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New open world MMO racing game takes 200 hours to unlock the best cars

We went hands-on with Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown to find out when we'd be able to drive a Bugatti in KT Racing's new driving game.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown is the upcoming MMO driving game from French developer KT Racing. The studio, which includes developers with experience on motorsports releases like the WRC series, V-Rally 4, and TT Isle of Man, plans to launch Solar Crown this September. But you should know that it might not be the instantly gratifying experience you’ve come to expect from similar games.

Described by associate game director Guillaume Guinet as a “driving game, not a racing game,” Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown sees you starting from the bottom and battling your way to international celebrity status via a series of events across a 1:1 reproduction of Hong Kong Island and its 600 km of drivable roads.

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“Test Drive is not a game where you will have many cars,” Guinet explains to me at a recent hands-on preview in Paris. You’ll need to explore the game’s open world, competing in a variety of race modes and challenges to earn money and experience to increase your reputation and wealth. Only through perseverance will you then be able to add luxury cars to your garage. “Maybe the car you want is something you cannot have for now,” he adds, “It will take maybe 100 to 200 hours to have access to them.”

Guinet gives the example of a Citroen costing around 20 Solar Crowns – the game’s primary currency – whereas something like a Bugatti costs seven million. In fact, the first person to own a Bugatti in the game’s testing period played 200 hours to reach the luxurious milestone. Guinet is also keen to express that each car has been lovingly designed so that it feels unique. “If you take the Bugatti Veyron, it’s totally different from the Ferrari F40,” he explains. “We want each car independently to have a perfect representation of what it is.” Guinet is so confident in the game’s realistic portrayal of the cars that he says if you want to try an Aston Martin in real life, “you just have to try it in the game. It’s the same feeling.”

That representation includes implementing the manufacturer’s paint colors, rims, interiors, and even engine noises. Driving around Hong Kong Island in my newly acquired Nissan GTR, I was surprised to see I could even wind down the windows for a clearer view of the city.

With Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown planning to add more features every three months after launch, I’m excited to see the other cars I can work my way towards when the game releases on September 12, 2024.

If you’re looking for more massive maps to explore, we’ve got a list of the best open-world games you can play right now. Alternatively, browse our calendar list of upcoming games for other releases to look forward to.

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