After a healthy lifespan since its debut on the PC all the way back in March 2007, it looks like Test Drive: Unlimited's days – in our opinion, one of the most influential and radical yet underrated arcade racing games from the last decade – as an MMO racer on the PC are numbered, as Atari and Eden Games have announced the online servers will be shut down permanently on September 29th.
Despite an apparent ardent following – perhaps kept alive for longer by the mixed reception its sequel recieved upon launch last year – Atari sees it fit to shut down the online aspect of the game, so all post-September 2012 players who boot up TDU will find the gaming experience to be a solitary and far more 'lonely' experience than it was when online real-world players were populating the virtual road network.
At least it had a decent running – after all, not many games are kept alive for this long, especially when a sequel was released during the time it was up and running, and the whole open-world racer genre was popularised by this rather revolutionary game.
It's not surprising, though, when well-known titles such as Burnout: Paradise, Driver: San Fransisco, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Forza Horizon are all following in the footsteps of the crew at the now defunct Eden Games, who pioneered this sub-genre that other developers are slowly starting to try out for themselves.
Alas, the MMO side Test Drive Unlimited will soon be no more, so if any of you reading this are ardent TDU fans, you won't need us to tell you that you better make the most of the online aspect whilst the servers are still up!
What are your opinions on Atari's decision to close the TDU PC servers? Feel free to vent away in the comments section or in our Forums!