Prior to turning the industry on its ear by merging with Vivendi Games in December, Activision warmed up its consolidation engine in September by picking up Project Gotham Racing developer Bizarre Creations. The move signaled Activision's interest in becoming a serious player in the racing genre, an area where up until that point, the publisher had been noticeably lacking.
Today, Activision said it would be making further advance on the racing scene, publishing Score International Baja 1000 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, and PC. Excitebike 64/Nitrobike outfit Left Field Productions is developing the title, with plans to wrap production this fall. Modeled after the annual 1,000 mile off-road racing event that traverses the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, the game challenges players to succeed in a "hyper-realistic" driving environment and accurate dirt and damage modeling. Score International Baja 1000 features more than 90 vehicles in a number of classes, including trophy trucks, motorcycles, and ATVs.
While the publisher didn't reveal specific gameplay details for the title, Activision Publishing general Manager Dave Oxford said, "In creating Score International Baja 1000, our goal was to create something true to the sport that made you feel the speed and heart-pounding conditions. Players will see potential shortcuts on the tracks, but wonder if their vehicle can handle it."
The Baja 1000 is a great way to blend videogames with motorized endurance racing and it could be really something special if they make a way to work in online team dynamics that features swapping out drivers on the course and, essentially having relay races. The game won't appeal to everyone, especially if their goal of "hyper-realism" is carried beyond just the graphics and vehicles to the way the game handles time and distance. Off-road driving can be a lot of fun in videogames, but driving for 1000 miles while even averaging 100 miles per hour, well, you can do that math pretty easily, can't you?
Can't say too much more about this just yet, but as someone who has always wished for a Cannonball Run-themed MMO, I have to say the prospect of potentially racing teams of other drivers over such a lengthy course has me pretty excited. Let's just hope it lives up to the potential.