One thing was apparent at E3
this year: several upcoming Xbox exclusive titles are looking to threaten the PS2s
"killer aps." Currently in development at Infogrames is a racing sim,
tentatively titled RE, which is sure to capture the attention of Gran Turismo 3 fans
everywhere. Though this game was not available on the show floor, Gamesfirst! scored a
meeting with RE producer Sebastien Chaudat of Infogrames Europe to give you the skinny.
premise behind RE (this title will definitely change before release) is one of the more
intriguing concepts I have seen in a racing sim. Rather than racing in order to purchase
and upgrade licensed vehicles, like every other game on the market, the objective in RE is
to create your own successful brand of new cars and prove them against the worlds
automotive leaders. The way it works is this: you begin the game with a relatively modest
garage. Your employees in this garage include a research and development team, automotive
technicians, a marketing strategist, and a sexy secretary. These people will provide you
with a prototype car, under your specifications, that you will use to win races and gain
acclaim in the industry. Once people become aware of your brand, the orders will start
rolling in, first by individual consumers looking for the next hot car, then by larger
parties with larger orders. At one point you may even be contacted to give a demonstration
to the police, who are considering using your car for their new wave of patrol vehicles.
Soon, if you play it right, you will have a full roster of clients, sponsors, and more
business than you can handle. Your prototype will blossom into a full line of cars, and to
that you will add new lines, and expand your garage. You will become the leader of the
However, the path to success cannot be traversed alone. Along with your keen
business sense and driving skills, you must keep in close contact with your team of
experts. Leading the R&D team is a wild-haired old techy (think Christopher Lloyd in Back
To The Future) who will give you updates and advice on available technology and the
progress of your line. The marketing strategist (a rather shrewish woman) will provide you
with racing and promotion opportunities and keep you abreast of your financial situation.
If you are not optimizing your business or development strategies, you can count on these
people to set you straight. As for the secretary, well, I suppose she is there to help
those in your virtual employ, though so far she seems to be mostly eye candy.
Throughout the game you are in direct competition with automotive giants from
around the world. Infogrames has licensed the real brands and cars of today for you to
race against. In some cases you will even get an exclusive look at future cars, such as
the Dodge Viper RT10, which will not be on the market until 2003. The prototype designs
for your dream cars were created by students at leading design schools around the world,
and let me tell you, the cars I saw were both unique and gorgeous.
The team behind RE decided not to license authentic race tracks, however.
Instead, they created each course themselves, optimizing every corner, hill, straightaway,
and pass. There are several variations in track style, with some taking place in cities,
in the mountains, on speedways, and in stadiums. There are over fifty courses in all. Each
has its own feel and the type of track you are on will greatly affect the handling of your
Essentially, the automobile and racing physics are adapted from those of GT3.
The cars do take visible damage, however, although it will not affect the performance of
the cars. Chaudat also promised that the AI will greatly differ from that of GT3. They are
very aware of the stilted way that the computer drivers perform in that
gameopponents in GT3 all basically follow the same optimum line in the road, and you
are just trying to beat that line. The developers of RE are promising to push the limits
and create opponents who make snap judgments based on the race at hand, and mistakes.
Even though the game was in the early stages of development, it was looking
phenomenal. The cars are rendered with 10,000 polygons. The drivers inside the cars are
fully articulated. The backgrounds are breathtaking, with huge mountains, trees with
individually rendered trunks and branches (GT3 gave us a lot of "tree textures"
rather than individual trees), even moving billboards in the cities. At the time of the
meeting there was a lot of pop-up and draw-in, and things were a bit unfinished, but that
will no doubt be gone when the game is finished.
When all is said and done, there will be over thirty hours of gameplay in the sim
portion of the game. There are arcade and multiplayer games added for replay value, and
all 50+ tracks, as well as all of the cars (both prototype and real models) will be
available to play.
We will let you know what the release title is going to be as soon its chosen. RE
is due out in late 2002/early 2003, exclusively for the Xbox. Gentlemen, start your