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After an intriguing slip of the tongue piqued our interest at a Sega showcase in London yesterday, we quizzed Sega's Warren Leigh about the future of OutRun. Warren was producer for OutRun 2 and he told us that it is by no means a dead franchise, but that any new game would have to come from the right studio. And assuming it was arcade-based, as OutRun 2 was, logically Sega's Amusement Machine division AM#2 would handle its development. He also told us it would have to be built from the ground up for the new consoles as old code wouldn't do the series justice.
While it's good to know that the sunshine racer hasn't been forgotten, the reason we asked was due to a very interesting 'accidental' remark from Steve Lycett of Sumo Digital Ltd. During a presentation of Sega Superstars Tennis (on which Steve is the producer), he was making frequent references to "VT3" (Virtua Tennis 3) as the two tennis games share the same core engine. We were just thinking to ourselves how many times a day he must say "VT3" as he wasn't even pausing to make the abbreviation. And then, while talking about the challenge mode's rating system, he said just as easily: "...just like in OutRun 3". Pause. "...OutRun 2."
Of course he immediately laughed it off as "OutRun 3 confirmed!" and usually we'd put the slip down to saying "VT3" too many times. But when you consider Sumo was the team responsible for developing OutRun 2 and OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast for home consoles, if anyone knows of the existence of OutRun 3 (or has seen it in development), it would be Steve.
This is by no means confirmation that a new OutRun is in the works, but we'd love to think that there's something fast and red on the horizon.
Above: OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast was beautiful. More, please!