So we now officially know the next US State DLC for American Truck Simulator will be the state of New Mexico. While this news has been out for over a month, I’ve been checking my crystal ball to see if I could determine what SCS’s next move might be. Of course, if I really had a working crystal ball…I would be doing more things with it other than attempting to learn what is in the minds of SCS. Think lottery! If I could win the lottery, I could retire and that would give me more time to spend playing all the wonderful simulation based games I love and of course blogging about them and creating YouTube content on my channel. But nonetheless, I think the direction SCS chose for their USA map expansion was absolutely brilliant and makes 100% perfect sense and here’s why.
First, American Truck Simulator is of course an American based truck simulator. Everything you need to know about this game is right there in the title. One of the things that keeps America running is the trucking industry and the one thing that allows this to run as efficiently as it does is our interstate highway system. Our US interstate highway system is truly a thing of beauty. In the image below you can see the criss-crossing US Interstate Highway System and it is this image that hopefully provides direction to SCS for where to go next after New Mexico. More about this in a minute.
Again, American Truck Simulator is about American based trucking. While trucks transport cargo in local areas for short distances, in my opinion this game is really more about moving goods over longer distances. Thankfully, SCS did the right thing by halting all future state DLC projects until the original map rescale was completed. While many complained about this, it was the right decision and we are all so much the better for it. Driving up and down I-5 in California or east along I-10 into Arizona really gives you the emersion of being a long-haul trucker.
It’s hard to judge just what the future holds for ATS. Some speculate if SCS were to actually release each of the lower 48 US States that the project would be completed sometime before 2030 based on the current speed at which we’ve seen states being released. Perhaps some of this task could be done by the modding community. Actually a large portion of the US, Canada and Mexico has already been produced. Unfortunately, it’s not always in the same level of detail as we expect from SCS. I truly love what Promods have done in the ETS2 world and I wish they would get more involved in ATS. I’ve driven Coast-to-Coast in ATS, but after the second or third time, seeing palm trees in non-coastal areas and some of the same cut and paste scenery is just a little boring. But I digress…
If I were a betting man…I would say we will continue to see a more easterly movement with upcoming DLC releases (after NM of course). I’ve read some comments on forums asking/pleading/demanding that SCS move north out of California to include Oregon and Washington. While I think those states may be included at a future date, I don’t see this as a smart thing for SCS to do. The decision for the state of New Mexico to be released after Arizona tells me that SCS will do one of two things and either of these two really excite me.
SCS could connect my birth state, The Lone Star State of Texas into the game after NM. This plan would introduce a really HUGE area connecting interstates I-20, I-40, I-30, I-35, I-45 and most importantly continues the Route 66 journey. The journey from El Paso to Orange, Texas along I-10 is a whopping 762 miles. How’s that for long-haul trucking? From LA to Orange along I-10 is a whopping 1,659 miles. Again….can you say long-haul trucking?
Another exciting option would be to drop in Utah and Colorado. This could be done as either separate DLC state releases or perhaps a bundle and would really begin to fill in the southwest portion of the US map. While the Texas option would be great for those looking to see how long it takes for their bottom to fall asleep, the UT and CO options could really introduce some challenging driving along I-70. With the map expansion, driving along I-70 from UT, through Colorado to Denver will give virtual truckers a little “white knuckle” action. Colorado will also connect to New Mexico and offer the I-25 route which can also be a nice challenging drive.
Either way, I see the best direction for SCS to take the ATS map is mostly east and north and fill in the necessary states along the way to continue utilizing the interstate highway system to its maximum potential. I feel this is what excites most ATS users. So if I were in charge at SCS this is how I would lay out the expansion after New Mexico.
Texas, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and continue moving east and north until you reach the east coast. Of course, time will tell how all this pans out. Until then…we just keep plugging away with CA, NV and AZ and loving every minute of it.
Until next time…