For some Sega fans, the company’s real legacy is tied into the studio’s contributions to the arcade scene. Forget Sonic; to these gamers, Sega’s golden age was somewhere around the time that they were churning out arcade classics like Afterburner, Hang-On, and Daytona USA.
If you never got the chance to experience a pure Sega arcade came uncompromised by the conversion downgrades dictated by the technology of previous consoles, a rather unexpected second chance to do so has emerged in Japan.
Sega of Japan has announced that they are developing and manufacturing a new arcade racing game called Sega World Drivers Championship. This game is actually a continuation of the Super GT series – known as Scud Race in Japan – which was famous for its supped up versions of common cars and high-speed street races. This new game will continue those general design principles as it features a mix of modified common cars – such as the Toyota Prius and high-performance GT vehicles.
The big change, of course, is that this latest game is powered by the Unreal Engine 4 and sports the kind of graphics you associate with that technology. The cabinets themselves sport quite a few modern design overhauls as well. The most notable among these upgrades is the ability to save your profile to a machine and use it to race against other players nearby and at other arcades. However, Sega does warn that the limited number of machines does mean that players are not guaranteed to be matched up against a full field of other real-life racers for one of the game’s 10-player races.
Modern niceties aside, the big draw of this game is how gloriously retro it is. With its over-produced intro video and booming announcer, Sega World Drivers Championship looks and sounds like the kind of game we would have gotten if the arcade scene hadn’t faded away.
That being said, don’t get your hopes up that Sega will export these machines unless they bring them to a convention or celebration.
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