Test Drive Unlimited Interview

July 20, 2006

In this latest exclusive interview, eToychest spoke with Eden’s Ahmed Boukhelifa, the producer on Atari’s upcoming Xbox 360 MOORG (Massively Open Online Racing GAME), Test Drive Unlimited, to get his insight into the game, as well as what the game’s success means for Atari.It seems as if every time a story regarding Atari comes up in the news today, it’s always preceded by feelings of dread. The one-time console developer in the 80s has become the epitome of a company that seemingly cannot catch a break, its recent history punctuated by failed releases and financial hardship. The company has even gone so far as to sell of the bulk of its recognized IPs, including Driver and Timeshift, as well as lowing the cost of its current-gen offerings to just $19.99 in a desperate attempt to stay afloat.

Also reeking of desperation is today’s news when Test Drive Unlimited arrives on store shelves this September for the Xbox 360, it will do so under the comparatively budget price of $39.95. A treat for gamers, to be sure, but you cannot help but feel that if this and the forthcoming next-gen survival horror title Alone in the Dark do not so well, Atari’s future could very well be cut short.

But things are not all doom and gloom just yet, and there is still the very real possibility that both titles will sell through the roof, especially considering the fact that the Xbox 360 in particular is not exactly bristling with new titles on store shelves. We recently spoke with Eden’s Ahmed Boukhelifa, the producer on Test Drive Unlimited, to get his insight into the game, as well as what it means for Atari.

Hello, and thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. So, what other titles have you worked on in the past? How has working on Test Drive Unlimited compared with those projects?

We’re no stranger to the racing genre. Our past titles include Need For Speed Porsche Unleashed, the V-Rally series and currently we’re developing a first-person shooter, Alone in the Dark, in addition to Test Drive Unlimited.

Over the years, the name Test Drive has become more of a brand name than a racing franchise, with the name being attached to several different styles of racing games. Why has Atari decided with Test Drive Unlimited to take the series back to its roots, so to speak?

Well, when we sat down with Atari, we discussed creating the A