“Well, we’re making a game first. The damage simulation is on the side, it’s not the point.”
There was an old saying among motor racing circles. “If you want to win, hire a Finn.” And the same saying seems to be carrying through to the gaming scene quite nicely.
Finnish developer, Bugbear Entertainment, is currently working on a title that has just been ‘greenlit’ on Steam. Next Car Game is a racing game at heart but despite that it is working to make racing challenging, exciting and fun all at the same time.
Forget the hardcore simulation that Gran Turismo tried to bring to the table. Next Car Game will feature soft body physics. If that sounds familiar, that’s because something by the name of Drive by BeamNG exists. I say “something” because Drive isn’t actually a game. It’s more like a technology demonstrator that was built entirely to show off what soft body dynamics can be in a car game.
When I asked Bugbear on twitter about Drive they responded, “Well, we’re making a game first. The damage simulation is on the side, it’s not the point. We’re just having fun with it.” Clearly, the focus is still on making an enjoyable game. While realistic damage is still a good thing, it’s nothing without something more substantial for a player to enjoy.
Furthermore, in a recent update on their developer blog, Bugbear has also spoken about the addition of a realistic upgrade system for Next Car Game. I’m sure anyone who has ever played any racing game will agree, being able to customise your vehicle, even in the smallest cosmetic way, was a significant amount of the game’s fun factor.
However, Next Car Game will be taking customisation to another level. Bugbear’s direction supposedly was inspired by the 1989 title, Street Rod, and it will feature upgrades that do more than just give you meaningless stats. In contrast with titles such as Gran Turismo, the upgrades aren’t simply tiered boosts that are a clear upgrade over the previous ones.
Next Car Game will feature an ingame market where parts will appear for sale from time to time. Not all of the parts are straight upgrades as well. Players will have to choose parts such as turbochargers of varying sizes that largely depend on the playstyle of the actual player. This same philosophy applies to every other part of the car. Suspension, transmission, you name it. Whole engine replacements are going to be possible. Who knows, we might even be able to choose type of air goes in the tyres!
The ingame market, according the developer blog, will work something like the classifieds section of the newspaper. That means that the player will have another set of dilemmas when upgrading their car. Should you buy that new gearbox now? or wait for a better one to go on sale? And what about that set of springs?
All I can say at this point is, this game looks good. And it will continue to look better and better as the months go by. As a fan of racing games of many types in the past, this is one game that I’ll definitely be picking up.
Next Car Game is currently under development and is slated for release on PC sometime in early 2014. Pre-orders are open now and special incentives are being promised once the pre-orders reach 10,000. Check out their main site here! This is one title that cannot be ignored!