There are more games than you can shake a stick at here at E3 2009, and one of them is Victory: The Age of Racing, a free-to-play online racing game with an unusual twist. The game takes place 50 years in the future on an Earth dominated by a gigantic corporation. The company has decreed that Formula One racing return to the world, but curiously, contemporary F1 technology has been lost, and the most recent technology available dates back to the 1960s. So, the new F1 league begins with 1960s F1 stylings, plus a few extra futuristic trappings.
Who's Making This Game: Vae Victis, an Italian studio, working with American free-to-play games shop Gamers First.
What The Game Looks Like: We didn't get a chance to see any of the racing in motion. We only got a glimpse at a promotional trailer and a look at the in-game car customization options. The cars themselves look like vintage F1 cars, elongated chassis and all.
What There Is To Do: If our E3 session was any indication, you'll be able to do a lot of customization. Each car has three different "blocks"--a front block, a center block, and a rear block--and you can swap each component out for one of 15 different varieties and paint every segment of your car with custom paint colors, patterns, and decals that can be rotated or zoomed. You'll also, of course, do some racing with your cars on the game's various tracks.
How The Game Is Played: Once you have a car with whose appearance you're satisfied, you can then take it out for a competitive race. The game will have four major "environment" types, such as desert, arctic, and city, and each of these four climates will have five associated tracks at the game's launch, for a total of 20. As you continue to race, your character will gain levels and "performance points," which you can invest in one of your car's six different performance statistics, such as engine power, weight, and aerodynamics. You can also gain additional add-ons for your car, such as steering wheels, tires, and rims, which can provide a bonus for your car's handling as well as (hopefully) look cool. Since this will be a free-to-play game, there will be a "cash-op" store where you can purchase items that will enhance your experience (such as a temporary boost in the rate at which you earn experience points) rather than the actual power of your car.
What They Say: This game will not be for casual players and will not have arcade handling, though it will have driving aids for newer players. In the words of Vae Victis' Antonio Moro, "This is for the casual player who wants more realism."
What We Say: We're not sure how well the free-to-pay audience will take to any kind of demanding racing simulation, but we ourselves haven't had a chance to try the actual racing part of the game, so we can't comment either way. The game is scheduled to launch next year.