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Driver is a series of mission-based driving video games developed by Reflections Interactive (now Ubisoft Reflections), and originally published by GT Interactive and later by Atari. The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, driving, third-person shooting. Since the series began in there have been five installments released, with a sixth one on the way.

Installments

Main series

Driver: You Are the Wheelman

The first game of the Driver series was released for the PlayStation on June 30, 1999 in the US. It was later released for Game Boy Color in May of 2000, PC in September of 2000, and Mac in December of 2000. In the game you play as an undercover police officer named Tanner. It featured a storyline set in the 1970s and based in four real-life cities; Miamimarker, San Franciscomarker, Los Angelesmarker and New York Citymarker. It was the best selling game of the Driver series and an evolution of the freedom to explore a city as brought forth in the early "Grand Theft Auto" games.

Driver 2: The Wheelman is Back

The second installment in the Driver series was released for the PlayStation on November 13, 2000 in the US by Infogrames (now known as Atari), and later ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2002. It featured Officer Tanner once more, along with a new partner, Detective Tobias Jones, in four more real-life cities (Chicagomarker, Havanamarker, Las Vegasmarker, and Rio De Janeiromarker). It was the first game in the series to feature 2-player modes, curved roads, and the ability to get out of your car at any time in order to steal another car on the street.

Driv3r

The third installment in the Driver series and the first to get an M Rating by the ESRB, was released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox on June 21, 2004 in the United Statesmarker to generally poor reviews (despite new features such as the ability to use firearms). The game takes place in Miamimarker, Nicemarker and Istanbulmarker. It was subsequently followed by versions for the PC, and Game Boy Advance.The game sold rather well despite poor reviews, and Reflections paid notice to the complaints about the insipid story line, poor controls, and abundance of glitches in order to improve the series' standings with critics and gamers in the fourth installment of the series.

Driver: Parallel Lines

The fourth game in the series, Driver: Parallel Lines, was released March 14, 2006 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and June of 2007 for PC and Wii. It is the most violent of the series — the first one to receive an 18 rating in the UK. Reflections intended Parallel Lines to "return the series to its roots" by focusing more on driving.

The game differs greatly in other aspects from its predecessors, though, as the story no longer follows undercover police officer Tanner and the game takes place in only one location, New York Citymarker. The new main player's name is TK, a criminal rather than a cop. The game includes two time periods, 1978 and 2006, when the main player is sentenced to prison for 28 years and returns in 2006. While the game was an improvement over the disappointing Driv3r, it received mostly unimpressive reviews. However, unlike Driv3r, the game did not sell particularly well.

Related games

Mobile games

Driver: Vegas (released in 2006) and Driver: LA Undercover (released in 2007) are two mobile exclusive games featuring Officer Tanner, the protagonist of the first three Driver's. Vegas features his exploits in Las Vegasmarker in an attempt to exact revenge on Jericho after Driv3r, while LA Undercover (set two years later), features Tanner's exploits in Los Angelesmarker to take down the Los Angeles Mafia by working his way up the ladder.

Driver 76

On January 23, 2007, Gamespot reported that the Driver franchise would be coming to the PlayStation Portable, as Driver 76. Set in New York City in 1976, two years before the events in the first half of Driver: Parallel Lines, you take the role of Ray, TK's friend and a supporting character from Parallel Lines. The game was developed by Sumo Digital and Reflections, and was released on May 11, 2007.

Future

A new Driver installment is confirmed to be in development. It was confirmed to be in production in August 2006, when Ubisoft acquired the rights of the series from Atari. Sony then confirmed at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show that a new Driver was in development for the PlayStation 3. In June 2008, the BBC conducted reports on the computer game industry, among those reports were in-game, and development footage of the next Driver game. On 21 April 2009, Ubisoft registered the trademark Driver: The Recruit. Ubisoft did not comment about the rumors.

Film adaptation

In February 2003, Impact Pictures, the production team of Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt, announced that it had acquired the film and TV rights to adapt the Atari video game Driver. Screenwriters James DeMonaco, Todd Jason Harthan, and James Roday were developing a script at the time. Impact Pictures had originally intended to produce the film Driver to coincide with the release of the video game Driver 3. The following November, Impact Pictures announced its plans to produce a $50 million adaptation of Driver after wrapping up principal photography on Resident Evil: Apocalypse. In April 2006, Rogue Pictures acquired the film rights to Driver from Impact Pictures and Constantin Films, the production companies responsible for the Resident Evil film franchise. Roger Avary replaced the original screenwriters in writing the script for Driver, as well directing the film.

Prior to January 2007, Driver, having a budget of $48 million, was slated to shoot at Cinespace Studios' MT28 lot in Torontomarker, Canadamarker. Due to a waterfront revitalization project, the studio has been forced to move and the film has been put on hold.

Notes and references

  1. Driver 3 speeds onto the GBA - Game Boy Advance News at GameSpot


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