This week there are certainly some high profile arrivals due on the eShop, one of which is the NEO Future Pack DLC for Wii U exclusive FAST Racing NEO. It looks set to be a good deal, too, confirmed with a price tag of $4.99 / €4.99 / £4.20; as the racer is fondly regarded by many, the opportunity to jump into eight tracks and more content besides will be tough to resist.
That's not the only landmark of note for Shin'en Multimedia this week, as the title will head to retail stores in Europe through Nintendo's eShop Selects range, with disc copies including the DLC. Though there's no equivalent in North America, it seems this European initiative has played a key role in the extra content happening, too.
Ahead of this week's releases we caught up with the studio's Managing Director, Manfred Linzner, to learn a little more about the NEO Future Pack and that retail version heading to stores in Europe; we were also given some flashy screenshots from the added content.
FAST Racing NEO has now been available on the Wii U for a little while, so have you been happy with its reception, the number of players online and so on?
We have been very happy with the reception. Sales have been pretty good and we get a lot of feedback that people love the game. We don't have numbers for online players but we felt that FRN did fairly well when compared to other 3rd party games.
With respect to NDAs, confidential data and so on, are you willing to comment on how happy or otherwise you have been with the game's sales?
We worked for three years on the game. It was a major investment for us but it worked out perfectly in the end. The game still sells nicely and when we showcase the game on occasions like Gamescom we see there is still a lot of interest out there.
For those unaware, can you break down the included content in the upcoming NEO Future Pack DLC?
The DLC has quite a lot of content:
- 8 exciting new race tracks
- 10 brand-new vehicle profiles
- 18 new audio tracks
- 2 new cups
How did you decide on the pricing for this DLC?
The DLC wasn't planned from start. We always design our games to be 'complete' without later add-ons. When the chance for a bigger retail version came along we wanted to give everyone the chance to enjoy the newly made content too. Therefore we made the pricing very affordable. We see it as a fan service.
How long was the team working on this DLC?
We worked on it for around half a year. Now after the main game was out we had all our tools and code in perfect shape. So we were able to create very special tracks that would have been out of scope when we did the main game.
Were many track and vehicle designs left unused when you picked the final line-up for the NEO Future Pack?
None at all. We had a schedule to work on the DLC and created as much content as possible in this time. At the end it was amazing how much new high quality stuff we were able to do.
What are some of your personal favourite tracks and vehicles in the DLC?
I think 'New Zendling' as one of the coolest tracks in the game. It's located in a great-looking futuristic city and has one of the most insane jumps in the game. Also the 'Iceland' track has breathtaking natural vistas and new gameplay elements like driving on tubes. Most people we showed the game said the 'Kuiper Belt' track was unbelievable. There you play in front of a big star in space and need to take care of asteroids and solar flares crossing your way.
Is the DLC unlocked immediately after purchase, or will players need to unlock it through beating certain cups or difficulty levels?
The DLC is immediately playable after purchase. We think this is what most people would like to see.
Will DLC tracks be playable in online multiplayer, and will there be any restrictions on access (such as only for lobbies where every player has the DLC)?
You decide if you want to play the original tracks only or also the DLC tracks. Of course the lobbies are then only filled with people that actually have the DLC. It will also be possible to play against people that own the retail version.
We'd like to ask about the disc version coming to Europe through the eShop Selects brand. Can you talk about how that came about? Did Nintendo of Europe approach you about it, or was it the other way around?
You can fully thank Nintendo. Without them there would have been no retail version and perhaps not even the new DLC.
How does the team feel about that disc release? Is it considered a big landmark moment, or are you perhaps more relaxed about it?
We did a lot of boxed games in our past, so it's not that unusual for us. However, being picked up by Nintendo due to the quality of your game is surely a very nice thing to happen.
Are there plans to bring the retail version to North America?
Are you surprised that the eShop Selects range is only in Europe so far, with no equivalent (yet) from Nintendo of America?
I know a lot of people would love to see the eShop Selects in the US as well. Same of course on our side.
Overall, how important is the disc release for building the FAST Racing / Shin'en brand?
We think it especially gives our FAST brand more exposure. It certainly will influence our future decisions for the game.
Have you finished with FAST Racing NEO now, or is there more DLC planned?
We have nothing to announce yet.
What's next for Shin'en Multimedia, is there anything you want to tease us with?
We would love to do that but you will have to wait a couple of months to hear what's next from us.
We'd like to thank Manfred Linzner for his time.
Whilst I believe that FAST Racing NEO is a great game that everyone should pick up, I found it too frustrating to truly enjoy. Still, I might pick up the DLC, only because I want to support the company.
I think Fast Racing NEO is definitely one of the best eShop games. It looks good, it plays well and most importantly feels good. The controls and the sense of speed make this game something that I can always enjoy playing.
