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When it came time to craft Metropolis Street Racer's zig-zagging city-street courses, the folks at Bizarre Creations used everything short of the Hubble Telescope to capture the game's true-to-life look. "We took information from street plans, government survey maps, land-usage data, topological maps and aerial photographs to get the layout and heights correct," Sarah Dixon, Bizarre's business director, told us. Then the developers photographed portions of Tokyo, San Francisco and London to get textures for buildings, which are individually hand-modeled. Houses, restaurants--heck, even signs--were photographed and stuck in the game. "The Dreamcast has a massive 8 megabytes of VRAM and an amazing compression system," Dixon said, "meaning you can have high-color, high-res textures taken straight from the photographs."
MSR features more than 60 cars, and all have been modeled off of detailed schematics, diagrams, and, of course, photos (the team visited car factories and showrooms to get the goods). "MSR wasn't actually designed to be a car 'collect-'em-up,"' Dixon said, "and cars were chosen carefully to fit in with the game. We wanted to have a range of desirable and popular sports cars that could be, or nearly be, within financial reach in real life, rather than supercars that most people would never be able to afford." Bizarre is keeping mum for the moment on how you'll acquire new cars in the game. The current control scheme has the right trigger as gas, the left trigger as brake, and the A button as handbrake for strategic sharp turns.
Bizarre has yet to decide on exactly how it will set up tracks in MSR's featured three cities. The developers are toying with a random track generator, which would map out different paths through the cities. But if that doesn't work well, they may opt to go with several preselected paths. In either case, Bizarre hopes to offer at least 200 different course combinations.
MSR is currently slated for a European release in July. According to Sega, the game should see a release here a few weeks after.
Bizarre Creations' Metropolis Street Racer, which Sega will publish this fall, has built a lot of buzz among racing-game fanatics--even more than Sega GT. And it's not just 'cause this thing packs 60 cars (which were chosen because they were within the price range of most ordinary Joes). It's not just 'cause everyone who's played this game raves about the tight control. Simply put, no other racing game has matched the authenticity of MSR's real-world locales. "In the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco, for example, we had to model each street, each building and even each garden!" said Sarah Dixon, Bizarre Creations' business director. "As a general rule of thumb, anything over one meter in size should be there in the game." To capture the realism, the guys at Bizarre collected more than 35,000 photos, compiled over 40 hours of research videos, and flown at least 250,000 air miles for research trips.