Despite having one of the most generic game titles in history, Next Car Game has already racked up $1 million in sales, just one week after it launched in Steam Early Access. This isn't quite the one million copies that DayZ sold in just four weeks, but it's another example of how shockingly profitable Early Access can be for some developers.
Next Car Game
Things we're bad at: driving cars in Next Car Game, staying on the track for more than five seconds. Things we're great at: Flipping, barrel rolling, and straight-up wrecking cars in Next Car Game. Is it a skill, or an astonishing lack of skill? Either way, it turns out annihilating automobiles in Next Car Game, which is currently on Steam Early Access, is more fun than racing them. The cars crunch and shred and break into so many wonderful pieces, we had to record their destruction in animated GIF form.
Thanks to the physics processing prowess of the Large Pixel Collider, we could record at 1080p and 60fps while barrels and tires and bumpers bounced across the screen. We've compiled our 11 favorite crashes below, but don't worry about them taking forever to load. They're embedded in HTML5 video form, which can compress a chunky 14MB GIF into a digestible two megs. Give 'em a click for a larger version and a link to the original GIF.
Welcome to the early access report, a regular round-up looking at the most interesting early access games of the moment. Here we try new alphas and revisit old ones to separate the promising gems from the bug-ravaged time wasters. This week Craig trashes a fleet of vehicles in spectacular ways in Next Car Game and Turbo Dismount, and then relaxes with a serene adventure.
Two games about crashing vehicles popped up on Steam Early Access this week. They make an interesting pairing: Next Car Game is from the makers of the good FlatOut games, a series that understood the joy of carnage. Though it lands on Steam with plenty of room in the boot, what's there is a lot of fun. Turbo Dismount skidded in as well, a strange game about setting up crashes and watching the aftermath. It's incredibly low-fi, and actually feels like it'd work well in Next Car Game's engine, but has its own quirky personality, as does Secrets Of Raetikon, which doesn't have cars, but is a fine calming influence after the noise of all that mangled steel..
Since Next Car Game was first announced, Bugbear have created a Kickstarter, released a trailer, cancelled the Kickstarter, released a demo, and crowdfunded through their own website. You'd think that at some point during that process, somebody on the team would have raised their hand and said "hey guys, how about we call it 'Smashy Smashy Bang Vroom'?"
The destruction derby racer is now available on Steam Early Access, where yes, it's still called Next Car Game. If you buy it, it will be available through your Steam Library, where it will still be called Next Car Game. Is it really so hard to come up with a video game name? How about Metal Mayhem: Origins, or Super Scrapes: Awakening, or, if they'd rather go for a celebrity licence, Tony Hawk's Reckless Roadside Endangerment? I know he's more closely associated with skating, but he's not done a game in a while, so he'd probably be up for it.
The holidays were good to Next Car Game and its particular vision of motorized mayhem. After Bugbear Entertainment's Kickstarter to fund its latest racing game fell short of its goal in November, the developer asked for support through the project's website. Backers there have contributed more than $490,000, well clear of its original crowdfunding goal.
You'd have to be an archaeologist - or perhaps a doting mother - to look at my car and say it had ever been roadworthy. It's been mashed down to two wheels, and what's left of the chassis looks more like a glitch than the rumbling muscle-beast I kicked off Next Car Game's tech demo driving. Brilliantly, as broken as it is, it's still attempting to act like a car. I can gun the engine and move this lump. It's a cruel mockery of damage modelling. Just look at this video to see for yourself.
Bugbear have cancelled the Kickstarter for their crashtastic Next Car Game, citing the (fairly sound) reason that "it’s become obvious that we are not going to meet our goal". Fear not, however: this doesn't mark the end of the pragmatically named racing game, at least not yet - Bugbear are putting their weight behind their pre-order campaign instead. They've also released a demo, which - boo - is only available to those who've already paid for the still-might-not-be-finished game in advance.
It's Friday afternoon. Here, at the PC Gamer office, you can hear the unhealthy whirr of the coffee machine; and the stern bark of "Xbox" drifts over the partition, as the Edge team grapple with their new console. Around these desks, staff writers fire plastic guns at each other, and generally, there's the feeling that the weekend is almost here. At such times, it's good to have some enjoyable video game destruction in the news chamber. True to this ideal, here's the first footage of Bugbear's Next Car Game.
I have a horrifying feeling that they're actually going to call it Next Car Game. Sure, they might not be actively planning to do so, but at some point someone at Bugbear will say, "well, it's what everyone already calls it, so why not?" But no, Bugbear, don't do it. Call it something that more accurately reflects your destruction derby intentions. Something like CAR METAL HYPER FORCE SMASH TIME. Whatever it might eventually be called, it's appeared on Kickstarter, as Bugbear look for a turbo injection to their development fund.
Do you want to see a car drive into a clutch of rotating grinders and then see it vomited out the other side in a flurry of shrapnel and screams? Of course you do! Bugbear Entertainment's next car game, Next Car Game, has a very nice damage modelling system so they've tortured a car over and over again to show it off in their "car damage fun" video. It won't seem so fun when that car's children find out what happened and start an epic quest for vengeance in Next Car Game 2: Car Harder.
Bugbear Entertainment have briefly popped their head out of the development garage to offer an update on their next car game, Next Car Game. That update, to paraphrase, is: "can we have some money, please?" As you'll see from their pitch, the former FlatOut devs have broken out the standard template, comprised of: 1) the announcement of a crowdfunding scheme, 2) the comparison to older games, and 3) the declaration that publishers are rubbish and smelly. Again, I'm paraphrasing. Check out their video to see those concepts more tactfully put, as well as some pleasing footage of crumpling cars.
There's almost a resigned inevitability to the act of giving your upcoming game the working title "Next Car Game". Bugbear previously created the FlatOut series, and worked on the unhinged Ridge Racer: Unbounded. Surprise! They're working on another car game.
Not that they sound unhappy about the prospect of more motor madness. A short message on their newly opened website reads, "We're making a new car game. This time we're going back to our roots - just like all of our fans have been asking us to do!" A short trailer teases what the studio are planning, and while it may be cars, it definitely isn't racing.