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Sony unveils MotorStorm: Apocalypse

Due out early 2011 for PS3.

Sony has officially unveiled the third game in the MotorStorm series, which takes place during the apocalyptic disintegration of an unnamed American city.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse will be a PlayStation 3 exclusive and is due out in early 2011. "So we're just saying 2011. Probably first quarter 2011," game director Matt Southern told Eurogamer while we were doing a massive hands-on preview of the game.

Apocalypse takes place in a city smacked about by earthquakes, into which three characters have been thrown for a 48-hour-long MotorStorm festival. You'll get to play as each of them over the 6-8 hour campaign - the Rookie, the Survivor and the Veteran.

You'll still get involved in muscle cars, buggies, big rigs and mud pluggers among others, but races will be unrepeatable one-off events that feed into the campaign narrative.

The city itself will fall apart around you, too, and damage will be persistent, so if you revisit areas for subsequent races later on you'll be forced to revisit terrain in whatever state you left it.

The city's not empty either - there are factions, including a private military corporation, who may attack you as you race.

Developer Evolution Studios has said to expect the traditional multiple routes that made MotorStorm stand out originally, although has admitted that variations may not be as much about "spectacle" as tactical choice.

Beyond the campaign, "Wreckreaction" mode has Call of Duty-style levelling, where you can earn experience points and wager them against results, along with perks (split across handling, boost and combat categories - many earned by completing in-race objectives).

Wreckreaction will include multiplayer modes but can also be played offline. In terms of multiplayer, Apocalypse will support 16 players online, and four-player split-screen locally. Rather excellently, four of you playing split-screen can go online as a group from the same console.

Multiplayer will also be bolstered by a game mode creator. Using a kind of sentence-based construction format (if... then...) you will be able to define rulesets and then share them online with others.

Check out our hulking great MotorStorm: Apocalypse hands-on preview for way more detail, and don't forget to check out our MotorStorm: Apocalypse screenshot gallery.