Accolade who is now owned by French publisher Infogrames was the original creator of the Test Drive series and the Test Drive: Off Road series. TD entered the 32-Bit era exclusively for the Playstation with Test Drive 4, who many believe to be the best TD game to date. TD5 was more of the same but had a ton of new features, but Test Drive 6 was hampered by grainy looking visuals, while still holding on to some amusing gameplay. Just recently Angel Studios and Infogrames revealed the newest off road game in the Test Drive: Off Road series which will be titled Test Drive: Wide Open. Shortly following the teaming of Angel Studios, (who I should point out has some great experience with racing games, seeing as how they created Midnight Club: Street Racing and Smuggler's Run) Infogrames lets loose some info on their newest Test Drive racing game, which has not yet received a title. Here I am bringing you the first scoop on this new Test Drive game, so enjoy.
No public screenshots have been released of the game, and the only thing that has been shown was a minute and thirty second video of a Dodge Viper cruising along the streets of San Francisco, with a few cross traffic cars, and police cars shown. The new TD game looks like it uses the same car models that were used previously but with a much higher polygon count, 7000 per vehicle to be exact. I would roughly state New Test Drive being about 10-25% complete, since what we saw looked at an extremely early and in alpha stages. The new TD will also use most of the PS2's raw power features such as Z- independent mip-mapping, full screen anti-aliasing, real-time lighting effects, marvelous texture mapping, seamless level of detail mapping (I think that means no pop-up), and so much more that we can't write it all in a sitting. It really looks as if Test Drive could be the biggest challenge that Gran Turismo 3 has, no all is left to see is a new Need for Speed game for the PS2.
While I really can't comment on the gameplay, I'm pretty sure that cop chases will be back, and the ability to drive through different city blocks is something that we may see, think Driver and you'll know what I mean. I'm pretty confident that cars such as the Cobra, Viper, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and many other cars that have appeared in TD games before, may very likely come back to this new outing of the franchise for the PS2. The tracks I presume that will appear will be from countries, states or cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Japan, Hawai, San Francisco, Florida, and Germany, but that's just what I think so don't take my word on it. The cop chases and the AI should be drastically improved over the faulty ones found in Test Drive 5 and 6, so you'd better expect a brand new challenge. This is pretty much all I can tell you folks about gameplay, as for my final guess, I predict the seventh Test Drive game to be released around September or October of 2001, and I feel very safe with that assumption. As soon as Infogrames releases public screenshots of the game in further development, we will have them, I think that E3 would be the day when the company rolls out the big guns.