I'm excited for NEO Future Pack. New tracks look fantastic, and I'm intrigued by new vehicle profiles. I hope it will also bring new people online.
Was just playing it today. Naturally it's one of the best games on Wii U!
"The DLC wasn't planned from start. We always design our games to be 'complete' without later add-ons."
Take note other developers!
One of my favourite Wii U games, will happily purchase the DLC.
And can we please get an in depth interview with Shin'en about how they're so damned talented? How do they put major studios to shame with such ease? We must know! Detailed technical interview please!
If anyone from shinren here, I love this game but it has 1 flaw. You should be able to adjust volume of the music and effects. I like to play racing games with my stereo playing music and the car sounds from the game. Please. Only complaint I have with this game. Outside that, great game from a great dev.
Shin'en deserves the support, so I'll double-dip on this one. The DLC is a bargain, but I'd rather get everything on-disc.
Looking forward to whatever they put out next. I've loved every game of theirs since Iridion II.
"You can fully thank Nintendo. Without them there would have been no retail version and perhaps not even the new DLC."
Thank you NoE! Thank you, Mr. Shibata. But above all, thank you Shin'en for being the mightier of tech wizards on Nintendo hardware and making games with passion.
this game is amazing but hard, one of the few non nintendo games on wii u thats on par with first party games
One can only wonder if Nintendo will give them the keys to F-Zero?
FAST is a great game, and given it has zero competition from F-Zero or WipEout it basically owns the future racer genre.
Shin'en seem to have some magic touch with Nintendo hardware. Neo looks amazing at full speed and the original on the Wii was great looking too.
One question. Does the disc version of the game come with the DLC included similar to how SteamWorld Heist does?
Nevermind I caught the answer at the start. That's great, for us Europeans at least.
Yes it does.
Very cool and interesting game. Sadly can only do much in the easiest difficulty, and my one gaming friend is worse than I am. My wife is scared to try it. So another solo game for me which seems like a shame for a racing game to me.
Honestly good game, and I may try to get 5 bucks for the DLC for myself, but the CPU gets a bit insane.
Gotta say, I respect the developers for putting the main game as the primary focus, rather than keeping dlc in the mix while developing. I wanted to get the game last year, but purchased XCX, so i'll get the physical.
@Hey-Cha-La It's alright, thanks. I answered my own question.
@RadioHedgeFund Honestly, I think Shin'en wouldn't take those "keys" and make a new F-Zero. If Shin'en made a F-Zero, they would effectively kill their own franchise, Fast Racing. Why would they do that? Besides, I'm sure Shin'en has other projects they're working on.
Anyone know if they've added some control remap options yet? I just can't get on with A/B for accelerate/brake, I much prefer B/Y (or at worst ZR/ZL).
I'll be picking up the physical version aswell would love too see a sequel on the NX or future different project from Shin'en.
Looking forward to this and Steamworld arriving on Friday.
Ah man, I've been stalking websites waiting for the disc version but, looks like I'm out of luck. Dang!
Please Nintendo of America bring over the retail release , I mean c'mon, what else you got for Wii U?
"We have nothing to announce yet"
Companies do realize that this tells us that there is something else coming, right?
@Pants98 Of course they do. Hence, the use of the word "yet".
@buildz Same, which is a shame because it's such fun to play otherwise. My young boys 5 and 6 love it even if they can't finish better than the last two, but they prefer Mario Kart 8 just that but more because at least my older one can win some races, whereas myself I'm still on the lowest difficulty.
I'll still buy the DLC though, it's too good to not buy.
@KoopaTheGamer I already prefer Fast Racing to F-Zero anyway.
Please make another full 3D Jett Rocket game next!
@buildz when i play it single player, ditto. split screen multiplayer is really where this game shines. even if we're only struggling for the last four places, it's always exciting and makes little kids swear like sailors.
@A01 today's developers do make them complete. many just tend to chop them up into itty bitty dlc pieces. they even make them complete then delay release by a few days just so you can pay to play it early - which i have to admit doing.
An awsome game from a great developer. It takes time and practice to get good and learn the tracks at the different speeds, but it feels so rewarding when you finally master it Looking forward to the DLC and any new stuff Shinen is working on.
It's an awesome game! Dificult but awesome! Addicting and graphically stunning!
The AA in the screenshots reminds me it's a shame the console don't use it
I'm buying the DLC on day one, and the price is quite low too.
Infact the price is as low as as the Mario Kart 8 DLC was.
How many Tracks/cars come with the base original game then ?
@XyVoX There is 16 tracks and 10 vehicles. The game has 3 speed classes, 4 cups per class, time trials and multiplayer, so even 16 tracks offer a lot to do.
Getting both DLC and the physical version. @Shinen. I would like to buy the cool FNR t-shirt that some of your staff wear in interviews.
I don't have the game, but thought the dlc was free. Now you have to pay for it.
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