forgotten it even existed. That's one of the potential dangers when you hide your games away in their own tiny corner of the internet. Fortunately, as of today, Nadeo's various Mania games are getting some added visibility. TrackMania 2: Canyon, TrackMania 2: Stadium and ShootMania Storm have all been added to Steam in various states of release.
After all this time, still nothing compares to that opening sprint. One car, purring on the starting block, becomes a swarm of 20 when the countdown hits zero. Latticed tyre tracks. Wheels clipping through bumpers clipping through bonnets. A turn is coming: easy left into easy right, then an exit into a suicidal drop. Three degrees off and you’ll fluff the angle for the jump at the end. But you’ve trained for this – and so, as the others make their mistakes, you glide dead-bang into the tunnel. Into the mouth of a mountain.
Nadeo's International Project Manager, Edouard Beauchemin has shared new Shootmania details with PC Gamer. We fired questions at him before having "one more go" on the upcoming Trackmania Canyons at Ubisoft's Summer Showcase. Three hours later, I left the booth.
Shootmania is an ambitious user-driven sandbox of an FPS. Users will be able to create their own gametypes and maps in a few minutes, similar to how the Trackmania community create their own unique courses. I asked Edouard whether Shootmania will feature some form of persistent levelling system similar to the ones featured in most modern FPSs.
It wont. According to Edouard, "A whole experience system could have been implemented into Trackmania, but a game based on skill is more interesting for the people we like to play with. With Shootmania, it's the same thing. It's based on skill. There are no RPG mechanics. We want to make it as pure as possible."
Nadeo, creators of the Trackmania series, along with the upcoming Shootmania and Questmania title have been speaking to PC Gamer. Edouard Beauchemin is aware of the recent trend in the profitable free-to-play model, but says it's not the best option for the upcoming Trackmania 2: Canyons.
Speaking at Ubisoft's Summer Showcase yesterday, the international project manager said: "Free to play is so fashionable at the moment. People come up to us and are like 'Make Trackmania 2: Canyon's free to play' and we're like 'No - Trackmania Nations. That's completely free-to-play. You don't have to pay at any time. And we're still looking at 700,000 different people playing the game each month.
Tim likes people pointing cameras in his face and saying "talk now please" that he's sent us another video verdict, this time covering Ubisoft's press conference. He talks about the three games from the presentation that we should be excited about, while jaunty music plays in the background. Among his selections are the gorgeous Trackmania sequel, and the Inglourious Basterds-inspired Brothers in Arms: Furious 4. That second one's quite a departure: last time we left the series, we were mediating on the nature of war and seeing ghosts inside an earnest soldier's head. Now we'll be lopping scalps off comedy-Nazis and shooting people while they poo. There's also talk of Far Cry 3, something Graham covered in detail in his preview.
Bedroom coders’ lairs aside, Nadeo must be the smallest studio you could ever hope to visit. It’s so small that the guidance on how to get there counts the precise number of steps to descend before you reach the front door (it’s four). You park your coat in the mezzanine, nod to the receptionist on your way into the main office, then realise that the mezzanine is the main office, that the ‘receptionist’ is actually studio founder Florent Castelnérac and that you were dangerously close to walking into a cupboard.
TrackMania's best courses looked like lumps of concrete spaghetti. They were a mess of gravity defying banks and loops, broken up with ridiculous jumps and a hundred different ways to hurtle to your death. The latest TrackMania 2: Canyon trailer shows that the sequel will be staying true to the bendy madness of the original.
These new screens prove it's going to look outstanding. Get a closer look below.
The sun-bleached canyons, the cars polished to within an inch of their MOTS, the cunning use of the word "Turbo" 47 seconds in. As pointed out by RPS, there's plenty of reasons to get excited for Trackmania 2, even though there's no confirmed release date as yet.
For more on Trackmania 2, read our full preview in issue 227 of PC Gamer UK, on sale May 11.
The first Trackmania was a free-to-play blast of fresh air in the racing genre. Beneath the straightforward visuals and insane, topsy turvy tracks it was a surprisingly competitive game. Global and local leaderboards provided plenty of reason to keep re-running the tracks, and a the approachable level editor spawned some utterly bonkers creations. Judging from the teaser trailer above, the realistic new look hasn't compromised the avant garde course design. There's no release date yet, but the official Trackmania 2 site says it's coming "very soon!" You'll find the first screen of TrackMania 2 below.