The East Japan Railway Company, more commonly known as JR East, is the largest railway in Japan and has lines running from Tokyo and its surrounding areas all the way up to the edge of Hokkaido. As such, being a driver on one of these prestigious trains requires a great deal of skill and knowledge, with positions being awarded to only to the top candidates.
For the rest of us, who lack such know-how or might not even live in Japan, JR East is letting us experience the work of a driver in an upcoming simulator game. The JR East Train Simulator page is already set up on Steam with a listed early release date of September 19.
The game is based on actual JR simulators used in driver training and uses accurate recreations of the Hachiko Line between Takasaki and Kuragano Stations as well as the Keihin Tohoku Line from Omiya to Urawa Stations. In the former you’ll control a KiHa 100 Series heading north, and in the latter you’ll guide a southbound E233 Series train.
▼ A trailer showing the game in action
This might seem really limited, but that’s because this is only the early release version of the game. Once the full game is released, there will be much more variety in rolling stock and routes as well as the ability to mix and match trains and lines. There is also an adjustable difficulty which seems to largely hinge on how strictly you’re judged when stopping the train in exactly the correct position on the platform.
▼ The control panels for each train are faithfully recreated.
Again, since these are based on real simulators, you can expect the train physics to be spot on. You might also have noticed that the images are actual footage of the real train lines and the sound effects are also real recordings from JR East train lines.
Even after the full game is released, JR East still plans to add more lines as DLC as time goes by. Considering how extensive their service is, those updates could go on for quite some time. They also plan to expand gameplay options such as external controller support.
The big question, however, is if they’ll really add some gritty realism to JR East Train Simulator by giving you several tablet computers with different passwords that you have to remember, avoid over-zealous photographers hiding in bushes and climbing fences, and defend yourself against violent drunks.
Source: Steam, Automation
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