UAE sports car builder drives fast and furious into video games

As he fine tunes his latest road-going creation, Anthony Jannarelly, the UAE-based builder of hand-made sportscars in the country, has lent his talents to the fast and furious world of video car racing games.

Rise: Race The Future is the upcoming video game from the studio VD-DEV, which has gained a reputation among gamers for its technical prowess with offerings such as The Recruit for Nintendo DS and the IronFall series for Nintendo 3DS.

The company was founded by Fernando Velez, the man behind Stuntman, V-Rally and Driv3r games among many others, in 1990 with the artist Guillaume Dubail.

For Race The Future, VD-DEV decided to broaden its vision through the art of the professional automotive designer Mr Jannarelly, famous for having penned the exclusive supercars of W Motors: the Lykan Hypersport; and the Fenyr Supersport.

The Lykan featured in last year’s smash-hit film Furious 7, which was partly shot in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Jannarelly is also the co-founder of Jannarelly Automotive here in the UAE, and is currently preparing the firm’s curvy, retro-futuristic roadster named Design-1, which is due to launch in the country later this year and whose evolutions appear in Rise: Race The Future.

Race The Future is a racing game set in a near future where “a new kind of wheel technology” will let players race on all type of terrain and especially on water.

The racing style is arcade oriented and based on mastering extreme drifts, according to VD-DEV. One of the clear inspiration is Sega Rally.

In addition to the arcade mode, a history mode will allow players to unlock the futuristic cars exclusively designed by Mr Jannarelly for the game.

Intriguingly, the company reveals little about the objectives of the game, saying only that “the progression the enigmatic sci-fi scenario will also reveal the real purpose of Rise: Race The Future”.

Here, Mr Jannarelly talks excusively to The National about his involvement with the development of the game and progress on the Design-1:

How did you get involved with VD-DEV and the game?

Fernando Velez from the video game company VD-DEV was a very good friend of mine and they wanted to program a racing game for their next project, so naturally we agreed with each other on having me to design the cars. My implication went actually further as I also have to develop the overall concept of the game set in a near future. Sadly Fernando passed away a month ago, so now my goal for this game is also to pay an homage to him and his 30-year career in the video game industry. Fernando was one of the 15 best programmers in the world, professionals admit, having worked for UbiSoft, Nintendo, etc.

Is this your first move into video games?

Yes, I always take up a challenge. As a kid and even now I’m fascinated by the richness and creativity in the video-game industry.

Will the game act as a showcase for Jannarelly cars?

Exactly, it’s an excellent excercise to build the DNA of a brand by imagining evolution of the Design-1. It’s also a means to spread the name. But as a designer it’s very pleasing to escape from manufacturing constraint and to explore more freely the styling. It will nourish the evolution of the Design-1. Think of virtual concept cars for Jannarelly.

What did you most enjoy about working on Rise?

Working with friends and discovering all the details behind a video game. As I said before, focusing on the styling without ergonomics limitation for instance.

Why the game’s name and who is VD-DEV?

Rise: Race The Future is a new name we invented to tell a story set in a near future where racing cars use a new kind of technology to serve a new gameplay, and also because I like science fiction. VD-Dev is the video game studio developing Rise: Race The Future, they are very famous professionally for their technical prowess noticeably on pushing graphics limits on consoles like the Nintendo 3DS. Overall they have 30 years of experience in the industry.

When will the game be available (how will players access it?) and will it be available in the UAE?

The game should have been available this winter, however due to the loss of Fernando Velez, it will be postponed to beginning of next year. It will be available on iOS and Android as a free download and on PC, later the main consoles are planned, too. Yes, it will be available in the UAE on the apps online stores.

How is the development of the real-life Jannarelly sports car going?

The development of the Design-1 is going well, we are tight on the schedule but the prototype is being tested and we think the car is well born, we are fine tuning details. The main goal of the Design-1 is to deliver a maximum of driving emotions, we clearly ticked the box on this.

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