quinta-feira, 21 de agosto de 2014

FUEL: a thought [PC • XBOX360 • PS3] - It's a Pixel THING

FUEL, as you might know, features a gigantic open world environment set in a post-apocalyptic Earth, ravaged by extreme weather.

Fuel has become more valuable than gold, though your focus will be on finishing the races to get more of that precious liquid, something we’ve seen on the cult movie Mad Max.

Published by Codemasters in 2009, this game received average reviews and its massive fifty five hundred square miles of land was certified by the Guiness Book of Records as, and I quote: “the largest playable area in a console game”. 

To this day, FUEL sold about 670.000 units worldwide.

There’s 75 vehicles to unlock, 70 races and 190 challenges. In some of these challenges you’ll not only be facing your opponents but, as well, huge tornadoes and massive sandstorms.

All these features were kind of unique on a video game, but this wasn’t the original idea. As you might know, France is home of world’s greatest offroad event: the Dakar. In consequence, France is also a country that built fantastic drivers.

French people are passionate for offroad events and, as a kind of homage to this fact, Asobo Studio announced, in 2005, Grand Raid Offroad. This was the original title of this massive open world offroad racing game and, as a huge offroad racing fan, I was blown away by the first trailer and pictures that came out on the internet.

Back in September of 2005, I interviewed, for my blog, Sebastian Wloch, CEO of Asobo, in an attempt to know more details about Grand Raid Offroad. The game would feature typical 4x4 offroad vehicles, motorbikes and trucks, just like in the real Dakar race, and the number of tracks to be unlocked would be, as Sebastian mentioned, “insane”. It would include online features such as: trading car parts, creating race teams, sharing car improvements, parts research, etc..
As for the length of the tracks, I was told that races would range from 3 minutes up to several hours with no pausing. But all this depended on the publishing deal that they were looking for.

So, there came Codemasters knocking on Asobo’s door, probably afraid of the competition. In order to get a publishing deal, Asobo Studio complied to Codemasters demands and performed all the graphical and gameplay changes asked. The game no longer featured vehicles based in real models, like the Volkswagen Touareg, and no longer presented a threat to future offroad rally games that Codemasters were planning to release for the next generation consoles, like the beginning of a brand new series of Colin McRae games: DiRT (in 2007) and DiRT 2 (in 2009).

FUEL was born and placed right in the middle between offroad games and open world racing. June of 2009 was the release date, 90 days before the highly anticipated worldwide launch of DiRT2.

A few elements, though, remained intact: the free roaming mode that allows us to drive anywhere in the game world without incurring loading times.. except if you crash or reset your vehicle; and the exploration mode where you’ll discover new challenges as you go.

Now, tell me, do you prefer FUEL as it is? Or would it be much more fun if the original idea prevailed? Just let me know what you think! You’re free to comment below!

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