Climax Studios has been responsible for a slew of PC to console conversions. Its most recent work includes the PlayStation version of Populous and the N64 version of Activision's Battlezone. After several years of porting code, though, it seems the company is ready to try its hand at completely original games. Its latest development effort is a PS2 racing game named Stunt Driver. Stunt Driver could best be described as a Hard Drivin'-inspired racer with plenty of twists, turns, and stunts for adrenaline junkies.
The game sports several different modes - quick race, single race, championship, time attack, test drive, and scenario. Most of the modes are your standard fare, while the test drive and scenario modes are still somewhat of a mystery. They will probably require you to complete certain objectives in predetermined orders. Additionally, the game will most likely feature a track editor that will let you create tracks in any way you desire.
The tracks are quite varied and full of twists, banks, humps, ramps, jumps, corkscrews, loops, and other mechanically designed hazards. The game will also feature realistic crashes that will leave debris and oil scattered throughout the tracks, providing even more hazards for you to avoid.
The game's graphics are already impressive and have plenty of stunning visual effects. The game features racing in all different daylight conditions, has some beautiful weather effects, and sports some nice looking tracks and backgrounds. Light reflects off puddles, tires leave skid marks, rain splashes on windshields, mud and dirt splatter on vehicles, and hot asphalt creates a haze in the air. Even the game's replay mode has new graphical innovations, such as the picture-in-picture external camera, which shows a dramatic view of the race on top of the normal overhead view. The car models look very nice, and the tracks will all be spline-based, which means you'll be able to enjoy perfectly round bends and loops.
Stunt Driver's AI is balanced to support all styles of players. Computer-assisted driving aids help newcomers come to grips with the controls and the advanced game physics, while tuning options let seasoned vets alter their cars to their own preferences. The game will feature realistic damage that actually effects your car's performance, and it should also have pit stops for mid-race repairs.
Climax still hasn't said much about the game's online features, but it has clearly stated it wants to make use of the online capabilities of the PS2. It's not yet been revealed if the online features will simply be limited to codes and downloads, or if the game will support online gaming. It's assumed those decisions will be based on how Sony is able to support the PS2's Internet functions.
The game will feature tons of confirmed non-Internet multiplayer modes. There will be a cooperative mode where you and a friend team up against two other racers. Exactly how that mode will pan out is still unknown. Other modes include team towrope racing, superheavy vehicle racing, keep-it-above-50mph mode (à la the movie Speed), and fuel-trailer towrope racing. Exactly what these modes will entail is still unknown.
If Climax can follow through on its ambitious title and deliver a gameplay experience that matches the game's graphics, then Stunt Driver will probably be a big title in the extensive lineup of driving games on the PS2. We'll just have to wait and see, as a release date has not yet been set.