We recently had a chance to see EA Games' upcoming train simulation game, Rail Simulator, in motion. The game will carry on the legacy of Microsoft's Train Simulator, which was developed by Kuju Entertainment. Kuju is also developing this new game, which will feature improved graphics as compared to the previous game, as well as enhanced editing tools for serious hobbyists looking to build their own railway empires. Rail Simulator will offer numerous scenarios that feature international locales and trains of varying levels of technology, from steam-powered trains to diesel and electric rigs. The scenarios themselves will take place throughout various points in history, from modern-day monorail circuits to steam-engine routes from the 19th century.
The scenarios will carry objectives such as delivering loads of coal to different stops or requiring you to try to make trips between various stations on time. These missions can be set at varying difficulty levels that will enable varying levels of control for your trains. At the easiest levels, you'll use only an accelerator and a universal brake to make your trains stop and go. At higher difficulty levels, you'll have access to more types of speed control and braking (such as using a train's emergency hand brake). These control elements will apparently play more of a role in this game than they did in Train Simulator, because the new game will feature an enhanced physics engine that will better model train momentum.
In addition to improved graphics and tweaked controls, the game will offer an enhanced world builder that will let players build routes that are hundreds of miles in length. The editor will have an easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality that can drop trees, bushes, and other environmental objects quickly into a world, and perhaps more importantly, it will let players jump directly between the editor and the game so that they can see how their levels look in real-time motion.
If nothing else, players will be able to dig up their custom-built map files and email them to each other, though if Train Simulator's history is any indication, it's possible that the game will grow later with official add-ons. The game promises a more in-depth train simulation experience than we've seen in other such games, and is scheduled for release in Europe on September 28 and in North America later this year.