Auto Modellista is a cel-shaded racing game developed by Capcom Production Studio 1. It was first released for the Playstation 2 in 2002, and later ported to the GameCube in 2003 and Xbox in 2004. It was developed by Capcom Production Studio 1 and released in 2002. It was Capcom's first driving game since the arcade game F-1 Dream and features (inanimate) cameos by Capcom characters such as Servbots.
Auto Modellista attempts to be a very technical racing game, with an immense amount of available parts and settings for the selection of cars provided to the player. Various aspects of each car can be tuned, allowing the player to tweak the performance of the car.
In the Garage mode (the main single-player mode), the player is granted the ability to select one of four tire types which affect road grip in regard to the weather conditions on the race track (for example, the "Semi-Slick Tires" provide maximum speed and grip in dry weather, but suffer in rain). Other options include brakes (which determine braking efficiency), suspension, Turbines, Mufflers, Computer (determines the car's ability to accept upgrades later in the game), the engine, "Final Gear", and Weight Reduction.
Auto Modellista's customisation options also extends to visual enhancements, allowing the player to choose from many different color combinations, hood and spoiler types, plus the ability to add badges, stickers and even create license plates. Engine swaps are also available, for example, the Subaru 360 can have EJ20T in place of its EK32. Swapped engines cannot be retuned in the game.
A large aspect of the game was its online mode, with online races supporting up to 8 players. This functionality (and many of the game modes relating to it) were removed from the original US and European releases, but was added back into the US Tuned editions of the game. The online mode of Auto Modellista has since been terminated, and cannot be used in any versions of the game.
Auto Modellista was one of the three titles Capcom had developed to take advantage of the processing power and online capabilities of the PlayStation 2 system, the other two titles being Monster Hunter and Resident Evil Outbreak. According to producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, the system had begun to match arcade games in capabilities. Capcom's plan was that at least one of the games would sell a million copies. Both Monster Hunter and Resident Evil Outbreak were more succesful then Auto Modellista as they eventually sold a million copies each.
Auto Modellista marked itself apart from others of the same genre with cel-shaded graphics, which gave a hand-drawn and cartoon-like appearance. Despite its unique style and large amount of simulation-esque detail, there was widespread claim of poor handling dynamics, which presumably lead to the commercial failure of the game for its Japan and European releases.
In 2003, Capcom attempted to address these claims with Auto Modellista: US Tuned, containing the new content made for the later North American release plus various tweaks to gameplay. This was the version that would eventually wind up as a GameCube and Xbox game, with the latter due for release in Europe in April 2004. Regardless, the claims still persisted; many distributors predicted that sales of the game were going to be poor, and generally refused to carry it.
Also in 2003, Auto Modellista received a followup in the form of Group S Challenge for the Xbox, released specifically for the American market. Capcom has not been involved with driving games since, although it did publish some games based on MotoGP developed by Milestone srl, and included Mega Man Battle & Chase, a racing game based on the Mega Man franchise, in the Mega Man X Collection.
Box Art and Merchandise
- "プレイステーション2 - アウトモデリスタ". Famitsu. 915: 93. 30 June 2006.