Manchester, NH When Ken LaChance, project leader at BoredGames
Entertainment, looked at the burgeoning Xbox game market, he saw
opportunity. Some games, such as console classics Munchs Oddysee
and Hunter: The Reckoning were based on elaborate fantasy world filled
with monsters and whimsical creatures. Others, such as bestsellers
Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance sought to place gamers
in movie-like roles. Throw in the dozens of sports and racing games
and what LaChance noticed was that there were no long-distance driving
simulators. He sprang into action, and eight months later his team
delivered Interstate Driver.
Our goal with I.D. was to create a true cross-country driving
simulation that took full advantage of the Xboxs raw graphics
power and unfolded in real time, said LaChance. Weve
tried to make it as immersive and realistic as possible, because
todays gamer demands nothing less.
stretches of highway filled
with big rigs add absolutely no
excitement to the game
The goal of ID varies according to which player you choose to be.
Theres Ernie, an upper-middle-class salesman, whose goal is
to drive his family of four from Dearborn, Michigan to see his mother
in Salt Lake City (23 hours). Marsha is a thrice-divorced victim
of domestic abuse trying to get from Tucson to St. Petersburg to
attend the funeral of a recently-deceased uncle (19 hours). For the
younger crowd, Chris is a college washout whose goal is to get his
laundry and personal effects from the University of Colorado-Boulder
back home to his mother in New Orleans (11 hours).
Once a character is chosen, players plan a route on the interstate
system. Consideration must be given to budget (gas & snack money),
weather, road closures and the availability of reasonably-priced
hotels. Xbox Live members have an advantage because they can
access real-time weather and road updates from our virtual weather
and DOT servers. Otherwise, its kind of a crapshoot, says
When the player is on the road, the game kicks into high gear. Players
must closely monitor the gas gauge while trying to stay awake, a
challenge when driving from Des Moines to Denver on I-80. When gas
runs low, you must take one of the games many exits, but LaChance
says be careful.Some exits lead to clean, modern gas stations
where you can fuel up and be afforded a good selection of quality
snacks, but others seem to lead nowhere, he says. Some
exits lead to unlockable items, though, like hotel discount coupons
and books on tape, so you have to take a few chances.
The games Hotel Mode allows the player to choose
a room on a particular floor, select a smoking preference, watch
TV, and ultimately, sleep. This is no time to get complacent, La
Chance says with a wink, because you never know when some kid
will pull the fire alarm and you have to go stand outside in your
If the character reaches his/her goal within the allotted time,
the games countless hours of driving and the different variables
amount to great replay value. Completing a characters
journey unlocks other characters and goals, but you can always go
back and be the same character and choose a different route.
Interstate Driver hits shelves this July.
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