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June 2004

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Driver 3 (Driv3r)
By: Matt C. on December 15, 2003

Here is a brief update on our original Driver 3 preview that was written nearly 1 year ago. First off, Infogrames has changed the name of the project to Driv3r, instead of Driver 3. Also, we want to make it clear that Reflections has decided to add motorcycles to the game. In addition, Hollywood stars such as Michael Madsen (Tanner), Ving Rhames (Tobias Jones), Mickey Rourke (Jericho) and Michelle Rodriguez (Calitac) will lend their voices for some of Driv3r's main characters. Stay tuned for additional updates, and don't forget to watch some Driv3r gameplay footage in the media section below.

February 18, 2003 Update

Millions of people own copies of Grand Theft Auto 3. The game is obviously a huge success. However, what most of those millions of people don't realize is that Rockstar (or DMA Design to be more specific) got much of its inspiration from Driver 2 (one mission in GTA3 even clearly makes fun of Driver's main character). Driver 2 had major framerate issues but it was the first 3D game that allowed players to get out of their car and steal and commandeer any vehicle that they wished in real-time. Of course, GTA3 was the first game to get the formula right by building upon what Driver 2 offered.

With that in mind, Reflections, the England-based developer responsible for the Destruction Derby series, the Driver series, and Stuntman; is looking to show the world who the original pioneer of the 3D "drive anywhere and steal anything" genre is with Driver 3. [Ed's note: We are not saying that Rockstar completely ripped off and copied Driver 2, so please don't bother accusing us of being bias. We know that the 2D GTA games were a major form of inspiration as well.]

Driver 3 was planned even before Driver 2 had gone gold. In fact, the game was in development at the same time Reflections was working on Stuntman -- hence, both games have a similar look. But I am getting ahead of myself here. Let's start from the beginning:

Once again, Driver 3 has you playing the role of Tanner; an undercover cop who is assigned to stop a highly organized carjacking network. Players not only control Tanner again, but Driver 3 starts off in Miami, Florida, much like the first game. Once you finish your missions in good old Miami, you're off to Nice, France; and Istanbul, Turkey. As usual, the artists at Reflections have visited each town and they are currently hard at work in recreating each city in digital form as best as possible. This is a huge priority for the development team. If you live in Miami, then you'll have no problem finding your way around in Driver 3.

Creating realistic cities is definitely high on Reflections' "to do" list, but another task they hope to accomplish is to provide an amazingly real physics engine. Some of the coding from Stuntman is present, but Reflections says that the physics engine in Driver 3 will be even better than the one found in their recent PS2 stunt simulator title. For instance, you can actually bend your car's frame out of shape if you hit it a certain way. And if you're not careful, you can lose the panels or wheels on your car. In Stuntman, if you lost both of your front wheels, steering became impossible. The same holds true in Driver 3.

Unfortunately, Driver 3 will not feature licensed vehicles. Car manufactures simply don't like the idea of their cars being severely damaged. I can't say I blame them, as the amount of damage the cars take in this game can be pretty nasty. To make up for the lack of real-life vehicles, Reflections is adding other forms of transportation, including trucks and boats. In some missions, using boats will be integral for success. And before you ask, adding planes, helicopters, and motorcycles are not on Reflections' agenda. You would have to consider the physics for each of those vehicles and that would delay the game even longer.

As you can tell by the title, much of Driver 3 revolves around driving vehicles. However, a smaller portion of the game involves running around on foot. In the last game, traveling on foot was mostly for obtaining another car or to solve a puzzle by hitting a silly looking switch. In Driver 3, Tanner will be required to enter buildings on foot and kill a room full of thugs, for example. According to the developer, there will be a large variety of ways to complete each mission. That's awesome and all, but I know what most of you are thinking: Will you be able to just run around and shoot up innocent people? I honestly don't know yet, but you will be able to hit pedestrians while driving your car.

A free-roaming mode will be available in Driver 3, but the actual story mode will be fairly linear. You'll have to complete missions in a set order. Of course, as I mentioned above, there will be various ways to beat each mission, so that should relieve the disappointment of not being able to do each task in the order that you want.

If you take a look at the screenshots below, you'll notice that Driver 3 has a very photorealistic look to it. You may prefer the cartoony graphics found in GTA: Vice City, but yet again, Driver 3 features a "create-a-movie" mode, which is arguably more reasonable in a more realistic looking game like Driver than Vice City. In the movie mode, you can position cameras just about anywhere. You can place it on a tripod on the sidewalk for a cool "drive-by" segment of your movie -- or you can position the camera inside the car that is chasing you. Naturally, you'll want to ram into as much crap as possible (such as crates full of watermelons) to make your movies look more dramatic.

Reflections has a ridiculous amount of experience in making driving games, so we're confident that Driver 3 will be worth the wait when it hits stores this fall. More info later.

Driver 3 Screenshot 1 Driver 3 Screenshot 2 Driver 3 Screenshot 3

Additional Media
Click here for all the screenshots and movies for this game.

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