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Thread: Detroit Featured in Video Game
02-24-2005, 04:44 PM #1
Detroit Featured in Video Game
I'm suprised someone else hasn't posted this yet... Kinda cool...
From today's Freep
In "Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition," a customized 1964 Chevy Impala zooms past Comerica Park. Detroit is one of three locations in the latest edition of the popular street-racing video game series.
BY HEATHER NEWMAN and KELLEY L. CARTER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS
Rockstar Games, maker of the blockbuster "Grand Theft Auto" series of video games, is about to put Detroit on the map -- the game map, that is.
Detroit is one of just three locations to be featured in its upcoming "Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition," the latest game in the incredibly popular street-racing series that is all about cool cars and even cooler places to be. This is the first time that Detroit will be featured so prominently in an A-list video game. And it's not just the city's streets in a starring role: About 20 songs by artists from Detroit's revered underground electronic music scene are used in the game's soundtrack.
"Since 'Midnight Club 3' captures the current scene in America, we decided to have the game take place in the three cities most important to American street racing: San Diego, Atlanta and Detroit," said Jay Panek, game producer for Rockstar San Diego. "Detroit is the birthplace of the automobile and where this country's love for cars originates. Of all the cities, Detroit has the best appreciation for muscle cars, like the '69 Charger, a personal favorite."
It's unusual for games to feature cities like Detroit in such realistic detail. Most driving games focus on coastal cities, such as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco, or feature swanky overseas locations. And though the "Midnight Club" series focuses on a typically illegal activity -- street racing -- it's been largely controversy-free, thanks mostly to the fact that it doesn't feature the kind of antiestablishment violence (smooshing pedestrians, battling police officers) that has gotten Rockstar Games like "Grand Theft Auto" into trouble.
The "Midnight Club" series has been a consistent best seller, thanks both to the production quality of the game -- it looks and drives so smoothly you really feel like you're hurtling down city streets at 100 m.p.h. -- and the attention to detail in its cityscapes. Rockstar reps spent some quality time in Detroit getting the look and feel of the city and even consulted with top members of Submerge, a Detroit-based company that is known worldwide for producing and distributing electronic music.
That said, don't expect a slavish reproduction of the Motor City.
"We don't re-create exact city layouts," Panek said. "They're architectural caricatures of the cities they represent. The basic street layout and key landmarks are there, but the cities have been modeled to maximize the driving experience.
"For example, in Detroit, you can race through Greektown, but it won't be a street-for-street replica. Unfortunately, real cities don't have the sort of shortcuts and jumps we want to offer gamers. We take the real city and apply imagination to it. For example, we'll make it possible for you to do things like hit a jump and land on an elevated train track, then as you continue to race you might have the train coming up behind you so you have to quickly find a stairwell to drive down."
Detroit's techno music scene is what initially attracted Rockstar Games to the city. The gaming company originally wanted Underground Resistance -- a local collective that has been making electronic music for nearly 20 years -- to be featured on the soundtrack of another game, "State of Emergency."
Rockstar games approached Mike Banks (also known as Mad Mike), who founded Submerge and is a member of Underground Resistance, commonly called UR. Submerge does just about everything: recording, management, distribution, licensing and publishing.
"The founder of Rockstar Games ... came here when Mike Banks was working on construction of the Submerge building. And basically, Mike Banks is not really down for commercial exploitation of his music whatsoever. So he gave him the big Mad Mike UR speech and kicked him out," said Ade Henderson-Mainor, president of Submerge Recordings. "But J.D. Simpson, our general counsel for Submerge, kept the relationship alive for years. When I came on board in 2002, we were able to rekindle that relationship."
"So we said we will do this deal if we have Detroit in the game," said Henderson-Mainor, who also will be a key player in this year's Memorial Day weekend electronic music festival, which was announced Wednesday. "And they said OK, only if you let us use the music."
Among electronic music aficionados, UR is known for its spare and hard-driving beats and strong anticommercial stance. This is the sound of secretive dance parties, not mainstream radio music. And it's not the kind of stuff usually featured in video games.
"It's more mainstream, club and television dance music," Henderson-Mainor said of typical video game fare. "It's not underground dance music. It's not like the stuff that we make. So they get cool points having us being a part of this game."
All of the music was preexisting, not created for the game, with Submerge handling the licensing. Featured artists include Henderson-Mainor (known as Mr. De), UR, B. Calloway, the Suburban Knight, Orlando Moore and the Tek Brothers.
The game's streetscape images made available so far show some familiar Detroit landmarks (such as Comerica Park and some popular downtown businesses) and have a definite Detroit feel. The game features more than 60 real-life cars, including a heavy selection of Detroit muscle, all of which can be customized with real parts.
"Detroit looks great in the game," Henderson-Mainor said. "People will really be impressed. Rockstar Games has a reputation for being risqué and violent. This game isn't. You can't run people over and see blood. It's not that sort of thing. I went out to New York two months ago and played the video game. It's fun. I wasn't any good at it; I was crashing up the cars. But they went and got licenses from all the original manufacturers, all the rims with the real part numbers, too. It's really interesting if you're a real car person."
The game is named "DUB Edition" because of the popular automobile customizing magazine, which acted as a creative consultant on the game. It's due out April 12 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It hasn't been rated yet, but previous installments in the series were rated T for Teen.
Last edited by XAM Dan; 02-24-2005 at 04:49 PM.
02-24-2005, 05:21 PM #2
Do you think they'll have a red Navigator in the game?
Then it really would be authentic, you could be driving that with the Channel 7 van chasing you.World Series or Bust. Guess What? Bust........again.
02-24-2005, 05:38 PM #3
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- Jul 2003
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Green car with gold spinners. Classic!Up above, aliens hover, making home movies for the folks back home.