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Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown delayed until early 2024

Closed beta coming next month

Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown is attempting to revive the open world racing series and features a 1:1 recreation of Hong Kong. It was first announced in 2020, with an initial September 2022 release date that slipped until 2023.

It's now been further delayed to "early 2024." The new release window was mentioned during a livestream which featured over 20 minutes of Solar Crown in action.

Skip to around 6m 11s for the start of the game footage.Watch on YouTube

Test Drive Unlimited is about exploring an open world, competing in races, and gradually unlocking fancier homes and fancier cars. The footage of an alpha version above focuses on its team-based multiplayer, with lots of messy racing and brief detours into on-foot social spaces. The latter all seem faintly nightmarish, either empty and caverous like an airport hangar or crammed with identical, dancing NPC models, and in 2023 all evoking the nouveau riche pretensions of a blockchain metaverse.

There are some framerate issues throughout, which I think is understandable for an alpha, and a fair trade-off for getting to see a lot of footage rather than a tightly edited trailer. After watching, I remain interested in Solar Crown mainly for its claimed 1:1 recreation of Hong Kong, which it's hard to get a sense of in the footage. The TDU games were better as relaxing driving experience than as racing games, and I'm still keen to just tool around in its world.

Solar Crown will enter closed beta next month, and you can sign up to participate at the official site.

Nacon are also the publishers of the critically derided Lord Of The Rings: Gollum and the owners of developers Daedalic, who recently announced they would no longer internally develop video games. They're also the publishers of the upcoming RoboCop: Rogue City.

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