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Take a moment to pity the well-spoken Austrian gentleman showing us Ride to Hell today. In the excitement of debuting his new videogame to the world’s press, he’s gone and hired out a deliciously scuzzy biker bar in Asscrack, California for the event and populated it with real (judging by their odor and keenness on punching game journalists in the arm) bikers. The forced smile on his lips leads us to believe he’s slightly regretting extending the invite to them.
Hooting and yowling, they get a little too excited by the combat demonstration. When a bike is wrecked to demonstrate the game’s Havok-enabled physics, one of the bikers yells out, “We’ve all been there buddy!” before receiving a hearty slap on the back from his fellows and downing his stein of whiskey. Meanwhile, the same greying biker who’s been staring at us from across the bar for the past half hour and stroking his knuckles is starting to worry us.
But let’s reverse a moment, shall we? We’ve come to the musty anus of California, USA, to view the forthcoming Ride to Hell, the debut title from Deep Silver, a development team once more famously known for their work as Rockstar Vienna. However, unlike Rockstar, Deep Silver are willing to show off their wares early. Meaning the gameplay demonstration we are treated to today is off a very early build of the game, which sadly lacked pedestrians, animals, advanced traffic systems and some overall graphical polish. But let’s push past that, shall we?
Above: Bikers have been known to dabble in chemically enhanced perception
Ride to Hell is set in California during the 1960s, and puts you in the dusty boots of one Ray Kaminski, who’s just received an honorable discharge after spending the last year in a Vietnamese POW camp. He returns to his hometown, the decaying outpost of Dead End, to find he has few prospects and even less money. Thankfully, his old friend Oswald has kept his motorcycle mothballed, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s introduced to a motley band of bikers and given free reign to terrorize the locals.
Just how much free reign? Well, Deep Silver have licensed real-time satellite data for California, and compressed the landscape so you have just the interesting bits left. In total we’re told that there’s just over 95 square km of game world. If you’re into your statistics, that’s just over twice the size of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and three times the size of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Of course, we all remember GTA: San Andreas contained huge swathes of empty wilderness, so the question remains just how Deep Silver plan on filling their frankly gigantic game world.
But enough early doubt. The coolest feature shown off today is one that’s central to Ride to Hell’s biker conceit: modding your ride. Though you start off with Ray’s rickety cherry-red Triumph, it’s only a matter of time before you’re able to build new bikes entirely from scratch, provided you have the cash. Deep Silver even go so far to say that if you happen to be the proud owner of a motorcycle, or just want to recreate the legendary Captain America chopper from the classic ’60s road movie Easy Rider, you’ll be able to replicate your ride in-game using the toolset. From forks to frame, we’re told there are upwards of one trillion combinations, and that’s before you even consider things such as paint jobs and decaling.
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