Until now, we've mainly seen the Oculus Rift put to use in first-person shooters, first-person parkour simulators, and first-person whatevers, but a virtual reality bike racing/violence title seems like a particularly good use for the magic space-helmet. The Road Rash-inspired Road Redemption - currently up for funding on Kickstarter, with 9 days and around $60,000 left to go - has been filmed working with Oculus Rift, meaning we can experience hitting a motorcyclist with a chain from the inside. You know, if the game reaches its $160,000 target. Er, and gets another $38,000 on top of that.
If I was the Prince of Persia - and some day I may be - I'd be a bit miffed watching this trailer of the upcoming 3D platformer/racer Cloudbuilt. All those years spent practicing wall-running have been rendered moot by a single, awesome contraption: the jetpack. With a jetpack in tow, wall-running is a trivial, if blisteringly fast affair; rather than clunkily clambering your way up a tall building, you're darting between them like a sci-fi Sonic the Hedgehog - or you will be when the game's finished, at any rate. Cloudbuilt's impressive obstacle courses won't be ready until later this year, but as the latest video shows it's coming along quite nicely.
As far as I can tell, Codemasters exist in a separate universe to the rest of us. It's almost exactly the same as our version of reality, except for one key difference: YouTube. First it was Dirt 3, which constantly recommended I upload uneventful wins to the video sharing site, seemingly untroubled by the fact that no-one would be remotely interested in displays of moderate competence. Now it's this Grid 2 trailer, previewing the game's "redefined" multiplayer and social features, including YouTube intergration.
I'm just not sure "Can ANYONE beat this guy?!?!" is a sentence that any commenter would type.
"Okay, so it's a visually fetching indie racer with weird folded wing-like cars," I thought as I watched this trailer for Krautscape. "Ha, idiot!" I thought as one of those cars drove clean off the edge of the suspended track. "WHAT?!" I thought - glad I'd already swallowed my mouthful of tea - as the wings unfurled and the previously doomed vehicle happily flew off.
While Criterion have made some vague noises about the possibility of a modern Road Rash reboot, developers DarkSeas are already speeding into the distance, brandishing a lead pipe. Their Kickstarter project, Road Redemption, leans heavily into the Road Rash theme with two-wheeled tussles aplenty. I'm not entirely sure what's so redemptive about smacking a biker in the face with a metal chain. Maybe the pitch video can fill us in.
I don't drive, so as far as I'm concerned the amazing automotive acrobatics on show in this GDC trailer of the latest build of Distance could well be a highly accurate simulation of real life. Why aren't people wall-flipping, barrel-rolling and hover flying all over the M6? Is it a highway code thing? Or is it because real life is boring, requiring us to take solace from fast-paced neon seared racers full of deadly traps across futuristic cityscapes?
The original Audiosurf was a rather lovely racing/rhythm game mashup that generated tracks based on your music collection. The heart of the game lay in its global high score table, and in challenging your friends to beat your score on, say, Britney Spears' Toxic - but more likely Jonathan Coulton's Still Alive, which came bundled with the game. It's been a long time coming, but its sequel Audiosurf Air appears to be nearing its vague "2013" release, as the first gameplay video has emerged blinking into the world. As you can see, it's a huge leap forward from the original in terms of visual clout, Tron-ness, and actually featuring surfing, with a weird hoversurfboard-ski-thing replacing Audiosurf's Wipeout-esque hoverships.
Not responsibilities like "always wear a seatbelt" or "hands at 10 and 2." No, Grid 2 stresses the responsibility of every racing game to pour on the slow-mo during power slides, crank up the bloom, and wrap it all up with a narrator a little too obsessed with winning.
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.
We were quite taken with The 90's Arcade Racer's modest Kickstarter bid, despite the nostalgia-baiting name and errant apostrophe. The game's developer was looking for a conservative £10,000 to add new tracks and cars into a racing game that was already well into production. Not only has it broken that total - hitting £14,515 with 59 hours to go - but now indie publishing house Nicalis are set to take it under their wing.
Codemasters might be getting a little carried away. Sure, GRID 2 is all about going ridiculously fast, but they don't have to apply that philosophy to every aspect of their production. Take this trailer - the first dedicated showing of in-game footage. It lasts a scant one minute and ten seconds. Take out all the surrounding logos and you're left with 37 seconds of high-speed action. Guys! It's not a race!
Nitronic Rush was one of last year’s hidden gems - a slick arcade racer set in a glittering digital city and starring a flipping, flying, rocket-boosting car. It was the final year project for a group of students at DigiPen, the Washington-based game development university, and picked up awards from multiple indie competitions - including the IGF, Indie Game Challenge, and indiePub. We liked it alot, and featured it in last year’s New Years free games round-up.
