Thursday, September 30, 2010

NASCAR: The Game CONFIRMED! Bad Daytona Days

Remember how I talked a week ago about Activision picking up the NASCAR license for a supposed "new" racing game?  Well, that's not entirely true, but it's pretty much as clear as day now.

Check out this excerpt:

Then just last week the rumor mill heated up once again about a possible deal between NASCAR and Activision. From what everyone was saying, the deal was already signed and NASCAR and Activision were ready to drop the big news any day. But as it turns out the rumors were only half true.

In reality, NASCAR has signed on to an exclusive new multi-year, multi-game deal, but they chose video game developer Eutechnyx -- creators of "Big Mutha Truckers" and "Ferrari Challenge" -- to sign the deal with, not a publisher like EA or Activision.  Activision is involved, but they are acting as the distributor for Eutechnyx's game, entitled "NASCAR The Game 2011."

This is a key distinction, enabling NASCAR to be more hands-on with the game's development thanks to partnering with a company that specializes in creating racing games, rather than signing blindly with Activision for the sole sake of dollar signs and letting the publisher decide who develops the franchise.

So basically, NASCAR License = gone for several years.  No chance of a "Daytona USA" comeback.  At least Activision isn't gobbling it up, that was just a rumor.  Apparently Eutechnyx can handle this all by itself.

JUST TO CLEAR SOMETHING UP: Having the NASCAR license and the Daytona license are two different things.  It's just inferred now that if Eutechnyx has the NASCAR license then they'll have the Daytona International Speedway license too which means presuming the DIS license is exclusive, then Sega can't use the Daytona name.  So NASCAR leads to DIS leads to Daytona get what I mean by NASCAR license.

SOMETHING ELSE: Even if the Daytona license isn't exclusive (and I hear it isn't from others), then it would probably be too expensive for Sega to either way, Sega's in a pickle.

But the strange thing is that there's already gonna be a NASCAR game in the form of GRAN TURISMO 5...the question is will GT5's NASCAR be superior to NASCAR THE ("Official") GAME??  So why are they making the same game TWICE?  EDIT: Cause GT5 only has 12 cars on the track at once, that's why.

Further instincts might say you know what, this company apparently has the guts to try something "new" with NASCAR considering their wonderful lineup of past racing games since they can't "out-sim" GT5, but it's looking pretty bleak if you read later in the interview.  This is Ed Martin, Executive VP of Eutechnyx in the US of A:

...There are tens of millions of NASCAR fans and plenty of them have video game systems. So how come NASCAR video games haven't penetrated that market as far as an NHL game or a baseball game? We really believe that's because the games haven't been approachable.

There have been times where there were "over-the-top" games like "NASCAR Rumble" and even "NASCAR Kart," but there is a real disconnect there because those games don't represent the real sport. You can't go off too far off the path. At the same time, you can't get too sim-y. We want you to jump right in and have fun. The thing about Eutechnyx, this is our 24th year, and we've done nothing but racing games for 24 years. This is a company with a rich history of creating great driving games. If you turn off all the assists in our NASCAR game, this is a very real -- as close as you can come to a simulation on a console -- but at the same time, with the assists turned on, this is a very fun, approachable game for the common NASCAR fan.

Of course though, when it comes to NASCAR and Daytona USA 1/2, they aren't even close (obviously in terms of physics/driving), but also because Daytona USA never outright references NASCAR or uses actual cars, tracks, etc.  Therefore, Daytona USA fans are never really NASCAR fans or vice versa so basically Daytona USA = a piece of meat to these people as far as I'm concerned.  Also, Daytona USA is made in Japan and as we all know, the Japanese will butcher anything American and we can't have that.

I think though that Daytona USA 1/2 would have great "approachability" to the general public.  Fun and unique, it had great audio, sense of speed, intensity, etc.  If not, then what OTHER stock car games could you make that people would buy?  The old NASCAR sims were unimpressive or unpopular, EA was just phoning it in apparently, "NASCAR is boring lololol," and these weirdo Mario-Kart-like games didn't stick either.  Really, riddle me this--what do actual NASCAR fans think of NASCAR '09 or all these sims?  Weren't they already satisfied or is this gonna be the "glorious return to NASCAR" that everyone will love?   I don't know, I don't see NASCAR games being pushed any further outside of anomalies like Daytona USA.

So the guy's gonna return to the sim genre but make it a little more fun...doesn't sound new.  Just trying to drum up a bit of support against GT5.  My main concern is this--how will this game be that much different than, say, NASCAR by EA or NASCAR Thunder for the PC?  Or is there all this hype because there wasn't a NASCAR game in more than one year?

Apparently, everyone's new mission statement is "Don't do what Sega has done," and just make a NASCAR game devoid of any Daytona USA aspects which I guess is what's going to happen.  But really, if you want my advice...TAKE THIS PAGE FROM SEGA'S PLAYBOOK...make the game intense.  Add great audio, music, control, sense of speed, you don't even have to put drifting/powersliding in it, just channel out all the ADHD-filth from Burnout/Split-Second and make it a PURE RACING GAME!

But it doesn't really bother me that much what these guys do.  Obviously, they're gonna go for more NASCAR authenticity than GT5.  If they did try to go the Daytona USA route just a little, they would probably muck it up and I wouldn't like it.  Do whatever you want, doesn't bother me.  I'm rambling incoherently now.  I just want to get all my ideas out there now so I'm gonna stop.

In the meantime, expect the NASCAR The Game website clock to countdown in the future (Oct. 4) and we can learn more about it then (as if there were any other surprises...I'm not holding my breath).

UPDATE: According to the site above, NASCAR 2011 will be a pure racing sim.  No surprise there.

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