TDU Connect Shows First Solar Crown Gameplay, Private Beta Coming Soon

Despite the recent strike announcement at Kylotonn, the TDU Connect broadcast aired as scheduled, presenting Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown and showing about half an hour of proper in-game footage.

Most of the video consists of six people casually enjoying the game together, three of them being Kylotonn members Alain Jarnioux (Creative Director), Camille Courtier (Associate Producer) and Guillaume Guinet (Lead Game Designer). They are joined by Alan Boiston (Team VVV), Alex VII (TDU content creator) and Blackpanthaa (Racing games contente creator). The group gathers together and go on an adventure around the maps, going to both Streets and Sharps headquarters while performing various activities before engaging in a proper race.

lobby.jpg solarhotel.jpg
Three Kylotonn members and three guests got to explore Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown for the gameplay video.

Factions with Unique HQs​

Sharps and Streets hearquarters have their own distinct feeling and VIP area, exclusive to their respective members, but everyone can visit the main area of both. Streets will gather in a sort of underground club, with a modern layout of neons in a synthwave color palette, while Sharps will meet in a much quieter posh hotel displaying vintage luxury and ancient art.

Pick a side: Streets and Sharps, the game's factions, have unique HQs available to them.

Aside from the locations' visuals, there seems to be no functional differences. Unless you count dancing - but do not worry, Sharps, you are still allowed to go to the Streets HQ to show off your moves on the dancefloor.


While the dancefloor only opens in the Streets HQ, members of the Sharps can still enter and participate.

Car Life MMO​

While this is probably not the feature most are hyped for, it shows that TDU:SC keeps the spirit of its predecessors alive, with the Test Drive Unlimited series being more than just racing games: TDU is a car life MMO. Sharps versus Streets is just like the Horde or Alliance factions in World of Warcraft, for instance. And just like the guests of the video shown, some players will most likely get really invested in defending their own clan's honor. TDU:SC will provide ways to settle the score quite literally through races of course, but also challenges, as evidenced by the FRIM challenge screen.


Settling the score: FRIM includes added challenges and bonuses for the ride around Hong Kong Island.

Speaking of FRIM, the system looks very similar to what it was in TDU and TDU2, with similar UI layout and bonuses for similar tasks. Surprisingly though, other things seem to have been added outside of FRIM's scope, as we can see multiple times players going past speed traps and getting a score out of 3 stars - a mechanic taken straight out of the latest Need for Speed games. However, considering how much the two previous TDU games defined the genre, it is only fair for it to "steal" a feature from another game now.

Much like in similar titles, a speed trap mechanic has been implemented.

Another feature inspired by the latest Need for Speed games are gas stations, which occupy a similar role and serve for cleaning and repairing your car. This means that damage, at the very least visual (there is no evidence so far supporting damage affecting performance or not yet, although my personal bet would be they're only cosmetic).

Squeaky clean: Cars can be brought back to tip-top shape at gas stations - damage seems to be only cosmetic for now, though.

Dense Road Network​

The map itself seems interesting: The roads look fun to drive, and it seems the land features a pretty reasonably dense road network, even in the mountains. It will likely be packed with easter eggs and collectibles as well, seeing that the game's HUD is indicating a nearby wreck to players several times during their motorized explorations.


Lots of roads to drive: TDU Solar Crown offers a dense network of driving surfaces, even in the mountains of Hong Kong Island.

Of course, to enjoy the roads, you need to enjoy the physics first - or maybe the other way around? Feel free to tell us in the comments what you think about that. Eihter way, the physics, while they don't seem to be trying to be hardcore simulation, look like they are "grounded in reality" arcade. The overall speeds and cornering capabilities of the cars do not seem to be complete fantasy, like in Forza Horizon, for instance. Cornering speeds are believable, braking distances are not looking foolish and cars are apparently able to understeer and oversteer.

Interestingly, Guillaume, who was driving a Ford Raptor which impressed the other players by its speed, mentioned semi-slick tyres. It is unclear if it was said as a joke, but information pointing to several tyre compounds and performance tuning existed before this broadcast.


The driving physics of TDU Solar Crown seem to be grounded in reality, but arcadey in their core.

Collisions with Room for Improvement​

The collision and jumping physics look a bit more rough, but those parts are hard to get right and the only game which seems to pull this off correctly is - and it is pretty much purpose built to do that. Keep in mind that it is an alpha version from a studio which doesn't have triple A budget that is shown in the video.

The graphics might not be the best, and the 30FPS video does not really allow us to see how smoothly the game runs, but the experience seems enjoyable. At least, TDU fans are likely to get what they want out of this game, with lots of community features and incentives to just drive around with friends.


