New Driver officially in the shop

BBC reveals Ubisoft hard at work on PS3, 360 revamp of classic series.

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As anyone on a sinking ship will say, anything that isn't 100 percent vital gets tossed overboard. And that's just what Atari did with its racing franchise Driver, which has seen four installments developed by UK-based Reflections Interactive since 1999. The happy recipient of that franchise was Ubisoft, which signaled its intent to get into the driving game by purchasing the Driver license--and Reflections--from Atari for €19 million (then $24 million, now $29 million) in 2006.

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Since then, little has been heard from Ubisoft Reflections or its work on the next Driver. However, as part of a short vignette produced by the BBC, Ubisoft Reflections chief Gareth Edmondson gave the British news outlet a tour of the studio, revealing new details about the project.

The last installment in the Driver franchise, Driver: Parallel Lines, offered both retro and modern-day settings, and gameplay footage of the upcoming Driver shown during the interview indicates that Ubisoft Reflections will be taking a similar tack. The footage appears to show a muscle car from the 1960s or '70s racing through New York, and a computer-modeled vehicle shown later in the clip displays a modern-day hot rod.

Commenting on the vehicle design, Edmondson noted that cars will be highly articulated. According to the studio head, graphic artists are modeling both interior and exterior components, "so when the cars get smashed up, they look realistic and convincing in the game."

In 2005, Sony added the next installment of Driver to its list of the then-102 PlayStation 3 games that were in development. Judging by the various Xbox 360 controllers dispersed around the studio, the game seems set to drive onto Microsoft's console as well. Ubisoft had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

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