Bad news for fans of virtually racing absurdly expensive autos around the sun soaked streets of exotic tropical isles: Test Drive Unlimited 2 has pushed back from Fall, 2010 to the first quarter of 2011.

In a letter on the game’s official website, The Test Drive Unlimited 2 team from developer Eden Games offered an explanation for the delay:

“As we are sure you are aware, TDU2 is a highly ambitious game and also very big. Since locking down the final features, some months ago, we have been busy getting the bugs out of the game, polishing all of the features to make the game as fun as possible, and ensuring that we deliver a robust and reliable online service from the day we go live. We’re at the point now where we have a pretty solid game, which is fun and could be launched shortly. However, with a few extra months of polish it could be even better.”

Of course, there may well be an advantage to moving TDU2 out a holiday season already outfitted with a couple of highly anticipated racing games, namely Gran Turismo 5 (Nov. 2, maybe) and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (Nov. 16). After all, no one wants to see a repeat of the Split/SecondBlurModNation Racers pile-up from earlier this year.

But not everyone will have to wait all the way until next year to get their hands on some Test Drive Unlimited 2. The game’s developers made a point of mentioning that a new starting date for the TDU2 beta will be announced soon, and that beta testers will receive some sort of as-yet-unknown rewards. Gamers who have previously signed-up should probably keep an eye on their in-boxes.

For those who don’t remember, the first Test Drive Unlimited was a rather fascinating experiment that in some ways pre-figured the online experience in Burnout Paradise. Specifically, many of the cars that players would encounter while driving around virtual Hawaii were, in fact, other players who could be challenged to race at any time.

Unfortunately, for all its promise, Test Drive Unlimited did not play particularly well, nor did it have especially impressive graphics. Let’s hope that the additional development for TDU2 time gives Eden Games ample opportunity to deliver a truly stellar experience this time around.

Let’s hear it, Ranters: who is looking forward to Test Drive Unlimited 2. Did any of you play the first game?

Test Drive Unlimited 2 is currently scheduled for release sometime in the first quarter of 2011, for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

Source: Test Drive Unlimited 2

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