We corner producer Scott Stutsman to find out what's new in this year's edition of EA's stock-car-racing franchise.
You know how that old adage goes: Another year, another NASCAR game. OK, we just made that up, but the fact remains that EA Sports consistently iterates its popular stock-car series on an annual basis just like all its other franchises. This year, though, EA's NASCAR effort has been split in twain. Now we've got the hardcore simulation of NASCAR SimRacing and the casual, arcade-style race action of the newly christened Total Team Control. To find out what's going on with the most recent version of the latter, we shot a few questions at producer Scott Stutsman.
GameSpot: What kind of experience are you aiming for with NASCAR 06?
Scott Stutsman: With NASCAR 06 we are looking to continue to build upon our legacy of innovation that we have established since this franchise came to the EA Tiburon studios. This year we have focused on squad-based racing where players will have the ability to communicate through our new interactive crew chief feature to command computer-controlled teammates on the track, voice recognition, and car swapping that help us establish total team control.
GS: Last year, players started off their NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup experience in a street race against Ryan Newman. What kind of unique interaction with real NASCAR drivers can we expect this time around?
SS: This year we put you into the last couple laps of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. From there, you are trying to win the race by utilizing the car-swapping feature. You start out in Jimmie Johnson's car drafting with teammate Jeff Gordon. You are racing against teammates of another team, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip, when your car is taken out of the race. You will then have to swap to Jeff Gordon's car and fight back against your rival team for the win.
GS: One of the themes for this year's NASCAR is being part of a team. How will we see that theme reflected in all areas of the game?
SS: There are many ways that you will see it in, especially as you work your way through "fight to the top" mode. Your goal as an individual is to get signed by the top teams in the sport. You'll have teammates that you can share technologies and generate revenues with to help build that team toward success. By swapping cars and commanding computer-controlled teammates, you can improve everyone's finishing position, which will score you more prize winnings. Ultimately you can accumulate enough cash to buy one of the top teams in NASCAR racing.
GS: What kind of offtrack interaction with team members can we expect? How will you interact with your teammates and members of your crew when not in a race?
SS: If your team chemistry is high, you will see your teammates celebrating wins with you. Obviously, if you have poor chemistry on your team, your teammates will be nowhere to be found, and this spills over to the track where they will turn down your request to work with you.
GS: How will intrateam rivalries work? Are the real-life personalities of your teammates taken into consideration?
SS: Yes they are. But you can eventually get to the point where the chemistry of your team is so poor that you end up getting fired from the team. It's important that you work together to increase your exposure and team's prestige so that, quite possibly, you will get offered rides with the top teams in the sport.
GS: Will you be able to move from team to team over the course of a season or over multiple seasons? Can you be fired from a team or recruited by a rival team? If so, explain how that will work.
SS: You really want to work on writing your own ticket and your persona. By showing that you are a good teammate and winning races, you become valuable to other teams. But you need to be careful, because if you start jumping around, you are not going to be someone that a team can rely on.
- Release Date: Aug 30, 2005 (US)
- ESRB: ETitles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older.