The final piece of information delivered by the show is that players will have a chance to try the game during a three-day private beta period, starting on July 24th. It does sound like a proper development beta, considering the time still left before the release (likely in Q1 of 2024), rather than a marketing beta like it is often done nowadays.

Of course, the question of the resolution of Kylotonn's strike still hangs above the game's head - it could affect the schedule of TDU:SC even further if the developers, their management and publisher Nacon cannot get to terms in a timely manner.

Your Thoughts​

What are your thoughts about the first gameplay footage? Are you excited for Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown? Let us know in the comments below!

All images in this article are directly taken from the TDU Connect video.
About author
Global motorsports enjoyer, long time simracer, Gran Turismo veteran, I've been driving alongside top drivers since the dawn of online pro leagues on Gran Turismo, and qualified for the only cancelled FIA GTC World Tour. I've left aside competitive driving in 2020 to dedicate myself to IGTL, a simracing organisation hosting high quality events for pro racers and customers, to create with friends the kind of events we wished we could have had. We strive to provide the best events for drivers and the best content for viewers, and want to help the simracing scene grow and shine further in the global esports scene.


And after watching the video with the devs promoting driving like asshats and crashing the other drivers the game goes straight to my blacklist. I can play with arcadey phisics if they are decent, i love big open worlds to drive on it but encourage crashes in a race instead punishing it and laugh at it like its something fun... you have my middle finger instead my money.

I was watching all the footage and whilst the gameplay looked amusing, the frame rate did not. Loading screens, etc, seemed smooth so it looks like the engine was struggling, rather than the video capture/streaming solution was buggy.

A delay makes sense, perhaps the optimisation pass will come later...
lack of sim-like physics.... TDU2 was fun, but probably wouldn't like that anymore too
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This looks like a game that is only suitable for teenagers that have time to grind away at it.
It instantly lost me by doing one of my pet peeves. A car chase with two vehicles that aren't comparable, doing things they couldn't do in real life. I hate seeing these things in movies, like a pic up truck racing a Ferrari. So this seems like a game that does everything that annoys me.
If only a modding team could convert those maps to AC or AC2. Thank god that at least we have the Shutoko Revival Project in AC, but very sadly it lost quite a lot of steam in the last 2 or 3 years.

Bonus idea: euro truck simulator maps converted to AC or AC2 and few realistic truck mods.

This game has it's place, but it is not meant for us simracers. This game is meant for kids and casuals, and that's OK, it doesn't take away licenses from other developers without releasing anything worth the money, nor claim to be a simulator like the real racing simulator that it isn't.
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I didn't know about this 'game' and thought because of its name 'test drve' that it
was a simulator... It looks like a hardcore arcade game, even those people are
using only gamepads, no wheels. Forget this thing.
After 3 years from the announcement what we have seen is really disappointing. :thumbsdown::thumbsdown: And the graphics from PS2 are the least worst of all. The map isn't "huge" as promised, driving physics rather confusing, beta testers who can't drive and crash at every turn. And let's not talk about the average 3 FPS for all streaming. :confused::confused: Ok that's an Alpha Version but my Hype has dropped badly, I don't think they will have my money in 2024. They could have exploited the franchise much better. We'll see. :thumbsup::thumbsup:
It's always sad to see the same comments of elitist simracers on news related to arcade/simcade games... What are they even doing there? What's the point of reading and commenting on news about games which are not targetted to you?

No, the opposite of simaracers is not casuals nor kids, it can be hardcore gamers who love racing games, it can even be non elitist simracers who also like arcade games.

And of course the presentation of a game targetting a wide audience will be made using a gamepad...

And no, open world games don't have to be Forza Horizon or as good as FH to have the right to exist. Why so many people want to restrict whole genres to one game?!...

I'm still waiting for the usual comment associating any arcade game to "mario cart" (with a "c" of course), don't disappoint me :)
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My thoughts... I rather throw same amount of my money straight in the bin/or burn what they are going to be asking for it. What a pile of...
I cannot seriously say Test Drive Unlimited, and especially Test Drive Unlimited 2 were "great products". Their driving physics were wonky, TDU2's story forced and I recall seeing my friends only a third of the time.
However, they were saved by a map like no other, a then new concept to racing games, and a great car list (in TDU 1's case).
It seems TDU Solar Crown continues the lineage of a mediocre product ... but time has moved on (to less captivating cars) and their map choice is too average - and limited.

Before you loose your cool, be told Test Drive Unlimited is my all-time favourite racing game. There was no game which gave me a similar feeling than TDU when I bought my XJ220 (for 160.000 ingame-$) in Honolulu and first cruised the island.

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