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NASCAR Heat 3 Preview, Screenshots, Cover Art and Trailer

NASCAR Heat 3

NASCAR Heat 3 Preview, Screenshots, Cover Art and Trailer

Although the season kicked off what seems like an eternity ago, NASCAR Heat the game is still around two months away from release. For those who are confused by this, developer 704 Games want the release date to coincide with the start of the real NASCAR playoffs. The same development team has also offered a current season update at the beginning of each new season to allow its community to race along with the current schedule, sponsors and new drivers — so an early September release date fits perfectly here. This is essentially year three for the new NASCAR Heat series, and while the title is going to be around for the foreseeable future (thankfully), the third year of development is an incredibly important one for any developer. The second installment of NASCAR Heat saw some favorable upgrades in terms of 40-man online racing, the ability to race online with friends and AI drivers, deeper career mode, and of course the additions of two new series, in Xfinity and Camping World Truck series. So where does 704 take the series in year three? That’s a great question, and thankfully I was able to sit down with the development team for a bit and find those exact answer(s) out.

New Series

Fantasy Dirt Series – The most exciting addition for many will be an unofficial dirt series that will be utilized as the jumping point to one’s career. It’s not an officially licensed series, but still provides an extremely unique experience to the user, and one that will conjure up memories of the old Dirt to Daytona.

Without giving away too much, there are some incredibly fun dirt tracks to race at, and while you may be familiar with some of them, others will be a brand new experience. In my time spent with the new dirt series, I can honestly say that it was time well invested. The controls are sharp and intuitive, and strike a nice balance between sim and fun. The physics felt strong, and the cars responded as one would anticipate. The bottom line here is this, while it may not be iRacing (which it was never meant to be), it still provides an incredibly fun and realistic take on dirt track racing, and the ability to race these tracks online will see a high level of popularity.

Deeper Career Mode

On top of the news series itself, career mode has been revamped, and will not only be a deeper, more involved experience, it will also allow the user to choose the path as owner or driver. Players will now choose between the two, with each path offering a different set of requirements and responsibilities. Choose the path of team owner, and not only will you be responsible for the results on the track behind the wheel, you also carry the burden of building that team up, including vehicle and shop upgrades, striking the balance of experienced employee versus return of investment, and much more. While a lot of fans in the racing community love this RPG-type element, if it’s not to your liking the path of the driver-only is always available for those who just seek the on-track experience.

Revamped AI

In addition to the new dirt series, 704 has spent a lot of time retooling and adjusting the AI. This was interesting for me as I thought the AI in NASCAR Heat 2 was incredibly solid, but I love the fact that the developers are constantly to trying to improve the game and series in multiple ways. In my time with racing the AI, I saw a bit more aggressiveness and smarter lines being taken, and the racing felt organic. When speaking to the developers about what the end-goal was here, they simply said they wanted to create an AI that took chances like a human opponent would, but still maintained a certain level of on-track awareness.

Physics and Handling

A new series and an upgraded stable of AI opponents is not a bad way to start, thankfully there is more, and one of those improvements is the upgraded physics and handling. What I can say without giving away too much is the handling felt as good as ever. The game will now also provide new levels of difficulty with a series of setups for each level that allow the driver to decide which setup fits the best for the track. As we get closer to release, I will dive much deeper into this option because I believe it warrants it. Just know that you should be excited about this inclusion, and I think you will be when you finally get to experience it for yourself.

New Online Experience

If you have followed and played video games recently at all, then you know fully well about esports and competitive gaming taking center stage lately, and the importance of what it brings. Not to be left behind, 704 will introduce new NASCAR Heat 3 online offerings in terms of leaderboards, weekly challenges and a competition that will ultimately find the winner down in Miami racing for a digital championship. Once again, we will explore online options, modes and challenges much more as we get closer to release.

There are a plethora of changes, upgrades, and new inclusions in NH3, and while many may be subtle or small in stature, they definitely make NASCAR Heat 3 feel like more than just a new driver lineup and set of schemes. Some of these improvements include new camera views, new pre- and post-race presentations, new in-race views, and a new graphics and lighting engine. There is definitely a lot more to preview and discuss, and we will stay on of it all the way through release. For now, though, I think it is a fair assessment to say that I can feel and see a legitimate difference in this iteration of the NASCAR Heat series, and look forward to bringing the community another detailed preview soon.

Here’s the official NASCAR Heat 3 cover art and trailer below.

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Discussion
  1. radney
    When you say new lighting engine, does that mean day to night or early day to late day is in the game?

    It’s not a true day to night transition, but changes do happen to make it feel like a transition is happening.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    kneebon5
    Uh, dirt late models on dirt road courses. That is not a thing in any form of racing. I see where this game is headed.

    It is literally just one road course, and it was actually quite accessible and fun to race. I understand the concern completely, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see this course as one of the most popular raced online (but I understand)
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    OPDriver
    Looking nice! Will there be in depth customization for career mode, as far as the paint schemes go?

