GC 2008: MotoGP 08 Impressions

Capcom shows off the latest build of its upcoming motorcycle racer at the Games Convention in Leipzig.


Earlier today we met with Capcom behind closed doors to check out a number of upcoming games at the Games Convention. Among them was MotoGP 08, which we're pleased to report had a much stronger showing at this event than it did at the E3 Media and Business Summit two months ago.

Again, Capcom was eager to show off how much more accessible MotoGP 08 is going to be than previous games in the series, so the entire demo was spent in arcade rather than simulation mode. All 18 of the circuits being used in the 2008 MotoGP season will be re-created faithfully in the game, and on this occasion we got to see Spain's Jerez circuit and Qatar's Losail circuit--the latter of which is relatively undeveloped and located in the middle of a desert.

The 125cc race we watched at Losail afforded us our first opportunity to see MotoGP 08's nighttime visuals. Since the circuit is well floodlit, the difference isn't so dramatic that you can see only what your headlights are illuminating, but the game still has a very different look. The sky is almost black, the circuit is very brightly lit, and the multiple shadows being cast by the bikes at all times are really impressive. The bikes themselves also look sharp, by the way, and are covered in sponsor decals as you'd expect.

Impressively, the 125cc race featured no fewer than 35 bikes on the circuit simultaneously, which afforded us plenty of opportunities to see how forgiving the arcade mode is after most collisions. We got to see the guy playing fall off his bike several times, but that was only after some pretty significant bumps with other bikes, and even then he was back in the saddle and racing again within seconds.

The MotoGP races, which use much more powerful bikes, support only 18 racers simultaneously, just like the real-world events. All of the riders, bikes, and teams are real, but you'll also have the option to create your own rider to play as in MotoGP 08's career mode. We didn't get to see much of the career mode on this occasion, but it's clear that you'll be forced to start at the bottom and work your way up through the rankings before many of the teams will even consider employing you. Only four teams appear to be available from the outset, but by performing well and earning points you can attract the attention of other teams and get yourself a better ride for the next season. Points can also be spent on upgrades to improve your performance, but it's not clear how that system will work at this time.

MotoGP 08 is currently scheduled for release for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, PlayStation 2, and Wii in October. We haven't seen anything of the Wii version yet, but we're told that it lets you play holding the controllers in positions that mimick the handlebars on a bike. We'll bring you more information on all five versions of MotoGP 08 as soon as it becomes available.

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