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New Midnight Club next year

Heading to PS3 and 360.

Rockstar has announced Midnight Club: Los Angeles will be the fourth game in its street-racing, ride-pimping series, and the first to hit the current generation of consoles.

The new Midnight Club will be released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 early in 2008. Like previous instalments, it's being developed by Rockstar's San Diego studio (formerly Angel Studios of Midtown Madness fame).

Tight-lipped as ever, Rockstar is saying absolutely nothing about its new racer yet. Well, nothing beyond the claim that it will "re-define the idea of a completely immersive racing game experience, both offline and online," according to company founder Sam Houser.

But it goes without saying that gamers can expect Midnight Club: Los Angeles to be an open-world racing game set in the murky world of illegal street racing and car modding. Extensive customisation options are also a dead cert.

We're taking that title as a heavy hint that the game's setting will be restricted to a single, more detailed metropolis this time around. Earlier Midnight Clubs took players to two or even three cities per game.

Midnight Club was the first game series to capitalise on the fashionably edgy street-racing scene and blend it with open-world exploration. But since EA took Need For Speed in the same direction with 2003's Underground, it has been overshadowed.

Producer Jay Panek hints that Rockstar wants to expand Midnight Club's appeal with the new game. "Our goal is to evolve on all possible levels and stay true to the hardcore gaming experience the series is known for, while making it accessible to casual gamers and car enthusiasts," he said.