Racing games look just a bit too realistic these days. Or at least that's what you imagine the three man team developing the '80s-inspired Drift Stage are thinking.
To put it simply, Drift Stage is a passion project; a love letter to the glorious 8-bit days of classic coin-ups like OutRun. Forget photorealistic graphics, advanced lighting techniques and complicated driving physics. Instead, you're getting oversaturated colours, crude car models and a simplistic driving model designed to make you go sideways as much as possible. Glance at the screenshots, and you can see they've nailed the retro art-style. In a sense, it's one of the prettiest racing games in recent memory.
To get Drift Stage onto the starting grid, the developers took to Kickstarter in a campaign which ended this week. It was a resounding success, to say the least, attracting considerable fan attention and raising $57,720 out of its £30,000 target. Perhaps this is an indication racing games are trying too hard and should go back-to-basics?
Drift Stage is currently slated for release on PC, Linux and Mac, but the developers have since confirmed they are planning to bring Drift Stage to PS4 and Vita: "We’ve been talking to people at Sony for quite a while now, and we’re finally at a point where we can say: we’re working towards PS4 and PS Vita releases of Drift Stage, and the fact that we’ve exceeded our funding goal is certainly going to help make it happen. We’re still focused on PC/Mac/Linux right now, but we’re hoping to hit PS4/Vita in 2016."
2016 seems far away, but the news isn't exactly surprising given how much Sony openly embrace indie developers. It will probably end up being part of the Instant Game Collection freebies in 2017. I can certainly see its pick-up-and-play style being a perfect fit on the Vita, too. It's just a shame its diminishing userbase means few will get to experience it on a handheld.