Hydro Thunder Hurricane coming to the XBLA

By Dog of Thunder, 6 years ago
Years ago when the "next generation" was 32-bit, it seemed like all the major consoles had a water based racing title as a graphical showpiece for their system. I'm counting WipeOut for the Playstation, despite not actually being water based. Two of the most successful were Wave Race 64 for the N64 and Hydro Thunder for the Dreamcast. While it's incredibly unlikely for a Wave Race 64 follow up to be featured on a Microsoft system, today some history was made as Hydro Thunder is back from the dead.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane is the long, long awaited follow-up to Midway's Dreamcast racer. While Midway may be defunct the follow up is being developed by Vector Studios and being published by Microsfot Game Studios making this one a XBLA exclusive.

Microsoft Game Studios and developer Vector Unit today announced Hydro Thunder Hurricane, an Xbox LIVE Arcade-exclusive sequel to the legendary Midway speedboat racing arcade game. Featuring all-new, over-the-top themed environments, rocket-powered speedboats, gorgeous visuals, and amazing dynamic water physics, Hydro Thunder Hurricane is the adrenaline dripping sequel fans have been waiting for.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane includes 8 brand new "theme park" environments, each set in a different location around the globe. Each world is packed with animated surprises, destructible objects, and special events that players trigger in-game. New game modes include Ring Master, a series of slalom-style challenges with progressive difficulties;Gauntlet, an explosive new take on time trial; and a series of multi-event Championships. Fan favorite speedboats from the original Hydro Thunder also make a return like Razorback, Cutthroat, and the flying saucer shaped Rad Hazard with beautifully redesigned models, multiple unlockable skins, and articulated boost animations with massive rockets folding out from hidden compartments. Each boat features unique handling characteristics.

"We're huge fans of the original Hydro Thunder," says Matt Small, Creative Director at Vector Unit. "There's so much there that already works -- the exhilarating boost speeds, the crazy shortcuts, the gigantic jumps and drop-offs. We knew we wanted to keep all of that -- even add more of it. At the same time, we had to bring something new to the table, something more than just recreating the original game with high-res graphics."

Technical Director Ralf Knoesel adds, "We decided to take the ideas that worked from the original, and then start over from scratch. The water physics engine is completely new. Everything affects the racing surface -- the boats leave wakes behind them that other boats can jump off or draft in, falling rocks and explosions create huge waves, we've got wave machines, whirlpools, the works. The water is always changing, so you never get exactly the same race twice."

Hydro Thunder Hurricane introduces support for 8-player online racing on Xbox LIVE.. The game also allows for local split screen multiplayer with up to 4 players -- or any combination of local and online play. In addition to races, players can team up in the new Rubber Ducky game mode.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane is showcasing at Penny Arcade Expo East at booth #811 this weekend. The game launches summer 2010, exclusively available only on Xbox LIVE Arcade.
Personally, I can not wait to see what "Rubber Ducky" mode is all about. Yeah, he makes bath time much more fun, but what can he do for my futuristic speedboat?

Here's the PAX trailer for Hydro Thunder Hurricane and just judging by this one clip, it already looks like one of the most graphically impressive Arcade titles: