It’s been over nine years since the last instalment in the franchise, but at last, Test Drive Unlimited 3 has been announced. It’ll be called Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown, and it’ll be developed by Kylotonn, also known as KT Racing. All aboard the hype train!
The announcement video doesn’t show any gameplay, merely some glossy (and very tight) shots of cars. And, erm, a cufflink, which displays the game’s logo. A closer look at all the boring copyright garb under the Solar Crown logo gives a decent idea of what you’ll be able to drive, however, with the following brands and models mentioned: Bugatti, Dodge, Ferrari, Koenigsegg (plus Regera and Agera), Lamborghini, Porsche (plus 911, Carrera, Cayenne and 918 Spyder). We can also see a development shot of an Apollo IE later on.
As explained by KT Racing creative director Alain Jarniou, the new TDU takes its name from a competition featured in the title’s two predecessors. “We wanted to reuse this name and the championship’s concept, which is not a closed championship where the player is restricted to doing certain things,” he said.
Further riffing off the previous two games, TDU 3’s map will be a 1:1 recreation of a real-life island. Famously, the first Test Drive Unlimited recreated the Hawaiian island of O’ahu and the vast majority of its roads, giving a circa-1000-mile network to explore. TDU 2 went a step further with nearly 1900 miles of roads on its map, which was based around Ibiza.
Impressive considering how long ago these games were, but TDU had its issues, while TDU 2 was notoriously buggy. The new game should hopefully replicate the experience of its ancestors without the glitches, and hopefully, bring with it more realistic handling - KT will be calling upon its experience developing the last four WRC games for Solar Crown’s physics engine.
Nothing else has been revealed at this stage, and KT isn’t yet giving a release date, “because we want to spend time perfecting the game,” Jarniou explains.
While Test Drive Unlimited and its sequel didn’t have any direct rivals in their day, Solar Crown will be entering a much more crowded marketplace. It’ll be up against newly established franchises like The Crew and Forza Horizon, as well as Need For Speed, which has shifted to a more sandbox-style of gameplay.
There are elements of those first two TDU games with have yet to be bettered by these younger rivals, however, so our hopes are high.
What are your thoughts on the return of Test Drive Unlimited?