Three members of the original Nitronic Rush team - Kyle Holdwick, Jordan Hemenway, and Jason Nollan - are now going indie full-time as Refract Studios. Their first game is Distance, a spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush that is currently entering the final week of its Kickstarter campaign.
I spoke to the guys about their plans for the new game, the benefits of getting a second shot at a good idea, and their experience of graduating from university into a maturing indie scene.
RedLynx's platform-racer series captures the joy of awkwardly heaving bikes over increasingly complicated obstacle courses, but we tasted the dust when Trials: Evolution released solely for the Xbox 360 in April. Thankfully, Trials Evolution: Gold Edition skids back home to the PC in early 2013.
You find it, you drive it. That's Need for Speed: Most Wanted's motto, and besides the perplexing convenience of finding hellishly expensive sports cars littered everywhere, Most Wanted's open-world racing lets you check out player scoreboards, queue up a race, tinker with on-the-fly car mods, and evade the heat all as part of the seamless Autolog matchmaking system. If that isn't enough, the trailer above exhibits some pretty slick rides -- namely, the Aston Martin V12 Vantage and the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series, both ritzy roadsters sounding like names for computer parts. See them blur along the rain-slick industrial streets in a "Red Shift" circuit boasting more powerfully thrumming bass tracks than a Scion commercial.
If you saw the Project CARS trailer we posted back in January, you'll already know how good it's looking. Evil Avatar indicate that new screenshots have been released, giving us a closer look at those carefully modelled vehicles.
CARS has an unusual development model. It makes use of the World of Mass Development portal that lets community members donate money to the project in return for regular work-in-progress builds. Community members can take part in polls on future features, chat to the developers and eventually gain money back on their investment when the game's released. It's all explained over on the Project CARS site. In addition to the official releases, Slightly Mad have been posting some of the best shots from contributing community members. Take a look, and remember to click to see each pic full size.
Dirt Showdown bears the Dirt name associated with Colin McRae and, once upon a time, serious rally racing, but is really more of an arcade spin-off. This new trailer shows off an "8 Ball" course. It's like those Hot Wheels toys where you'd launch cars down convoluted tracks towards a central crash site, where they'd collide and fly off to hit your dog in the eye. This time, you're inside those cars, and some of them are spouting fire.
Showdown's focus is on Destruction Derbies and "full contact" racing, with lots of ramps and choke points, and will apparently make use of "gaming's most advanced damage engine." Move aside, Frostbite 2! It's due out in May and was announced with an announcement trailer a few weeks ago which looked a little bit like this.
We’ve all got an idealised image of the great trans- American road trip. Flooring the throttle down an arrow-straight road in a thunderously powerful V8 muscle car, perhaps, with On The Road Again by Canned Heat playing on the stereo.
In that regard Need For Speed: The Run nails it – you can recreate that experience perfectly, even down to the masterfully-pitched, twanging country music. This would be brilliant if the game didn’t replicate the realities of a road trip as well, which include repetitive scenery, the boredom of maintaining a largely constant speed and the realisation that at most of your stop-offs there isn’t a great deal to do.
“Free-to-play” used to mean just that, but now it seems that it’s becoming “Remortgage-to-play”. First, DarkOrbit releases a $1,000 item and sells 2,000 of them. Now EA’s Need for Speed World sells a $100 car, according to GameSpot.
The pricey car in question is a Koenigsegg CCX “Elite” Edition. It heads up Need for Speed World’s “Premium Elite” collection, which is targeted exclusively at people with more money than sense. The car is reduced to "just" $75 at the moment, but even for that price you could pick up Race On ($19) and GRID ($15) on Steam - both of which feature the Koenigsegg CCX - and still have $41 left over to buy a cheapo steering wheel.
On the whole the free-to-play model does seem to be working, but these costly items make it look like developers and publishers are taking advantage of an audience willing to pay exorbitant amounts for fairly rudimentary power-ups. A report in the Daily Mail is sure to follow shortly.
Codemasters’ free-to-play web-based racer F1 Online has opened for closed beta registration ahead of its launch in the first quarter of next year. The Unity-powered top-down racer includes assets from F1 2011, and includes the requisite team management on top of the driving.
From what we’ve seen it’s rather entertaining, pleasingly recalling Codemasters’ own long-lost Micro Machines franchise, albeit in a shinier package. The top-down single-button controls aren’t going to please those who’ve spent thousands on recreating the interior of an F1 car in front of their monitors, but the low system requirements could make it a lunch-break hit.
Sign up for the closed beta here (warning: requires stupidly complicated password and the drop-down boxes are tiny), watch the brand-spankin’-new trailer above, and see the brand-spankin'-new beta screenshots below.