Namco unveils “Dead Heat” at the AAMA Distributor Gala
Way back in March, we found out that Namco was testing a new racing game that was called Dead Heat Street Racing. I found out a little on the game at Amusement Expo but since then we have been waiting to actually see the game. Namco had the slightly renamed Dead Heat title at the AAMA 2010 Distributor Gala and we also have a full run down on what players can expect from the game – which includes some innovative methods at getting players to come back for more. Click below for the details!
According to Sam Ven of Namco, here is what Dead Heat features:
1. 4 painstakingly detailed real cities displayed on the 32″ LCD: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and London. [Editor’s note: when I spoke with Namco reps at Amusement Expo, they spoke about driving through these cities, taking notes, pictures, etc. to get everything down as accurately as possible. I guess this brings our recent discussion on another post about how many tracks a racer should have vs. quality to the forefront]
2. 8 customizable real cars: Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper GTS, Ford GT, Ford Mustang, Mazda RX-7, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, Nissan 370X and Nissan Skyline GT-R.
3. Cars are powered by NOS (Nitrous Oxide Systems)
4. The game focuses on challenging, head-to-head, tight races. Whether you are a novice or an advanced driver, every race will be fun, challenging, and always a dead heat. This is
especially important because the repeat factor is phenomenal. During our location test surveys, people that would normally play once on a driver would play two to three times on Dead Heat.
5. The camera takes a picture of you and uses that photo to identify your car and other players. Instead of trying to figure out whose “Player 2” car it is that you’re battling with, a quick look at the photo tells you that your buddy or girlfriend is the one that is neck and neck with you.
6. Namco’s patented software technology analyzes your driving style and accurately mimics it when you register it to be a “ghost” driver for future races. When your car/profile gets placed as an “opponent” for other drivers, how you drive is accurately replicated so they are practically racing against you. Whether you like to take the turns sharp, bang into cars on the straight-a-way, or use your NOS at certain points in the race…it is all accurately represented as if you were actually driving the car. I should know because my “ghost” car always wins 😉
7. The PIN system encourages repeat play and location loyalty. Our survey/research over several weeks showed that typical PIN use/registration for other drivers was under 5%. Dead Heat boasted an outstanding 25% PIN usage. At the end of every race, the game lures the player to come back by offering performance and cosmetic enhancements for the next race. This loyalty can be seen in the game because almost every “ghost” car opponent has several car modifications/enhancements. [Editor’s Note: They also discussed this in detail at Amusement Expo, as they were looking for ways to increase play via PIN numbers by making it more obvious to the player that using a PIN will equal a better play experience]
8. First time drivers are encouraged to save their PIN because we reward them with a total of 3 bottles of NOS from the initial 1 bottle for the next race.
9. I also wanted to emphasize the social networking aspect of this driver. When you race the same people over and over again, the software will recognize these people as your friends through the profile PIN system. In an occasion where you race alone against the “ghost” cars, your friend’s “ghost” car will be placed as one of your opponents. This social networking tree expands as you acquire more “friends” to race with as well as your friends acquiring more “friends.” Pretty soon, you will be racing with people that your friends know and you might run into them at a party or something and you’ll recognize them as that “Blue Lancer Evo that I’ve raced many times.”
Sam also stated that this game was made for the US market in mind – not just in the formulas used behind the game but in the price as well. The exact price is not being published now but they are saying that it will be “competitive with other drivers” on the market. It also can link up to 4 units.
Expect to see Dead Heat hitting arcades this fall, possibly October.
Also stay tuned to this post for an update on the hardware the game is using. I know that it uses an enhanced version of Namco’s ES1 hardware (PC-based) and I’m trying to find out a little more about it.