I was never much of an avid fan of the racing genre. I played a few arcade titles back in the day, and I futzed around a bit with one of the Gran Turismo games that a buddy of mine was super into at the time. But I mostly prefer my vehicle sims stuffed into an open-world action game like Grand Theft Auto (though I’m still not a fan of racing levels in otherwise non-racing games).

I think this mostly has to do with my performance when under fire, so to speak. I get nervous in competition, and I usually end up crapping the bed by either overthinking or overcompensating. This is why I tend to avoid competitive multiplayer games as well.

Then again, I also dislike snow in video games, so maybe this has nothing to do with anything and I just tend to dislike things for reasons that are flimsy at best.

In any case, I mostly ignored racing games in general for a good amount of time.

But then I stumbled upon Test Drive Unlimited. Released at the tail end of 2006, Unlimited was an open-world racing game set on a mostly faithful recreation of the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu, based on satellite imagery. For whatever reason, I fell hard for Test Drive Unlimited, spending a ludicrous amount of time mostly just driving around the gorgeous rendition of O’ahu, which seemed breathtaking at the time (I did end up running a few of the races, which were simultaneously relaxed yet grueling).

There was a sequel titled Test Drive Unlimited 2 in 2011, but by that point the magic of the original had worn off. I never returned to the series — or the racing genre as a whole.

But that might change with Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown. Developed by KT Racing and directed by Alain Jarniou (who worked on the original TDU game), Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown looks like it could rekindle the thrill I felt when playing Unlimited for countless hours, now a decade and a half in the rearview mirror.

I’ve always had an affinity for Hong Kong as a setting in films and games — I love seeing the neon signs that illuminate the streets as they overhang from adjacent buildings, with the streets themselves usually rain-soaked. It was this aesthetic that was one of the more impactful and lingering qualities of Sleeping Dogs, as well as countless films. So to see it brought to life in an Unlimited title? Let me tell you, I am looking forward to rearing ass down these narrow streets in some superhot performance car.

There is currently no release date for Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown listed on Steam, but some outlets are reporting a September 22, 2022 release date. You can check out the trailer below as you get ready to race through the 1:1 recreation of Hong Kong and what I can only assume is the surrounding countryside.

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