I have a confession to make: as much as I love cars, I also have a sadistic love for seeing them smashed beyond recognition.
Because of this, I spent a lot of my youth playing games like Destruction Derby, Burnout and FlatOut. And when a game placed less emphasis on such wanton destruction, I improvised by deliberately driving the wrong way.
It's a love that's showing no signs of fading too. Just last week I attended a banger race where I stood just a bit too close to the fence to get a closer look at the wanton destruction on display, only to get showered with debris and caravan fibre glass.
Unfortunately for people like me, the demolition derby genre has gradually faded. Indeed, while games such as DiRT Showdown attempted to reintroduce us to the thrills of demolition derby, there hasn't been a fully-fledged banger racing game since FlatOut Ultimate Carnage some six years ago.
The reason is simple: the publishers don't believe there is a market for the genre anymore. Which is why Finnish developer BugBear, best known for the fabled FlatOut series, are going back to their roots by developing and self-publishing Next Car Game, a FlatOut rebbot (except it won't be called FlatOut as BugBear no longer hold the rights to the FlatOut name – I eroded Strategy First's dismal FlatOut 3 from my memory) that hopes to revitalise the demolition derby genre.
We last reported on Next Car Game when it was announced back in Februrary, and while I was impressed with the early released footage at the time, the development appears come on in leaps and bounds since then. A new developer diary video showcases some brand new alpha footage of Next Car Game, and it's safe to say that Next Car Game already boasts some of the most impressive, intricate damage modelling I've seen in a game to date.
It's about time, too. Blame it on hardware limitations or strict manufacturer licenses, but it's rare to see dynamic damage in a driving game where the body buckles and the shape of the chassis changes, with most games adopting pre-determined damage modelling. In all honesty, I still maintain that Burnout Paradise boasts the most realistic best damage system, but this could be about to change with Next Car Game. Crashes look brutal to the point the new cockpit camera violently richoaches on impact, and the cars are left completely dismembered.
BugBear cite two influences for Next Car Game: Street Rod and Destruction Derby.
Next Car Game will feature Street Rod-style customisation. We're not just talking cosmetic changes here: you will be able to strip a car out and buy new parts, allowing you to build the ultimate bespoke banger racer. Damage won't be merely cosmetic, either – like Destruction Derby, repeated knocks will adversely affect the performance of your car.
Physics will also be more advanced than anything BugBear has attempted before, allowing you to feel the minute bumps on the track and the weight of your car when you go over them. It's all thanks to BugBear's new in-house engine ROMU, an engine that was designed to make you f and dish out some serious damage when you inevitably whack into another car – intentionally or not.
Next Car Game is currently available for preorder with a range of different bundles available with additional perks such as custom cars. It works in the same vein as a Kickstarter campaign, too, as all proceeds will contribute to the funding of developing Next Car Game.
Currently, a PC version is being targetted for release early next year, but anyone who preorders will be granted access to an playable pre-alpha version of the game late this year as soon as it reaches 10k preorders. Console versions are also being considered for release later down the line, with the PS4 and Xbox One outlined as possibilities.
Now free of publisher constraints, Next Car Game will be exactly the game BugBear and demolition derby game fans alike have been wanting for years, with its brand of exhilerating, no rules, full contact racing and bone-shuddering demolition derbies. Call me excited.
You can preorder Next Car Game from BugBear's official website for the game.