GC 2008: Fuel Impressions - Exclusive First Look

Asobo's new racing game boasts 100,000 square miles of road as well as torrential weather conditions. We got a first look ahead of its official unveiling at the 2008 Leipzig Games Convention.

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While track-based racers are as popular as ever, their open-world competitors are becoming more and more commonplace. Burnout Paradise put you in a fictionalised open city, while Midnight Club: Los Angeles is going one step further by using a real-world location as its inspiration. However, neither one is as ambitious as Asobo's upcoming Fuel--a 100,000-square-mile racer with dynamic weather, alternate routes, and destructible environments. The game is published by Codemasters, and we were lucky enough to be able to get a first look before its unveiling at this year's Leipzig Games Convention.

Because the game is so ambitious, it has taken the developers a long time to put together both the technical and artistic resources. Asobo has toiled away on some high-profile Disney games, including Ratatouille and Wall-E, and because of those games' financial success, the studio has been able to invest in its labour of love. The team originally wanted to do something of a driving massively multiplayer game, but they eventually settled on the idea of a high-concept racer set in an alternate version of present-day North America. Natural resources are low, the world has become ravaged by global warming, and a small group of adrenaline junkies take advantage of the situation. They make the most of the desolate locations and freak weather conditions to take part in high-octane races all over the country, while being free to explore the rest of the land as they wish.

Fuel is still in the early stages of development, but we were lucky enough to see some of the first-ever footage of in-game action. Races will be multivehicle and multiroute affairs, with bikes, quads, trucks, muscle cars, SUVs, and "specials" all tearing up the track at the same time. We were shown images of a tornado ripping through a building, with the resulting debris forcing drivers to take a different route. The best path through each race will depend on your vehicle, but a dynamic global positioning system will show you the optimum routes based on the vehicle you've selected. And with 70 unique vehicles in total, there will be plenty of opportunity for tactical driving.

Global warming has produced quite a mix of environments in the game, with deserts, mountains, canyons, salt flats, forests, beaches, cliffs, and valleys in the roster of tracks. While the country hasn't been replicated exactly, Codemasters promises authentic North American landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, and the environmental damage system has allowed for some artistic license with the cities themselves. There will be plenty for you to explore, and realistic day and night cycles and weather such as torrential rain will provide some variation. Thankfully, you won't have to physically travel the entire breadth of the country just to move between races, because there will be a helicopter to take you between events in an instant.

Fuel's single-player game will be career-based, though at this stage we know only that there will be circuit races. You'll also be able to customise your character with tattoos when you win certain races, as well as create your own races on the fly to challenge friends online. The online mode will offer support for up to 16 players in total, and thankfully the two modes will integrate seamlessly so you'll be able to move back and forth without any interruption. Codemasters also promises postrelease support with new vehicles being made available via download. The only other thing we could ascertain at this stage is that fuel is an important part of your performance. And while you won't ever run out of petrol, the publisher hinted that it might be linked to your ability to boost.

As we mentioned, Fuel is still some way off its currently scheduled second-quarter 2009 release date, but it will be hitting the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and the PC simultaneously. We're promised a studio tour sometime in Autumn during which we'll hopefully get to see more of the game in action, so we hope to bring you more on this incredibly ambitious racer soon.

Discussion

97 comments
Mr_Fujiv1
Mr_Fujiv1

yea it has been done by codemaster but come on i mean 100,000 square miles i dont think there gonna pull this one off there will be soo much trouble with the online and how slow its gonna get but saying that MAG is doing some crazy stuff

evratto
evratto

sounds cool. Lets try a demo first.

Sqnner
Sqnner

If it is codemaster racing, then I believe it will be huge rocking!!

Zetona
Zetona

5405 square miles is about the area of Connecticut. 100,000 square miles is only slightly smaller than Colorado. I have a feeling that the developers will never be able to render such a big world.

gmfx
gmfx

In the video one of the devs says it's 14,000 square kilometers so thats 5,405 square miles. A touch shy of 100,000 square miles. :/

-kazoku-
-kazoku-

IGN just reported that the map is only 5,000 square miles. Anyone else read this?

dark_being
dark_being

Intersting concept. I'll probably look into it when the game is released.

rob123911
rob123911

Wow i didnt think they started motorstorm 3 yet! this is just like motorstorm 1

makatini
makatini

I am ready for it. Flatout tought me well... Great concept! Now comes the long wait...

pokerchamp1
pokerchamp1

If this game is anything like Grid. I believe it will be a hit. Not an astonishing one. But, a very fun game. :)

acidninja19
acidninja19

i hope this game turns out better than Dirt.

JayFlipZideX
JayFlipZideX

AHA! COOL, wow,dirt,grid,and now fuel...this is so cool...bt does this have a force feedback tho for the wireless racing wheel?

pharos
pharos

im so gonna make a racing game. and im gonna call it MEGA SUPER ULTRA FAST HAPPY METAL VELOCITATION GAME EXTREME!!! just to keep you single syllable moaners happy :D

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

This game will be so fun! Can´t wait.

-kazoku-
-kazoku-

to KevComesRipping: If you say them like Metallica's front-man they all have two syllables at least.

EPaul
EPaul

They are running out of names for racing games. Dirt, Grid, Pure now Fuel.....

lathan94
lathan94

100000 sq miles is GIGANTIC. You could quite literally take a virtual roadtrip or something.

KevComesRipping
KevComesRipping

What's with racing games and single syllable names now-a-days? Grid, Dirt, Pure, now Fuel? They need to try something new to set themselves apart.

specs132
specs132

It said I can earn a masters degree in fifteen months!

kmpkyle
kmpkyle

It sounds like a really interesting and realistic game. I'm looking forward to the release of this one. =)

J05h90
J05h90

looks sick gonna be the only racing game ive bought since pgr3

Booticon
Booticon

This might be a really cool game.

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

I read up to where it said they made games for Disney thenI stopped reading, if they demo it it will increase my chance of buying it from my current 0% to about 50%

spiredcrescent
spiredcrescent

sorry just can't get into this non track racing stuff

whitehot555
whitehot555

@IMaBIOHAZARD Its not 100,000km, its 100,000 miles. However in the video trailer it says its over 14,000km.

IMaBIOHAZARD
IMaBIOHAZARD

100,000 km is just unheard of. If they can pull this off.....hell, it'll just be great.

metalkid9
metalkid9

@ slipknotmaggot1: They have a footage in the video section and its pretty sick

metalkid9
metalkid9

Alright!! They did a pretty good job with Grid. Surely this will greater.

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

I love how racing games will become on par with Fantasy as we run out of 'fuel'...

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

Looks like soemthing fun to play! Good rental!

killzone_gamer
killzone_gamer

Awesome. GRID, then this? Codies are right back on track, great job guys ;)

LowlyKnight
LowlyKnight

Global Warming? With a back story based on such an exciting concept as that, hopefully you can play as Al Gore, maybe customize your little Al Gore racer with a cape... oops, I just peed myself from excitement...

thepickmaster
thepickmaster

OMG.. Codemaster is just getting better n better.. their racing games are just superb! its totally gonna rock!

confucioussayyo
confucioussayyo

I stopped reading it seriously at "Global Warming". *sigh* I still might check it out, but I'm getting tired of hearing this over and over.

BulletsnOctane
BulletsnOctane

You had me until Codemasters. Now I'm skeptical. But...I can't wait to see more - just to be sure. ;)