Ubisoft imports Xbox 360 racer

[UPDATE] Import Tuner Challenge speeding to Microsoft's next-gen console this fall; game will be new product, not US version of Shutokou Battle X.

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In mid-July, Ubisoft expressed its interest in getting into the racing-game genre by purchasing the rights to the Driver franchise from Atari. At the time, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said, "We are thrilled with this acquisition which will allow us to add a prestigious title to our catalog and to enter into the driving games segment, one of the most important segments in the gaming industry."

It turns out Ubi planned to have more than just one car game in its garage. Today, the company announced that it will be publishing the new racer Import Tuner Challenge exclusively for the Xbox 360 in Europe and North America. The game is being developed by Genki of Japan and focuses on the phenomenon of underground street racing in Tokyo.

Import Tuner Challenge will feature licensed import sports cars that can be customized in "more than 5 million combinations" and taken on reproductions of real Tokyo highways. In addition to the more than 400 computer-controlled opponents that populate the streets, gamers can take their tricked-out cars online and race against others over Xbox Live.

The game is almost certainly the English-language version of Shutokou Battle X (the latest edition of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer), which was detailed in early May. Requests for confirmation from Ubisoft were not answered as of press time.

[UPDATE] Ubisoft has confirmed that the game will not be a straight port of Genki's Shutokou Battle X, but will rather be a unique product for the North American and European markets. However, it will look awfully familiar to the Japanese racer, as both are being built from the same engine.

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