    That I am not sure - but can find out. We really spent most of the time talking about the changes to career, online, Dirt, and the AI, that some of the smaller details were not addressed - that’s why I always try and hit the office up at least 3-4 times before release...to get these questions answered(and I will)
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Looking forward to seeing what changes were done to career mode. I've had the itch to play a new Nascar game for about a year now, but the new Heat series doesn't seem to have much for the sim fan (upgrading car, parts, pit team, etc). I'm really hoping Heat 3 finally delivers because I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger on a $40 game that is a decade and a half old (Nascar Thunder 2004).
    Curious regarding the career mode paths. The older EA NASCAR games had it where you would run contracts with other teams until you built up enough money to start (or buy) and maintain your own team, but this kinda reads like you only pick one or the other at the start unless I'm reading it wrong.
    Can you own a team and still run contract races with others in a different series? For example, owning a team in the dirt series, but can also have a contract to race for another team in the truck series for money.
    NFL2102
    Curious regarding the career mode paths. The older EA NASCAR games had it where you would run contracts with other teams until you built up enough money to start (or buy) and maintain your own team, but this kinda reads like you only pick one or the other at the start unless I'm reading it wrong.
    Can you own a team and still run contract races with others in a different series? For example, owning a team in the dirt series, but can also have a contract to race for another team in the truck series for money.

    Career mode was not active in the build that I played - what I will probably do is do another preview dedicated to career mode only...which will be soon, I’d say by beginning of August
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    bluengold34_OS
    Career mode was not active in the build that I played - what I will probably do is do another preview dedicated to career mode only...which will be soon, I’d say by beginning of August
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    Ah, I get ya. I look forward to seeing the preview when it happens. Either way, the career mode looks promising.
    bc35bcer
    ... is there a full paint booth like fans want?

    This is the biggest question for me. Tons of added replay value if something like this made it in.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    beau21
    This is the biggest question for me. Tons of added replay value if something like this made it in.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    I have asked in multiple meetings for a paint booth that replicated that of the one in EAs 2009 game. I have not seen this years booth, so not sure...yet
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    bluengold34_OS
    I have asked in multiple meetings for a paint booth that replicated that of the one in EAs 2009 game. I have not seen this years booth, so not sure...yet
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    Yes yes yes.
    I have such fond memories of that game and the community at that time. Sharing designs and people doing customs requests for others.
    Loved that game and also loved career mode on the PSP version around the same time.
    If I could mix elements from the PSP career with the 09 game we would have for me the perfect NASCAR game. Unfortunately I can already tell this is miles away from that dream.
    bluengold34_OS
    Not this year - although Microsoft is pushing hard for it(so maybe a patch)
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    Hmmm.... this is interesting - so Microsoft is pushing developers for 4K and HDR support, even those the scale of 704 Games? I'd love to see it happen for NASCAR Heat 3 though; I can't get over how much of a difference that made in the looks of Forza 7! I'll be a NASCAR Heat 3 buyer the day that patch is released!
    OnlookerDelay
    Hmmm.... this is interesting - so Microsoft is pushing developers for 4K and HDR support, even those the scale of 704 Games? I'd love to see it happen for NASCAR Heat 3 though; I can't get over how much of a difference that made in the looks of Forza 7! I'll be a NASCAR Heat 3 buyer the day that patch is released!

    Can only say that during my time in the office was told that MS was really pushing them (704) for 4k and HDR support, for NH3. The vibe wasn't confident to get it in this year, but one never knows.
    bluengold34_OS
    Can only say that during my time in the office was told that MS was really pushing them (704) for 4k and HDR support, for NH3. The vibe wasn't confident to get it in this year, but one never knows.

    Thanks for your insight on this. BTW, I only picked up NASCAR Heat 2 a couple of months ago, and I'm really enjoying it still. That's why I'll be able to tolerate the wait for 3 in 4K so much easier ;)
    OnlookerDelay
    Thanks for your insight on this. BTW, I only picked up NASCAR Heat 2 a couple of months ago, and I'm really enjoying it still. That's why I'll be able to tolerate the wait for 3 in 4K so much easier ;)

    No problem. I'm actually most excited about getting back to the office and spending some serious time with career mode. It's been expanded this year, and I really want to see by how much. Career mode in 2 was solid, but lacked real depth and authenticity - hoping the new additions really push it further and deeper(that's what she said)
    goillini03
    I am hoping for a positive career mode. I enjoyed moving up through the ranks in the old EA games.

    Agreed- the older EA games provided solid and fun career modes.
    I know they are too far down the track for this but maybe for the next build or a patch I wrote this in the impressions thread for the last game
    I would love the ability to customise the championship season like in MotoGP & F1 where you pick what tracks and in what order you race for the season so if I wanted to start with Daytona and then go to Indy then Texas and then Poco I could.
    Thanks again for your hard work and taking questions, Bob! :cheers:
    You know me, so you know my question already; I know you were playing an early-ish build but is it running smooth, fps-wise?
    I'm also hoping for a noticeable graphic improvement (not necessarily 100% overhaul) along with smooth performance. It's pretty critical to have it smooth when driving in traffic.
    Thanks!
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