When PlayStation Vita launches on February 22nd (the First Edition Bundle will be available a week earlier), two of Sony's most visible racing franchises will have new installments right there at the starting line. ModNation Racers: Road Trip brings the series' unique blend of kart racing and track creation to mobile gamers, while WipEout 2048 adds touch and tilt controls to anti-gravity racing.
Both games look graphically stunning on Vita's OLED display, but while ModNation Racers: Road Trip ships with double the tracks of WipEout 2048, it comes up notably short in another department: online multiplayer.
In an online chat with fans, ModNation Racers: Road Trip producer Vernon Mollette II fielded questions about everything from the game's compatibility with tracks created in PS3's ModNation Racers (all PS3 creations will work on day one!) to the duration of its load times (which he promises are "improved").
Asked directly whether Road Trip will support infrastructure (as opposed to Ad-Hoc) online multiplayer, Mollette delivered the bad news.
"Hey Zyketor, we are supporting Ad-Hoc however not infrasructure as in Head to Head. With all of the other online features though, Ghost Laps, Regional Leaderboards with times beat notifcations, etc. We went with more of an Asynchronous online feature set that is really robust! We'll share more about all of these online features as we get closer to launch!"
Along with track sharing, online multiplayer is one of the best parts of ModNation Racers on PlayStation 3. Even the game's PSP incarnation managed to incorporate six player infrastructure online play (as noted by Zyketor when he questioned Mollette). So why isn't it supported in Road Trip?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but as a first-party title for a brand new piece of hardware, ModNation Racers: Road Trip absolutely needs proper online play. If Sony expects players to pony up $50 extra for the 3G enabled Vita, and buy a data plan on top of that, then it must robustly support online play. First-party titles are the obvious opportunity to do so. For the record, WipEout 2048 not only supports eight players online, but those players can be split between Vita and PlayStation 3.
Ranters, are you disappointed that ModNation Racers: Road Trip only supports Ad-Hoc multiplayer?
ModNation Racers: Road Trip releases alongside the PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle on February 15, 2012.
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