Last month, you got a very first look at the gameplay for Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown. The TDU Connect event generated a lot of excitement on all social media platforms. We want to thank you again for all the feedback and suggestions you sent following this fantastic event! As you can imagine, to finally start gathering your feedback on specific aspects of the game is an important step for us. The first playtest we set up in the weeks after TDU Connect was also a new milestone for us. Over 1,000 players had the chance to play the game and give their feedback. Let's take a look at these two events, some of your questions, and some early points to keep in mind.
One week before the event, some of you may have a spotted a previously unidentified figure. This was Vivian Hughes, organizer of the Solar Crown competition. Through various posts and clues, many of you suspected something exciting was being prepared for Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown. The big question was: would any gameplay be shown?
And via a unique presentation format, the gameplay reveal came in the form of a live co-op session. Three members of the development team were joined by BlackPanthaa, Alex VII, and Alan Boiston (Team VVV), three content creators specializing in online racing games. Together, they got a very first taste of the game on your behalf, while we streamed pure and immersive gameplay from a development version of the game. The format may have been a surprise, but we felt it was crucial to include some well-known members of the community to show content that has been eagerly anticipated for several years.
THE SOCIAL ASPECT
The format highlighted the social aspect of TDUSC, which is an essential and traditional component of the franchise and one of its key innovations. Players race against each other as a member of the Sharps or Streets, two clans whose very different lifestyles affect the in-game experience. However, the TDUSC DNA is not just limited to competitive racing. It's a lifestyle centred on luxury and a passion for cars that you share with others, so you can buy a car from a dealer together or customize your cars at a Workshop as a group, for example.
At TDU Connect, to address a larger audience than just long-standing fans of the franchise, we wanted to show a gaming session that represents the experience that many of you will have when first playing the game: lots of fun, players challenging each other, and exploring a vast world with a wide range of possibilities. But don't worry: cruising around is still an important aspect of TDU for us, and we're confident that exploring the island at a more relaxed pace will also be lots of fun for all the purists out there! TDUSC remains faithful to this vision by retaining what players have always loved about the franchise: chill driving, alone or with others, enjoying landscapes at cruising speed, and using all the various options inside your car.
Note from Alain Jarniou – Creative Director
“Car handling and behaviour is key to the TDU experience. Along with our guests, you saw and shared in an early development version during the gameplay reveal. We received excellent feedback from our guests on some crucial aspects, such as the cars' behaviour on asphalt and gravel, the feeling of speed, and the pronounced differences between each vehicle. But this is just a first step towards reaching our goal of implementing the perfect physics for a TDU game.
Thanks to our professional content creators' comments, and those from players of our first playtest, we are refining and cementing our design decisions so that the driving is as enjoyable and realistic as possible.
We want each car to have its own identity, to have authentic behaviour on roads, tracks and off-road, in all the weather conditions available in the game.
We feel it's important that players can have an ideal experience with a controller and all the assists enabled as well as with a wheel, without assists, for a more sim-like experience.
There's a lot of work to achieve that, but thanks to the experience gained developing other games, such as the WRC series, and the many occasions we have had to collect player feedback, we are confident we can create the best driving experience of all games in the TDU series.”
GRAPHICS QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE
You got a first glimpse of the game's graphics during the presentation. The teams are working hard on the overall visual quality to offer the best graphics possible, especially for the environments and vehicles. Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown aims to faithfully recreate Hong Kong Island and the exclusive cars that everyone dreams of driving. This TDU Connect was a chance for us to share with you an unadulterated look at the game experience in its current form, which is a development version (alpha). We are still working on optimization of the network and performance aspects and will continue to do so in the coming months before release.
To accompany TDU Connect, we soon opened up access to the game so more of you could get your own feel for the gameplay. Because of this, some of you had the chance to try TDUSC in our very first closed playtest. The primary goal of this session was to test the stability of the game and servers, while also offering a chance to collect feedback and suggestions from the first players to try the game. It wasn't a huge surprise, but the number of registrations we received to take part in this first session once again confirmed that TDU holds a special place in many players' hearts, even 12 years after the release of the first game! More proof of your enthusiasm was shown by the impressive participation numbers and certain statistics: more than 2,800 cumulative hours of play and 55,000 kilometres (34,000 miles) driven. One member racked up over 1,000 kilometres (620 miles), while another became the first Solar King after more than 50 races completed. In total, there were over 15,000 races started, 2,500 wrecks discovered, and 8,500 speed traps triggered. Playtest 1 helped us test certain features on a much larger scale, and your feedback has already given us lots of great information! We want to thank the participants once again for spending their valuable time helping us.
We also appreciated the community's huge enthusiasm, and even though many of you didn't have the chance to try the game, rest assured there will be other sessions planned!
As you know, we started sharing more information a few months ago as development gradually moved closer to our beta phase. We still haven't shared all details about the game's content, story, and activities you can do as part of the Sharp and Street clan rivalry so that you will have more to discover in the coming months. More news is coming in the next few days with new gameplay images and reports from the first gaming journalists to have played the game at Gamescom last week.
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See you next month !