E3 2011: ModNation Racers NGP Preview

The highly customizable kart racer revs its way onto the NGP.


Games like Little Big Planet and ModNation Racers thrive when gamers come together to build and share their unique creations. As we've seen in the past, the toolset in these games give players the power to do what developers do. ModNation Racers has graced the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, so it only makes sense that it would eventually make its way to the NGP. At a pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo event in Culver City, we were given a brief demo that highlighted track creation, and now, it seems easier than ever to build your own racing circuit.

Perform death-defying feats on the NGP!
Perform death-defying feats on the NGP!

When ModNation Racers first arrived on the PS3, its appeal had to do with the fact that you could literally build a track in five minutes and immediately start driving on it. With the NGP's multi-finger touch screen capabilities and streamlined tools, now you can do so in seconds. Using your finger, you can touch to select what you want to create and draw on the screen. Tapping and dragging will lay down your road, and you tap to bank your turns. To give your landscape some variety, you push on the screen to create a lake or use the back touch to raise the terrain. The functionality may be different, but we were told that you have access to all the tools that you used in the original version of ModNation Racers; the only difference is that now you can do it much faster.

Another feature allows you to take a picture of an actual track, and the camera will import and trace over it, so you can have an exact replica of Laguna Seca if you like. With the NGP's dual-analog sticks, racing will feel more like it does in the PS3 version. The analog sticks at this point were incredibly sensitive, and developers are still working on the drift mechanic. One change occurs when you hit a rail; you'll continue to go forward so you don't lose a lot of speed.

The biggest news that has been revealed about ModNation Racers at this point is that on the day that the game launches, all 2 million-plus user-generated tracks from the PS3 version will be available to play. That's a lot of content to start off with, and reps were tight lipped on other features that will be included. We're hoping that it will play and feel very much like the PS3 version, though this early build still has some kinks that need to be worked out. The game looks great on the NGP, however, especially with all the lighting effects that you can play with to make your track come alive.

The kart racer is compatible with all the tracks from the PlayStation 3 version.
The kart racer is compatible with all the tracks from the PlayStation 3 version.

We'll have more information for you as E3 continues.

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