It's fair to say that a large chunk of my Christmas holiday period was spent causing rampant carnage in BugBear's superb crash 'em up Next Car Game. Turns out I wasn't the only one.
As an early Christmas present for loyal fans who preordered the game, BugBear unleashed their long-awaited Early Access build of Next Car Game, a pre-alpha version of the game with a handful of cars and tracks that gave us a taste of how the supreme physics showcased in the technology demo will translate in-game. Now, BugBear has confirmed that the Early Access release has been so successful that it has doubled the overall sales of Next Car Game.
“It was the first time we were going to show the game to everyone, and we were very anxious to hear the feedback, but the game took the Internet by storm: the first Early Access release doubled the sales of the title during the Christmas week,” Bugbear commented in a statement.
Rewind a few months back, and things weren't quite as rosy for the Finnish developer. Their Kickstarter campaign, which was used as a primary source of funding alongside pre-orders, completely flopped, failing to reach their target funding goal of $350,000. And yet they have now reached and topped this original goal in just one week thanks to the Steam Early Access incentive.
“Last autumn, we had a stretch of bad luck with our Kickstarter campaign, and it didn’t reach the goal we were aiming for. Even so, we didn’t lose our faith in the game and wanted to get it in the hands of the players as soon as possible. And thanks to our great supporters, we really couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present."
While it's not surprising that the enticement of getting a playable portion of Next Car Game led a significant spike in sales, it's a testament to the widespread attention and support this crowd-funded project has garnered, and an eye opener for just how effective the Steam Early Access programme can be for indie developers. And righthly so, frankly: BugBear has achieved a lot with Next Car Game, developing an impressive in-house engine and revolutionary damage modelling system surpassing its rivals with several times more budget.
"Although our game is still at a pretty early stage, and as such, contains many missing features and numerous bugs, the players have loved what we already got and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve already received a plenty of smart suggestions for future improvements, some of which will of course find their way into the final game."
BugBear also recently visited their local junk yard to torture some real life cars. It's all in the name of car damage research, of course. It's not like they enjoyed it or anything.
We will of course have more coverage to come for Next Car Game as the game develops. In the meantime, Alan has been putting in some practice with his new wheel setup where he takes Next Car Game for a test drive, which you can see for yourself in the video below.
The final release of Next Car Game is scheduled to come out of the scrapyard this year, and, with the continious support of the community, the future is certainly looking bright for the project. Hopefully, if funding continues to progress at this rate, we may well see PS4 and Xbox One ports in the future.
In the meantime, there's still plenty to look forward to in future Early Access releases in the run-up to the final release, as BugBear promises a host of new content in the pipeline. “During the coming months we’re going to give the game a lot of polish as well as implement new exciting features, and our Early Access supporters have an opportunity to experience the game as it develops and get involved in the development.”
You can download the Steam Early Access build by pre-ordering Next Car Game at BugBear's website – all proceeds will contribute to the development funding of the game. A free demo has also been released in the form of a stripped down version of the sneak peek tech demo, which has already been downloaded over 50,000 times. The full version of the tech demo is still available to everyone who pre-orders.