Though the upcoming Nintendo Wii racer GT Pro Series isn't the first cel-shaded racing game featuring actual licensed autos (anyone remember Auto Modellista?), it does enjoy the advantage of having controls that are utterly its own. We recently got a chance to see a sneak preview of this Wii launch game, as well as get our hands on the driving-wheel accessory that will ship with it.
Our only exposure to the game came from a brief video of it in action, but during the presentation, we got a good idea of some of the features that will be included. As we mentioned above, GT Pro Series is a cel-shaded game, with the cars featuring an animated, yet slightly more subdued look to them. We're not sure if it was the video we were watching or if the whole color palette of the game was a bit darker than we expected, however. Regardless, while the cars might look a bit cartoonish in execution, they still appeared fairly realistic, overall. The game will include more than 80 licensed car models, and we noticed several makes, such as Subaru, in the demo movie shown.
In addition to standard race and time-trial modes, GT Pro Series will include a drift mode, which will reward you not necessarily for posting the fastest lap times, but instead for pulling off the longest drift in the many corners found on each track. The game will also feature split-screen play for up to four players.
Driving the car in GT Pro Series will be accomplished by holding the Wii controller sideways and grasping both ends with your hands. As in other Wii racers, you turn left by turning the controller left and right by moving it in the opposite direction. The two buttons on the face of the Wii remote will be used for throttle and braking when using automatic gears, and there will be three separate control schemes to choose from for manual gearshifts. The addition of the Thrustmaster-designed wheel add-on will make the driving experience feel a bit more like piloting a real car.
The wheel itself is smaller than in real life and roughly the size of a Formula 1 steering wheel. The wheel acts as a shell for the Wii remote, and all you need to do is snap the Wii controller into a horizontal opening and then grasp it as you would a regular car steering wheel. It's not a huge difference, but it should feel slightly more authentic to be holding a steering wheel, rather than a strange rectangular device. The wheel, which will be packaged with GT Pro Series--as well as another Ubisoft racing game, Monster 4X4: World Circuit--will come in three separate parts that you assemble yourself.
We'll have more on GT Pro Series, as well as the Ubisoft racing wheel, as we get closer to the Nintendo Wii's launch.