NASCAR fans now have something to look forward to besides the upcoming season over the winter. Activision has announced that come February, fans will have the chance to experience one of the most popular sports in the world within the comfort of their own home when NASCAR The Game 2011 hits store shelves everywhere. With millions of fans, there's no doubt that this will come as fantastic news to many of you reading this. And it's about time, since the property has never received much attention in the gaming world.
Activision has teamed with developer Eutechnyx to create a NASCAR title that lives up to the standard set by recent racing titles. In their press release, Activision made it clear that they're not just trying to cash in on the success of the sport, but deliver an experience to their audience that will match the level of excitement and perfection that the sport embodies. So where better to start than with the people they're trying to please, the fans:
"NASCAR The Game 2011 has been built from the ground up to make a thoroughly new experience. The team started by speaking with the people who know NASCAR best - the fans - and took that insight to the teams, drivers and officials to completely embrace what makes NASCAR America's #1 motorsport."
The game boasts some promising features, allowing players to choose to play as themselves or as a real driver as they make their way through their career. The most exciting feature (aside from the realistically out of control wrecks) is the 'Spotter Feedback'. For those unfamiliar with motorsport, NASCAR drivers have a team member speaking to them throughout the entirety of the race, providing advice, and keeping drivers updated with events around the track. In NASCAR The Game the spotter will inform you of drivers in the race who will work with you, against you, drivers attempting to pass, and what actions you should take to defend your position.
There's no question that this concept can work, as we've seen with Madden 11. With the advice being crafted by a multitude of game stats in real time, it could offer a level of immersion that we haven't seen from a NASCAR title.
Many fans will likely share the sentiment of it being "about time" that a NASCAR title got this level of focus and attention, and Activision knows exactly what you mean. Activision's David Oxford summed it up in a few words:
"The NASCAR videogame fanbase has been underserved[sic] for a long time and we're bringing them something very special"
Ed Martin, Executive Vice President at Eutechnyx followed up on the ways that they've managed to avoid mistakes made in the past this time around:
"It was crucial to take a fresh look at what makes the sport so popular. We're working very closely with NASCAR, the drivers, the teams, the tracks and the sponsors to get all the minute details right, and give this game the polish and push the fans deserve."
We already know that Gran Turismo 5 will feature a NASCAR game mode, so Activision and Eutechnyx are in for a fight. With that game planned for a November release, Activision may run the risk of being late to the party, especially with how good GT5 is looking lately. But the spotter feature alone has my curiosity piqued. I loved the 'Gameflow' feature in Madden, and really think the adviser in my ear may just be what's kept me from having any real interest in a NASCAR game so far. But I'll wait before I get to far into the race.