California Dreaming: American Truck Simulator

Christmas is, of course, the time when Santa Claus comes to visit every lucky boy and girl. He does that in the form of a rosy-cheeked image, plastered across the side of a Coca Cola truck. Nothing says “goodwill to all” quite like an appropriated corporate mascot slapped on the flank of a vehicle delivering syrupy slugs of overpriced brown fizz to the masses.

There’s one truck that almost certainly won’t be driving home for Christmas though. American Truck Simulator [official site]. And that makes this the worst festive season since the time a ghost told me that nobody liked me and that an undertaker would steal the pants from my corpse.

This isn’t news as such. American Truck Simulator doesn’t have a release date so it hasn’t been delayed. But I’ve been looking forward to it for so long now and I’d convinced myself it’d be the game that accompanied me through the cold of the Christmas break.

There’s plenty of trucking news to catch up on though. The most significant slice of information is a stealth renaming. The latest news post from the devs refers to it as American Truck Simulator: California. We always knew that the initial release wouldn’t contain every state and I’m glad that’s not the case – there’d be no way to craft them to the scale or level of detail I’m hoping for if the whole lot, with all their beautiful variety, were going to be mashed together in a single release. I knew California was likely, given that we’ve seen screenshots of landmarks thereabouts, but it seems that the decision has been made to release a base game encompassing The Golden State. That’s a lot of land.

SCS have been explaining the process:

“We are adding community features and infrastructure to support implementation of a grand trucking universe with Virtual Trucking Companies and eventually with rich multiplayer. We would also like to introduce more vehicles into our world than just plain semi-trucks, so work has started on adding alternate gameplay and driving experiences into our simulation system. At the same time, we know that we need to keep pushing our graphics technology, there are still many things in our game engine to improve and optimize, and balancing such changes while trying not to break the game mods too badly is not easy at all.

“Pursuing all these goals at the same time has been quite a ride. We have more than tripled our head count at SCS Software to over 50 people currently since the days of release of ETS2. While the content teams working on the projects are separate, they share the programming team, and we are still learning tough lessons when it comes to improving our testing and release pipeline.”

Alternate gameplay and driving experiences probably won’t include taxis, as I so desperately crave, given that the Truck Simulator games are more concerned with the spaces in between cities than in the cities themselves. Greyhound Bus driver seems like a possibility though, right? They’re not saying anymore on that front just yet.

“Sometimes it feels like for every step forward we need to take two back, but we are stubborn and dedicated, and we are confident that in the end we will deliver on all that we have started. In our quest, we feel that quality is the most important thing for you and us. That’s why, more often than not, we tend to adjust our plans and sacrifice release schedules in order to stay true to our mission and to build new pieces of the puzzle in a way that they will all fit well together.

“Very soon, you will see us take another step with World of Trucks. The first release in American Truck Simulator line is on the horizon, and the team working Euro Truck Simulator 2 has great things in development too for you for the next year. Please be patient with us and stay tuned!”

Hopefully we’ll be California Trippin’ early next year. Publishers Excalibur certainly seem to think so, but then they also reckon the Arizona DLC will be out “later on in 2015”. Even if the date is wrong, I’m fairly sure that means I’ll be driving to Phoenix sometime next year. Can’t wait.

20 Comments

  1. Solidstate89 says:

    I’m still convinced that that internet collective that is frothing at another Truck Simulator is merely part of some kind of trolling hive mind whose intention it is to get as many suckers into purchasing these games as humanly possible, to spread the joy of misery.

    That or you’re all insane. I can’t decide which.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      That or Frog Factions 2.

      But seriously, ETS 2 is one of my favourite games.

    • damaki says:

      ETS2 is not a game, it’s a zen experience. It more like a relaxing activity.
      I bought it because my kid is fascinated by trucks, and ended playing it 70+ hours, with him watching and enjoying, or sometimes alone.
      I have shown it to friends, who mocked it in the first place, then tried it, then were addicted to it and communicated their addiction to their siblings. This game is quite peculiar; so do not judge a book by its cover.

    • Pulstar says:

      I love your rational mind.

    • Synesthesia says:

      You won’t like OMSI, then. ETS is something other than a game, specially if you own a wheel. There’s something about being on the road without the stress of actually driving, that particular hypnosis.

    • Mctittles says:

      Being able to drink and drive across country legally while listening to your favorite toons. What’s not to like?

      Also, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it in VR.

    • Belsameth says:

      We are all insane. That has nothing to do with the fact that ETS2 is glorious and deserves to be played by everybody tho…

  2. jgf1123 says:

    So… the western states are miles and miles of straight highway?

    • Solidstate89 says:

      All the interstate highways in the U.S. are about as straight as can be quite honestly.

  3. Hedgeclipper says:

    That last screenshot is clearly missing stripper assassin nuns.

  4. Xenotone says:

    I really want a TV in the cab so I can watch YouTube vids while I drive in VR.

  5. JaminBob says:

    Also very disappointed about this taking so long.

    I’m not sure why the push for World of Trucks given its not true multiplayer anyway…

    But they need to watch the quality / quantity balance. The point of ETS2 was you could drive from UK to Poland. Yeah so it all looked a big like Poland, but it was cool.

    Too much realism and you end up with Train Simulator, I mean its fun, but ehh its too much.

  6. jonahcutter says:

    Hope they don’t accurately model LA traffic. Sit on the 405 to Long Beach for a while and you’ll be booking a flight back to Euro Truck Simulator.

  7. machineageproductions says:

    I’ve always looked at RPS mentions of Euro Truck Simulator and thought, “Hmm… maybe.”

    But if I can get a State Route 1 simulator? I will plunk down cash so fast. Particularly if it has an autopilot mode.

  8. main says:

    wait wait wait what? “…eventually with rich multiplayer…”
    Rly there is gonna be multiplayer in ATS?

    • Sternum says:

      I would be satisfied if the rich multiplayer was just CB radio chatter about smokies and lot lizards.

  9. Cederic says:

    I want this, but I’ll wait for the Utah expansion. California has some prettiness, Arizona has a big hole and Colorado is just beautiful, but Utah is where you want to drive. Scenic Route 12, then keep heading NE towards Colorado; the finest day’s driving I’m ever likely to enjoy.