Driver slips to September 6

San Francisco-set racing game gets pushed back a week in North America; Ubisoft confirms constant online connection needed for PC version.

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Driver: San Francisco is putting on the brakes. Ubisoft has released word through the game's official Twitter feed that the mission-based racing game has been delayed until September 6, a week after its previously announced August 30 launch date. The delay is specific to North America, and the game's debut in other territories has not been affected.

No speeding tickets for this one.
No speeding tickets for this one.

In a follow-up tweet, the publisher explained the cause for the delay was not due to a need for extra development time. According to Ubisoft, "The delay has to do with shipping considerations and getting the best exposure in NA, not production of the game." Driver's old release date, August 30, is also the launch date for EA Sports' Madden NFL 12, which may receive a boost given the fact that the football season will actually take place this year. There had been concern about whether the season would start on time until a labor dispute and work stoppage was resolved earlier this week.

Last night, the same Twitter account also confirmed that the PC version of Driver: San Francisco will require a constant Internet connection, even for single-player modes. That's something of an about-face for the publisher, which has gone back and forth on the controversial digital rights management tactic. Afterdenial-of-service attacks rendered Assassin's Creed II and Silent Hunter 5 unplayable for legitimate customers last year, Ubisoft relaxed its stand on the issue, removing the requirement from some titles and not including it at all with others.

Developed by Ubisoft Reflections, Driver: San Francisco will be the first game in the series released under Ubisoft's auspices since the publisher acquired the franchise from Atari in 2006. The game is set to launch for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Mac. A Wii edition has also been announced.

Driver: San Francisco will be a throwback to previous installments in the franchise, featuring a matchup between original protagonist John Tanner and Driver 2 antagonist Charles Jericho. In terms of plot, Tanner, a hard-boiled detective behind the wheel of a 1970s-era Shelby GT500, is on the hunt for Jericho, and the two engage in vehicular duels on the streets of the titular hilly California city.

The game will include more than 100 licensed vehicles, all of which are subject to damage. The game will also feature a supernatural element as Tanner is pursuing his mark from the confines of a coma. Tanner's situation impacts gameplay, as players will be able to pause time to hop to a new vehicle on the fly, as well as get a bird's-eye view of the city to jump to various locations.

For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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