Split/Second stands as one of my favourite arcade racers that no one played. Developed by Black Rock Studio and published by Disney Interactive (yes, really), you'd be forgiven for thinking it was directed by Michael Bay himself. The premise was that you were racing for some reality TV show, but it was all an elaborate excuse to make things go kaboom. During races, you could actively detonate pre-determined segments of the track or trigger devastating events that altered the route in an attempt to obliterate your opponents.
It was innovative, enthralling and spectacular for its time, if somewhat short-lived. It certainly left you wanting more, though, and demand for a sequel has been high as a result.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be however, as poor sales led to the demise of Black Rock Studio. Blur, another out-of-the-ordinary arcade racer which was released around the same time as, suffered the same fate with the closure of Bizarre Creations. Two immensely-talented, British studios were suddenly no more, leaving a massive dent in the arcade racing genre. Sad times indeed.
The fact is, publishers are now hesitant to take risks after bleak tales like this, which is why many developers have taken to Kickstarter, which has led to numerous success stories in the racing genre such as Next Car Game. And that's exactly what Split/Second's former Game Director Nick Baynes has done to get his next action arcade racer rolling.
Before you get excited, no, it's not a Split/Second sequel. It's called Rage Ride, a combat bike racing game that, if you couldn't guess, takes its cues from Road Rash. If you're sitll not convinced, you'll be racing in open environments using baseball bats, chains, guns, flame throwers and explosives to gain the upper hand on opponents. It's like Road Rash never left us.
Gameplay modes will consist of death matches, last man standing, capture the flag and more, and the the environment file format will be kept open to enable post-release community modding support.
New developer IronFist Games, a team comprising of former developers of Split/Second, MotoGP and Pure led by Baynes, is seeking £125,000 by June 6th to put Rage Ride into development for an initial release on PC in April 2015, with plans to port it over to consoles and other platforms at a later date.
Unlike the majority of Kickstarter Campaigns, Rage Ride is still only at a concept stage – consequently, there are no concept art images or videos to give you a rough idea about what you're investing into. It's certainly a gamble, but the developer wants to invite backers to influence the visual style, gameplay and game modes.
"Normally at this stage of a project, there would be a number of concept art treatments produced to determine the final visual style, a series of design meetings to brainstorm different game modes and mechanics, and a prioritised list of the features we want to include in the game," the Kickstarter page reads.
"You won't find any concept art or final decisions regarding modes in this pitch though. That’s because we want to make this game with your input from the start through exclusive private backer forums. By backing this project, YOU get to choose the visual style, YOU get to propose and vote on the ways to play the game and YOU can decide which features are important."
If you want to support the development, you can find out more on Rage Ride's Kickstarter page.
Of course, Rage Racer isn't the only Road Rash-inspired Kickstarter project currently in development – Road Redemption is slowly gaining traction, with its recent Pre-Alpha release.