KT Racing has released the second monthly Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown newsletter on Steam.
While last month's newsletter focused on cars and dealerships, the latest update reveals some enticing new details about the Hong Kong Island map we'll be exploring.
While the location has been known for a long time since Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown was announced, the Steam newsletter gives new insight into how you’ll interact with the environment, how exploration is encouraged, and how the team has adapted the setting for the game.
A diverse open world
Hong Kong Island is accurately recreated with a 1:1 scale, allowing you to explore over 370 miles/370 miles of roads. That’s much smaller than TDU’s Oahu, which covered 600 square miles. But Hong Kong Island’s sheer diversity makes up for this.
From narrow town streets to wide open highways where you can maximise speed to winding off-road mountain trails, the setting provides an unrivalled variety of driving experiences.
“HKI has a wide variety of locations, and we wanted to reproduce as many of these environments as possible: from small inlets on the coast to mountain peaks to dense urban areas and swamps,” Lead Artist Stéphane Cambier explained.
TDUSC's map is full of recognisable landmarks including the Monster Building, Hopewell Centre, Convention Centre, and the iconic Lippo Centre skyscraper.
Recreating Hong Kong Island has been a considerable challenge for KT Racing. While the island is built to scale, some roads are wider than in real life to enhance the driving experience.
“To emphasise the fast and smooth driving, for example, the very dense urban network of HKI needed some small adjustments because of certain little streets that were very (too?) narrow,” creative director Alain Jarniou explained.
“Conversely, some light redesign was done to the major thoroughfares to make them more fun and adapted to very fast cars, while respecting the identity of Hong Kong Island.”
Dynamic weather and a time-of-the-day system transitioning between dawn, day, evening and night will make the world feel alive. Rain will have a “significant impact on the behaviour of your car” according to the newsletter, requiring you to adapt your driving style, change tyres, and gear ratios.
You can also manually turn on your windscreen wipers when a rainstorm erupts and the post hints at the ability to lower and raise roofs on convertibles.
Test Drive Unlimited games have always been about exploration. In TDUSC, there will be 14 districts full of activities, events, and collectables to encourage exploration. Wrecks are also returning from TDU2. Finding all parts scattered on the island will unlock iconic cars.
As you explore, you’ll find challenges from speed traps to head-to-head races against other players or your friends in Instant Challenges. Driving through petrol stations will also restore your car.
We’ve still yet to see any gameplay footage, but the screenshots and new map details sound promising. Comparisons to Forza Horizon are inevitable, but KT Racing is aiming to recapture the spirit of TDU. Modern racing games often feel stagnant, but TDUSC looks set to reinvigorate the genre.
Hong Kong Island is significantly smaller than maps in previous TDU games, but the level of detail showcased in the screenshots is impressive for an open-world game. We can't wait to explore every inch of Hong Kong Island.
We’ll find out more about TDU's long-awaited return in next month’s newsletter update in the run-up to the long-awaited gameplay reveal and release date confirmation.
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