We got some questions regarding possibly the first Xbox 360 racer. Stéphane Baudet, head of Eden Games, gives us a closer look at the next Test Drive.

Will Test Drive Unlimited’s gameplay be similar to any previous Test Drive?

The game play will be sort of similar to the original Test Drive 1, 2 and 3. During the recent years, the name Test Drive was used to brand a lot of different racing game from Atari. We will basically return to the roots of the brand where Test Drive was about driving Sport and luxury cars on open roads with the Next Gen technology.

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The lobby of the game is essentially free roaming mode online. Will there have to be multiple “lobbies” to accommodate for all these people?

The players can play on one to one straight from the free roaming environment. To play up to 8 players simultaneously, they either have to go to a “Drive-in place” parking which basically is a lobby where up to 8 players are waiting for opponents, or go to their clubs house to gather with their friends.

How many players are you looking at having for online races and offline races?

Some challenges (game modes) can be played off-line or on-line by up to 8 players.

Customizing your driver is going as far as having licensed clothing designers. Will people be able to get out of their car and walk around?

While not to the extent of GTA, there are plenty of places where you can see your avatar and the other player’s avatars as well such as Clubs, Drive-in’s places, Living room, etc.

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The thing everybody wants to know about is the car customization! What can you tell us about the depth of the customization and some of the things we will be able to do with our rides?

We will reveal the customization features of the game later on because some of it is still pending to ongoing partnership discussions.

Cars will feature functioning radio, electric windows, horns, and wipers. Will the radio function similar to Grand Theft Auto and have channels?

The radio will have different channels to cover different styles of music and talk. We are currently discussing with radio partners and will announce the radio stations this summer.

As far as wipers, will player need to turn them on to get a better view during a storm?

We may modify the real time weather changes of the game, we’ll keep you posted.

Can you go into detail about owning a house in the game?

Your house is the player’s hub. The house is divided into 3 rooms: The living room where you can read the news, check the rankings or trade your vehicles; the dressing room in which you dress-up your avatar and of course the garage which contains all your cars. You can trade your current house for a bigger/nicer one at any time if you can afford to. The main reason to move to a new house is to live on another side of the island or to gat a bigger garage to store more cars. You can find new houses on sale by driving on the free roaming roads or find the nearest estate agent which contains the list of the available houses.

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Downloads are expected to be available monthly. How much can we expect the downloads to cost?

It hasn’t been decided at this stage. We are still discussing with Microsoft to make an offer consistent with the other X360 games offers.

The island images certainly look impressive, but how exact of a replica of Oahu is it?

The major road network is 95% accurate. We mostly have deleted the local dead ends which were adding nothing but frustrations to the game play experience. The are over 200 landmarks which are also accurate to the real elements like pear harbor, Honolulu airport, the stadiums, the parks…. Houses and building architectures as well as tree and flower species are also true to the Hawaiian environments.

Can we expect dynamic weather and changing time (day into night) effects?

This will effect the time of day rather than radical weather changes.

Will there only be exotic cars (in addition to the bikes)?

The entire line up is composed of super cars, roadsters, luxury and exotic cars. The “smallest” car in the game is the new Mazda Miata (MX-5). The car brands and models will be announced progressively until the release of the game.

Will there be car damage?

Damages will only appear on the non-licensed vehicles such as traffic cars.

What modes are planned?

Unlike most of racing games, Test Drive is not featuring a limited number of game modes. Instead, we are offering themes which are speed, time, race, coop and more which are all associated with an impressive list of parameters or sets of rules. This way, new game modes will emerge from our level design team, but also from the players because the “level” or challenge editor is built in the game.

How accurate of the final build is the footage/screens that have been released thus far?

Expect the final build to look better than anything you have seen from Test Drive so far, apart from the pre-rendered teaser featuring Blur “song 2”. The previously seen footage was running on a machine that has less than 50% of the X360 final hardware graphic GPU.

Are there plans to release Unlimited on PS3 in the future or on PC?

At this stage Test Drive Unlimited is a true Xbox 360 game, we want to take full advantage of the hardware and the Live online components and not do any compromise to other platforms

And what is it that makes Test Drive Unlimited unique?

Test Drive is a different experience to other racing games, it is more a driving game if you will. It is the blend of its innovative features, its huge free roaming environment and the very realistic driving experience that make it different. In addition, I don’t think any racing or driving game is offering the online persistency of the Test Drive world and the MMO like immersion. Look at it this way. If you are into racing games and you want something really extraordinary, remarkable and innovating, Test Drive Unlimited is the game that you are looking for. If the hard lines over the past years are just boring for you and you need a bit of  challenge, this game is right up your alley. The beautiful landscapes, lots of licensed vehicles of varying pedigrees, a game design that will give you much more than your average typical single player experience, everything that you need in order to enjoy is there right before your eyes. A magical online world is ready for you and your unmatched skills. What you get is one of the most interesting takes on what is known today as a massive multiplayer online racing game. The online component of the game feels absolutely massive so every gamer is in for some fun indeed.