On 3 March 2010, Atari announced that Test Drive Unlimited 2 would be released in the fourth quarter of 2010.
On 2 December 2008, Atari stated in a press conference that various series, including Test Drive, would be revisited after 2009. Atari have announced that Test Drive Unlimited 2 will feature dynamic weather effects, day and night cycles, and vehicle damage. They have also mentioned that the game will take place on Ibiza. After enough gameplay, players will be able to return to an expanded and updated Oahu from the previous game. It was also announced on March 15 that Test Drive Unlimited 2 will feature SUVs and a co-op game mode in which one player drives while the other player reads the map.
There will be a storyline in Test Drive Unlimited 2 to follow for the player. To progress through the game, the player has to earn experience points to level up through the 60 levels. These points can be earned via 5 categories:
- Competition (racing, completing challenges)
- Social (making friends in the game, race against other people, joining clubs)
- Discovery (discover all roads, take photographs of specific locations, find all car wrecks)
- Collection (buy cars, houses, furniture, clothing)
The player can earn extra money with how the player drives. Driving like a daredevil and performing stunts, drifting through turns and evading crashes and the traffic will earn the player extra cash. Exploring the island lets the player find vehicle wrecks which will unlock exclusive vehicles at the dealerships on the island. The player can also walk out of the car in certain areas. The player's avatar can be altered by changing hair, clothes, physical appearance and their attitude, and they can also buy houses. Co-op will also make an appearance in the game including a Follow-the-Leader mode. In this mode, players will have to complete a route by driving through checkpoints. When a checkpoint is passed by the leader, the game promotes one of the other drivers as leader. Working together properly is made even more important as only the leader can see the route on his GPS display.
The game will be set on two islands: Ibiza, and Oahu, the setting of the first game. Both islands have been modeled very accurately by using satellite data. Each island has both asphalt roads as off-road routes, translated to roughly two-third of all roads being asphalt roads, and the total amount of roads exceeds 3000 kilometers. The islands have new challenges and races, and also the roads on Oahu have been modified to make the location interesting again for players who played the previous game. Oahu has also been renewed graphicswise to stay up to date for the new game, and each island will feature the 24-hours cycle and dynamic weather.
The player can travel between the two islands by driving to the airport on one island, where a cutscene shows the character taking off as a passenger on a plane, flying to the other island. This air-commuting ability needs to be unlocked by reaching level 10 out of 60 in the game.
New vehicle classes are included, such as SUVs for off-roading. Not all vehicles are obtainable however; clubs can get exclusive club cars when reaching high ranks. These exclusive vehicles, such as the McLaren MP4-12C and the Gumpert Apollo can be driven by any member of the car club, and not by players from other clubs. The original game sported motorcycles that were quite hard to control, let alone race. They will not be present in the game at first, but may be added in later on. Off-road vehicles have also been included in "Test Drive Unlimited 2".
Vehicles feature cosmetic damage which does not affect the behaviour and technical aspects of the vehicles. There is no option to manually repair the vehicle, by resetting to the road or visiting a house the car may get fixed. Rainfall does affect the handling of the vehicles though, and also influences the appearance of a vehicle as rain washes off dirt. Eden has also spent years working on a new physics engine to ensure each vehicle has its own driving behaviour. New details and functions have been added, such as different headlight modes, turning signals and working convertible roofs. There is also a vinyl-editor which is said to be similar to that of Forza Motorsport.
When pre-order information was revealed, it became known that pre-orders in the United States would get additional bonuses. Among these bonuses are bonus cars, such as special Carbon-edition Aston Martins, an Audi Q7 concept car and a Nissan 370Z based on a European racing version of this car.
During E3 2010, Atari released the first part of the list of cars that are available in the game. The list includes various models of Aston Martin, Audi, Dodge, Lotus, Mercedes, and more. All of these vehicles will be purchasable in the final game.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 has a similar online mode to the previous game. During free roaming, up to 8 players can join in a session at the same time. Improvements to the online aspects have led to the fix of people quickly disappearing just after entering a session. In shops and clubs, up to 32 players can walk around at the same time. The ability to walk is also present in the new racing lobby. When waiting for every player to be ready to race, cars of the other players can be examined. Plus, players can be in the seat of another player's car to show them shortcuts.
With the launch of the new Test Drive Unlimited 2 website, the FAQ section confirmed that like in the previous game, the game will not require a subscription fee to play online.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 will feature at least two ingame radio stations, one for each location (Oahu and Ibiza). These are the songs that can be heard on those stations:
- Danko Jones (Code of the Road)
- Deadmau5 (Ghosts N Stuff)
- Dum Dum Girls (Bhang, Bhang - I'm A Burnout)
- Ellie Goulding (Under The Sheets)
- Metric (Gold, Guns, Girls)
- Murder City Devils (Hey Sailor)
- Neon Indian (Ephemeral Artery)
- Nine Pound Hammer (Radar Love)
- Passion Pit (Little Secrets)
- Paul Oakenfold (My Girl)
- Paul van Dyk (For An Angel)
- Phoenix (1901)
- Surfer Blood (Floating Vibes)
- The Temper Trap (Fader)
In addition to these songs, DJ Paul Oakenfold will let a song for his latest album make its debut through the game.