It's the greatest gaming news of the year, and I promise you that I make this claim with zero irony whatsoever: the latest American Truck Simulator add-on comes out just seven days from now. It adds the state of New Mexico, which means the delights of Breaking Bad heartland Albuquerque, the tinfoil enthusiast-pleasing Roswell, colonial era-styled cities such as Santa Fe, monumental rock formations, scrappy farms, humongous oil derricks and what looks like a much-needed step up in the zen driving game's flora.
Most of all, I get the sense that this is the Truck Sim expansion where the penny has finally dropped and the devs are openly embracing the fact that people like I don't play these games for nerdy vehicular simulation, but because they are blissfully atmospheric, state-of-zen road trip experiences. New Mexico looks so much more beautiful and surprising than anything they've done to date. Next week! I'm so excited.
In terms of the penny dropping, just watch this trailer, and observe how little there is terms of highlighting specific trucks or cargo types or tricky intersections or anything like that. It is a celebration of great American scenery, with an American soundtrack that just about stays on the right size of cheese.
Here's the official list of new stuff in the New Mexico DLC, which launches November 9 and at a cost of $11.99/€11.99/£8.99 (yep, unlike the last couple of new states, this one ain't free, though from what I'm seeing here that's only fair), but I think reducing it to FACTS like this somewhat misses the point.
- Over 4 thousand miles of new in-game roads
- 14 major cities, including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Roswell
- 11 custom rest/truck stops for parking and refuelling
- 600+ completely new graphic 3D assets
- Complex and realistic custom-built junctions and Interstate interchanges
- 8 new company docks and industries
- Unique landmarks both natural and man-made
Good things, but they don't really speak to the experiential side of things as the trailer somewhat does. Those silhouetted oil pumps on the horizon! Vastly improved vegetation (part of those 600 new 3D assets, I guess)! And, intriguingly, what seem to be setpiece road events, such as the police pulling over speeding NPC motorists or drivers having to navigate around a crashed light aircraft. For all their postcard sights, the Truck Simulator games can be a touch sterile, their worlds not terribly alive, and, presuming the contents of this trailer are not overly-fabricated, it appears first steps are being made to change that.
Perhaps my dream of one day being able to make my driver climb out of their cab to have a roadside wee will one day realised after all.
Out on Nov 9, and here's the Steam store page if you go in for wishlisting or anything like that.