'The Year of the Racer': E3 2009 Report - Team VVV

Features ‘The Year of the Racer’: E3 2009 Report

Features

Alan Boiston

Founder & Website Editor

Posted on

The Electronic Entertainment Expo E2009 has drawn to a close, and now we can finally see the line-up of titles we’ll be playing well into 2010. This year really is the greatest selection of racing titles ever witnessed and it’s good to see the genre getting the support it deserves after a few years where it felt somewhat under developed and left in the cold.

Developers were openly running out of ideas, discussing the option of entering ‘gimmicks’ into their products and, in a way, it appears that’s a route Codemasters and Bizzare Creations have actually taken.

However, as we’ve seen in DiRT 2, Codies have perhaps learned that if it ain’t broke, then there’s little point in breaking it. You’ll only have to repair the damage later and that’s what DiRT 2 appears to represent. But more on that later.

Need For Speed Shift

First up is the ever improving Need For Speed Shift, and it’s clear that this title will have its work cut out in convincing simulation fans of its serious credentials. There is, though, no doubt it has the package to make it happen, and there are a lot of racing fans current dismissing this title who will hopefully realise at some point just how good this game really is.

You can see my hands-on impressions, but if there’s one area that really impresses, it’s the feeling of immersion in the in-car/cock-pit view – it really does provide an experience quite unlike any other racing title and features some genuinely unique attributes.

To date, we have still only seen a small selection of the game’s cars and tracks in action while the online modes are being kept under wraps. However, we will be gaining many more opportunities to test the tile before its release. including a huge interview with the Lead Designer of Shift, Suzy Wallace. Need For Speed Shift will be released in September.

NFSS Videos:
Need For Speed Shift Gamespot Interview
Bonnet Cam – London Circuit
Developer Interview Gametrailers HD

Forza Motorsport 3

 
Undoubtedly the biggest announcement of the show, Forza Motorsport 3 is probably one of the worst kept secrets ever when it comes to E3 presentations. However, Microsoft did manage to keep a tight hold on the assets, with no footage or screen shots making it out before the eventual press release.

Whilst we’re all waiting for more info tid bits to arrive, be sure to check out our Forza 3 gallery that will gather everything we can find on this huge title.

FM3 Videos

Dan Greenawalt Improvements interview
Dan and Che discuss Forza 3 with Gamespot

Below are some comparison shots (FM2 on the left, FM3 on the right), just to give an idea on the improvements and progress made since Forza 2.

  
 
Colin McRae DiRT 2

 

Apart from an early developer interview, Colin McRae DIRT 2 has remained a largely unknown quantity this year. Nobody doubts Codemasters’s graphical skills, but the dumbed down handling of DIRT certainly put off a few of the old crowd, and though it did introduce new modes and fans, it was more like a case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

Reports are that the handling has been completely revised, with the relevant surfaces having far greater impact on your vehicle’s performance, damage modeling is second to none and weigh distribution is now far more convincing. VVV Gamer will be visiting Codemasters later in the year, when we’ll be given a full hands-on of a title that could be the surprise racing hit of the final quarter this year.

Standard rally section Off-Screen
Replay mode Off-Screen

Split Second

 

Another game that has had little coverage is Disney’s ‘Split/Second: Velocity’. The early pre-rendered trailers look great, all featuring intense and crazy action. In fact, it lead many to believe that the final product wouldn’t live up to expectations; that it’d be all show and no go.

Though there are some titles which missed the mix, with some key ones being Gran Turismo 5, Blur and System 3’s Supercar challenge, which is down to the facct that all of them were shown in video form only. That said, looking at the release schedule, it’s probably better if they all hang back and use the time to improve their products, though Super is still down for a June release so we’ll see what happens.

Overall, the showing has been not only beyond expectations in quantity, but all have raised the benchmark and have taken the genre forward in their respective categories. I’ll be updating this report with more information over the coming days as I find more information.

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