NASCAR Heat Evolution
The Sports Desk - Exclusive NASCAR Heat Evolution Video
by Matthew Kato
See the Exclusive Video Here at Game Informer
The NASCAR license has ping-ponged around, from EA having the license for a time to then Eutechnyx. Now it's in the hands of Dusenberry Martin Racing, who've renewed a partnership with the old NASCAR Heat studio Monster Games. The pair resume their partnership for NASCAR Heat Evolution (PS4, Xbox One, PC), and today the developer has released the first behind-the-scenes developer diary talking about this momentous return.
Monster Games' president Rich Garcia and Dusenberry Martin Racing co-founder Ed Martin worked together back on the original NASCAR Heat, and Martin has long had it in mind to get this partnership back together. In May 2014 Martin got the sense that then-license holder Eutechnyx was going to get out. He called former colleague Tom Dusenberry, and they decided to form their publishing company and go after the rights. Dusenberry Martin Racing was formed on January 1, 2015. Martin says his second call was to Monster Games president Rich Garcia. Martin says Garcia's first answer was, No. Garcia and Monster Games were working on a Nintendo game at the time, but Martin says he knew that it was the challenge that we both wanted to do again.
The title moved into full production on March 1, 2015. At first, it was going to use Eutechnyx's code, but it took about a month for Monster to figure out that it would be better to start over from scratch. It was really a sports-car game not designed for NASCAR, Garcia told us when we visited the studio. They just started gluing on NASCAR-y stuff. While Garcia says that there were definite benefits from scrapping the code and starting at zero, considering the last title Monster made was a 3DS game with Nintendo and now it would be working on new platforms, the task was a little daunting, albeit exciting.
The game attempts to straddle the line – it's not a hardcore sim, but it's not without its challenge, either. While it has simulation tuning available, it also has an adaptive A.I. system (in race now and season modes) based on different track types that will ratchet up the ability of the A.I. cars as you get better. This is expressed in a Speed Rating. Monster says that the A.I. cars have been taken off of specific racing lines and have a natural racer's mentality on the track. How this meshes and behaves with the situation at hand – the end of a race, going three-wide in the right corners – will be a big challenge for the title. In general, the drivers will be tuned to how they perform on certain kinds of tracks in real-life – road courses, superspeedways, etc. – although there is a randomization quality in there as well, so A.I. drivers won't always perform the same.
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