The classic Test Drive series is about to transfer hands. According to a press release published on Gamasutra, Bigben Interactive now owns the rights to “use and develop the TEST DRIVE brand from the Atari group and announces its project to develop new titles from the franchise Test Drive Unlimited.”
Things get a little complicated from there. Atari still “retains all rights to sell all previously-released Test Drive games,” which certainly will include the classic Test Drive series from the 1990s, as well as the original Test Drive Unlimited games. That’s a strong deal on Atari’s part; Test Drive Unlimited was a well received title in the Test Drive franchise, landing largely positive reviews when it was first released in 2006. Even Test Drive Unlimited 2 was met with relative critical acclaim, despite its glaring technical issues. Bigben Interactive looks interested in capitalizing on the Unlimited series going forward.
“We are more than confident with respect to the quality of this franchise, which is loved by so many players,” said Bigben Interactive CEO Alain Falc. “Our teams are very enthusiastic at the idea of being able to work on this license, which has already proven its worth – the game Test Drive Unlimited 2 sold 1.8 million units.”
Bigben Interactive previously distributed Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends, which was developed by Slightly Mad Studios and published by Atari. Breaking away from the Test Drive Unlimited series’ open-world gameplay, the game returned to Test Drive’s arcade racer root from the ’90s. However, the game was panned by critics, scoring the title mixed reviews across sites.
Returning to the Test Drive Unlimited games is a very promising step from Bigben Interactive, but it’s hard to say whether the company’s new titles will be strong or lackluster. Check back as more news develops with Bigben’s prospective plans for the series.