IMSA World Championship is a cancelled racing game that was in development by Studio 3DO for the unreleased 3DO / Panasonic / Matsushita M2 console. When 3DO sold their M2 hardware to Panasonic, IMSA was slowly postponed and then canned. The game had a great graphic engine for its time and it was one of the best “tech demos” to show the power of the M2. This project could have been lost forever, but on July 26th 2010 NikeX has released a playable beta version of IMSA Racing in the 3DO Zero Forums.
In the 3DOZ Forum we can also read more info about the game from one of its developers:
A while later, I started working on IMSA World Championship racing, which was 3DO’s main internally developed M2 game. The director of the game was Ed Rotberg, an industry veteran who was responsible for such classic arcade games as Battlezone and Star Wars Arcade. The lead programmer was Chuck Sommerville, who wrote the original Snakebyte (you know, that game where you drive a snake around and try not to crash into your own tail) as well as the cult favorite Chip’s Challenge. […]
The physics and driving engine for IMSA were licensed from the company that made the arcade game Hard Drivin’. The graphics engine was something called “Mercury” that an external developer had written and then sold back to 3DO, at which point it became our official graphics engine which we encouraged other developers to use. […]
Also, NikeX wrote a review of the IMSA beta, that you can read in here.
It’s 1996, IMSA game is shown to the people. No pixels, but texture correction. Something you don’t see on Playstation 1 or Sega Saturn. And, in this quality, not on N64. In fact, you’ve never seen so solid, vivid-plastic car models, when the camera comes close: The tires are round and they turn in the correct direction. Constant 30 frames per second, even with 10 cars on the track. My jaw tumbled when I saw the realtime presentation of the cars, tires, gears or rear spoilers. Great illuminating effects, readable words on car and parts. Even in the race itself. In 1996, 97 you would have thought: Am I watching a FMV?
Huge props to NikeX for sharing this lost game with the community! Thanks to Celine for the magazine scans!