Interview with Dave Thompson of NASCAR The Game

By Jordan Dodson

If you’re a gamer like me, you were excited when Eutechnyx announced they would make the official NASCAR game for gaming consoles a couple years ago.

Last year Eutechnyx came out with their first game called “NASCAR The Game 2011”. The company was just starting to get things established and putting their hand in the arena of NASCAR.

NASCAR The Game 2011
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This year Eutechnyx will be releasing “NASCAR The Game: Inside Line” on November 6. The game will include much greater detail and features in the company’s second NASCAR game.

I got a chance to ask Dave Thompson, executive producer of the “NASCAR The Game” series, what we can expect with the new changes and the challenges his team faced making the new game. Here is what he had to say:

Q: What do you enjoy most about making the official NASCAR game?

A: One of the most enjoyable aspects of working on a NASCAR title is the opportunity to try and really capture the essence of what is a very unique sport. NASCAR sometimes gets a reputation for ‘just turning left’, but as our fan-base knows very well, there are huge depths to stock car racing, and we see it as our mission to really bring the sport to life.

Q: Being that this is the second NASCAR game Eutechnyx is making, what new challenges has the team faced making “NASCAR The Game: Inside Line”?

A: NTG11 was our first foray into NASCAR and was very much a case of us finding our feet and figuring out what the fans wanted. This time around we’ve been able to consider all the feedback we got from the first game, and really connect with the community to ensure that we’re delivering the title they want. There are always particular challenges with making a licensed sport title however and NASCAR is no different, each car, paint scheme, sponsor logo and track has to be individually approved to ensure that it is accurate and that adds up to literally hundreds of approval processed. It’s a big job!

Q: What challenges does your team face making a game for America in another country?

A: We’re lucky enough to have a team consisting of many hard core NASCAR and racing fanatics so that definitely helps. I think with the first game there was a little bit of suspicious from the fans that an English company would not understand the sport they love so much, but we’re very hopeful that the new title will dispel that forever. We also have our very own man in Charlotte, Ed Martin who’s an integral part of the team and our most direct link with the NASCAR organization.

Q: Being that online play has become a major part of game development, how much time does your team put toward developing single player vs. multiplayer game play?

A: The online play was a huge focus for us this time around, and one of the areas that the fans were most vocal about. We’ve had a team working on rebuilding the network play from the ground up, resolving issues that were present in the first game and ensuring that the online play is as fast and smooth as we can make it. We’ve been doing regular tests in the office and with our friends at Activision in the US and we’ve been very happy with the results.

Q: What new features can people most look forward to in “NASCAR The Game: Inside Line”?

A: We have a brand new career mode which covers multiple seasons and allows the player to build their team to try and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup, upgrading parts, signing sponsors and earning credits along the way. We’re also introducing our new Challenge mode which lets us take real telemetry data from actual NASCAR races and use it to create realistic scenarios with the cars behaving exactly as they did in the real race. Oh and we have the special races that make NASCAR unique such as the Daytona Shootout and Duels and the All-Star Showdown and Race. Did I mention we expanded the Paint Booth feature by the way?

NASCAR The Game: Inside Line
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There is no doubt that “NASCAR The Game: Inside Line” will include a lot more new and great features. There will be more to do with multiple single play modes as well as enhanced online play that will make the experience much smoother for players. The game will also include 43 Sprint Cup drivers, unlike the first game, along with over 120 different paint schemes. The new game will out do “NASCAR The Game 2011” in every aspect so make sure to experience it and purchase the game on November 6.

For those with an Xbox, “NASCAR The Game” series also has avatars available through the Xbox Live marketplace including helmets, uniforms and cars. They will be a great addition to anyone’s avatar if you’re a NASCAR fan and want to show support for your favorite driver!

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