We’ve already had some hands-on time with Namco’s latest racer, Dead Heat (see IAAPA coverage or search for Dead Heat here in case you missed it) but we haven’t seen much on the Japanese version of the game until now. Called Maximum Heat, the game itself is essentially the same as the already available US version but with one major difference – Maximum Heat uses stereoscopic 3D.
The latest cabinet that Namco is showing off differs slightly from the first version we caught sight of – they’ve changed the arm that holds the 3D goggles to something mounted on the front of the cabinet as opposed to the seat. It looks to be much more durable however. The verdict is still out on whether players will care for using goggles on games (a good operator will have to have some sanitizing wipes near the game for anyone who doesn’t want to share head sweat) but having played a few stereoscopic games at IAAPA, the effect can be pretty neat and helpful to the overall look of the game if done right. If someone prefers to play it in 2D however, the effect can be switched off with the press of a button. Maximum Heat also has an improved webcam avatar feature over Dead Heat – DH takes your picture with no frills whereas MH will let players have a character overlay, just like in Namco’s Tank! Tank! Tank! or Mario Kart GP. I imagine that they can add the updated avatars to Dead Heat with a simple software update so that might be a feature players outside of Japan can still look forward to seeing.
As for the 3D part, those monitors do cost more and as such Maximum Heat will have a higher price than Dead Heat will although it’s not as high as I thought it might be. According to AM-Net, a Maximum Heat unit will run for 880,000 Yen, putting a machine a little under $11k USD at the current exchange rate. It’s still pricey for a single unit but it’s far below Konami’s RoadFighters which costs around 3 million Yen per unit. Once costs come down further then the real key to this whole 3D craze will be true volumetric displays, no glasses required. Maximum Heat will be on location test once again in Japan next week and it’s scheduled for a release come March 2011.
More details on Maximum Heat including some pictures of the new cabinet and features in action can be found over at 4Gamer.net