For those of you who can’t get enough of simulation racers, but found that Gran Turismo 5 didn’t pack the amount of punch that you’ve come to expect,¬†EA and the folks over at Slightly Mad Studios have some good news for you. Shift 2 Unleashed looks to bring some high-intensity and pulse-pounded action into the genre of simulation, and aren’t backing down from the competition. The game has finally gotten a release date for this spring, and with it, a brand new trailer showing off actual gameplay.

The challenge of putting a player into another character’s shoes is compounded in genres where the player is given a chance to experience something that is familiar to them, and nowhere is this truer than in racing games. Most people know what a car feels like, so the responsibility falls to the developer to offer something new or interesting that is otherwise unattainable.

So how do you take an everyday driver and show them what it’s like to race professionally? EA Senior VP Patrick Soderlund has stated that¬†GT5 sterilized the racing experience to pursue a technical level of perfection, while Shift 2 Unleashed will aim to accurately depict the insanity of going to to-to-toe with fellow racers at high speeds.

The newest trailer gives a glimpse of the game in action, and shows what kind of look and feel Slightly Mad Studios believes is sorely missing from today’s racing:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLj_uhFFQ-M

The trailer starts in the same place as the game’s announcement trailer, but quickly shows that Shift 2 is packing some serious visuals. What immediately stands out is where the developers are placing the processing power for their gameplay, using tunnel-vision to keep it from standing out. By placing the focus on the cars ahead, the interior of the player’s own vehicle is dulled, making the action on the track appear even more realistic.

This definitely backs up the comments made by the project’s lead designer Andy Tudor, who said that the feel of authentic racing is what the team was trying to recreate, not the collecting of different classes of cars. Putting processing power and time into making the interior of a car look photo-realistic is a nice touch, but it seems more authentic for a racing driver’s eyes to be focused on the road ahead. If the decision also results in more satisfying visuals, then everybody wins.

The trailer will come as a relief to those fans of the original Shift who were waiting to pre-order the game, fearing that the motion blur and intensity would be given up in pursuit of refinement. Since the developers decided to showcase these specific mechanics in the first gameplay trailer, we can rest assured that they’re here to stay.

We now know that racing fans of simulation and insanity alike will have to mark their calendars, as Shift 2 Unleashed hits retail stands for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on March 29, 2011.

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