Given the current quality of the conversion, OutRun 2's original developer is unlikely to complain. Every element of the coin-op has been skilfully integrated, including the Heart Attack mode. In this, you travel the same courses as in the normal mode, but you're set tasks by your female passenger that must be completed to her satisfaction. For instance, she may want you to overtake as many cars as you can within a set distance, or fancy some wild powerslide action - the faster, and more acute the angle of the drift, the more hearts you collect. Hearts mean grades and finishing a stage with an 'A' average brings on additional tasks of increasing complexity. It's compelling stuff, and the option most OutRunners end up spending more time on once the normal mode is completed.
But for the home version, Sumo has some additional elements in store. "We want to achieve a product that is seen as OutRun 2 but not a direct conversion of the arcade machine in that it has the longevity for a console product and therefore is as prestigious on the console as it is on the arcade," outlines Mills. Most obvious is the implementation of Live compatibility, which promises score uploading and ghost downloading while also permitting online play.
Currently, fourplayer games exist (indeed, we joined members of the development team in a few competitive games via System Link) but the possibility of eight is being investigated, although fears that this may prove too busy for some of the tracks are understandable, particularly when you consider the online game retains the civilian traffic.
OutRun Live is also where some of the many unlocked items from OutRun 2's main new addition, Mission mode, are expected to fulfil their role. As senior designer Sean Millard explains: "We've done everything you would expect us to do, I think, within the confines of OutRun. Everything that we've been able to get away with putting in we've tried to put in. My hope from a design perspective is that anyone that picked it up and played the Mission mode wouldn't think, 'Oh, why the hell haven't they done this?' or 'Why the hell haven't they done that?'" Sumo and Sega are currently keeping the exact details of this mode under the bonnet, but they have confirmed that it will feature in excess of 50 missions consisting of Heart Attack-style challenges, marathon routes and AI character challenges (which include both AI-controlled Ferraris and specific enemy AI characters).
"There's plenty of challenges that require the opponent cars to act in different ways to what they do in standard OutRun mode," Millard reveals. "They'll try and block you more, they get more difficult as the game progresses and they become more intelligent and try and do everything they can to beat you that they wouldn't do normally." Also, as part of the unlockable features promised, expect some of these to feature extra tracks, more music and additional cars, including the prospect of tuned Ferraris.
Sumo is keen to maintain that this is not simply the recycling of existing components. "It isn't just stuff you've seen before," insists Millard. "Where we've been able to we've tried to bring a new mechanic to the experience and Sega has been very accommodating with that. From a design perspective, I'm really pleased with the amount of variety we've managed to get in. I was worried at first that it would just feel like an add-on mode, but it does feel like a principal singleplayer mode.
"One thing you don't realise about OutRun is that we think of it as race game and Sega Japan's actual definition of it is that it's 'a beautiful journey'. And that's something we've tried to enhance - it's not just about racing someone, there's more stuff to do than just race and do the standard tasks. There are a few extras. I'm confident fans of OutRun will be pleased with what we've done."
Based on current form, there's no reason to doubt him. Indeed, Sumo's apparent ability to handle such a prestigious project as competently as you'd expect Sega's own in-house team to will be of great reassurance to the game's many followers. We leave Sumo in a far more relaxed mood than when we arrived.