Last week news broke that Sega had a new racing arcade game in the works by the name of Sega World Drivers Championship 2018. Now a week later the game has been placed on test at two Sega owned arcades in Tokyo.
Sega World Drivers Championship 2018 In Action
Japanese news site 4Gamer.net has all of the goods on the game which you can read in full translated glory here. Otherwise since you are already on this page, I’ll endeavor to distill it down for you.
Let’s start with some off-screen footage that was posted to Youtube. As we expected, the game is focused on more realistic/technical style driving that is based on Super GT racing. That includes 35 licensed cars (45 for the release version) and a control scheme to match with vehicle function buttons on the steering wheel and a six-position shifter. From this footage the graphics look pretty sleek but with arcades they are always better in person than via a camera like this:
4Gamer reports that the game does feature cross-site play, with the two location test facilities being able to race against each other for a 10 player race. Car classes are split between GT300 and GT500 cars with a total of six teams and teams will be able to ‘battle’ for season wins. This is one feature that does make me wonder if we will see it out West – Sega has attempted online features in the West before but it has been a while and even then was rare.
For the steering wheel, the button functionality covers “rear view[behind the car/3rd person], wireless communication” along with the ability to shift gears from the wheel so you don’t have to use the shifter itself. Wireless communication is an interesting one, first done in a driving game like this with Taito’s D1GP around 10 years ago, with speakers in the seat being the voice channel so you can better hear the other members of your driving team. One button on the wheel is specifically assigned to let you listen in on the “team radio.” This steering wheel has been designed with high quality force feedback that adjusts to driving conditions, with the development team aiming for landing the feel of driving a “real machine.”
The dashboard even features something that we have not seen in a while – at least since H2Overdrive (that I know of) – a working tachometer with red LED numerical displays and a green/yellow/red LED shifting indicator. With hardware features like this, this will probably not be a cheap game 😉
One of the primary game features that will set this apart is the “Drivers Skill” gauge. Here, players are rated on driving skill, with how you take corners, overtakes and more building towards your score. Once the game is over, players are presented with a detailed look at their game performance:
That’s a wrap – for now. We still are unsure if this will make it’s way out West. Given that it does have an online component and will likely be a pricey game it will remain to be seen. Sega could always do a limited release like Namco did with Maximum Tune 5. What do you think about this from what we know now?
It would be great to see a skilled arcade racer like this in the UK. I would certainly play and try to get into it (if the price is right for repeated plays). A clutch pedal would help though, if this is meant to capture the feel of driving a real car.
However I think the expensive cabinet and the technical game play would deter a lot of operators. And even if it did show up, any online element would mostly be missing: most arcades here do not have the infrastructure (or the willingness) to accommodate such features. Even online rankings that most coin-ops had back in the early 00’s are left out these days!