Lucky Mountain's low-poly speed-fest Racing Apex is a game we've been keeping a close watch on for quite some time now, and has recently evolved into Hotshot Racing.
The brainchild of former EA, Rockstar and Sony London staffer Trevor Ley, Racing Apex was an attempt to capture the brilliance of '90s arcade racing games, specifically those crafted by Sega, such as Daytona USA, Virtua Racing and Scud Race.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Ley explains why he started a project which has taken up almost a decade of his life:
I wanted to do something that brought back the feeling of the arcade games back in the 90s, because I used to skip school and go to Trocadero to play games like Virtua Racing, Hard Drivin', Daytona USA, Sega Rally. Driving games were basically the ones for me.
Originally envisaged as a mobile game because, as Lay puts it, "that was a time when iPhones had become quite popular," Racing Apex eventually shifted its focus to PC and consoles (including the Wii U!) and onto the crowdfunding circuit in 2016; sadly, the campaign was unsuccessful, but that didn't stop Lucky Mountain from continuing to work on the title – which was about to undergo a pretty dramatic transformation, as Lay explains:
It evolved quite a lot. I think with the amount of time that it's taken, it's sort of been honed down, a little bit like grains of sand going through an hourglass. It's been filtered down to what it is now; a supersonic racing game first and foremost, with the kind of handling that you would expect from something that was inspired by Daytona or Out Run.
The weapons-based focus of Racing Apex has now been removed, and, as we all know, the game has a new title: Hotshot Racing. It also has an additional developer involved in the form of the racing experts at Sumo Digital, most recently responsible for Team Sonic Racing.
Tom Turner, development director at Sumo, explains how it got involved:
When we first saw the build of the game that Trevor presented to us, I think for a lot of the guys here because we've got that racing heritage and, and the driving experience, we just fell in love with it. You could see the potential there, and what this could become. We just thought that this could be a really, really cool project that we could apply our expertise to.
Sumo coming on board has resulted in pretty sizeable changes under the hood, too. The game is no longer running in Unity, but in Sumo's own in-house game engine, and is being rebuilt at the company's Nottingham studio. That means it will run at 60FPS on all systems – including Switch. Sumo has also had a hand in thinking up new modes for the game, including a Chase HQ-style 'cops and robbers' mode. Oh, and there's going to be four-player split-screen multiplayer, too.
When Racing Apex's crowdfunding drive failed and the game faded from view, many of us feared the worst, but it seems that the end result is actually going to be better than we could possibly have imagined.
Game looks brilliant.
This is the spiritual sequel to and evolution of something like the original Virtua Racing that I've wanted to see for a long time, specifically that really clean, flat-shaded polygon look running at a rock-solid 60fps and with zero pop up/draw in.
Looks awesome. And, if it plays as good as it looks then I wish the developers all the success in the world.
Edit: Shame they removed the shooting stuff though, even if it were kept as a separate mode, because I really loved the classic Chase H.Q. games back in the day and I think a mode like that here would be great.
Edit 2: Oh, wait, so it does have a Chase H.Q. mode. I presume that means it does still have the shooting stuff too but only in that specific mode? If so, that totally makes sense and it sounds perfect to me then.
Edit 3: I'll be honest though, there's something about the specific way it looks in the original Apex Legends footage that I really like, as though it's not had any modern filters applied but is just pure polygons at a high resolution. The newer version in the trailer still looks great but not quite a lovely to me. Even the HUD/GUI looked a little more classic and cooler in the original version to me. But, anyway, still well up for this.
I really liked Chase HQ and of course Horizon Chase. It's like a baby between the two of them! How nice!
I love me a 90s arcade racing game, so I am 100% the target audience of this one. This video has me convinced that the game is indeed worthy of its inspirations, so I will be picking it up day 1.
Looks amazing, and it's great that Sumo digital are now involved. With no Direct in sight this is my most looked forward to game of 2020.
Wireless local play and I'll buy 4 copies
I actually really like the old and new versions both, too bad the original didn't work out.
"Chase HQ style cops and robbers mode."
This is all you needed to say.
@nkarafo but the shooting gameplay was removed - will just chasing someone be enough for you?
Count me in! This looks gorgeous
Oh wow this looks amazing! Too bad the weapons are gone, I used to love N.I.C.E. on PC in case anyone knows about it and this game reminded me of that a little.
Either way, it looks fast paced which is exactly my speed (pun very much intended) and how often do you see a low poly racing game?
Looks like Horizon Chase Turbo, which is excellent by the way.
If this plays well I'm on board. Though I haven't looked Sumo's other racers.
So... No more guns? Boring.
It’s a shame the guns are gone but I do like the sound of a Chase HQ mode. I’ll definitely be grabbing this, I hope it’s got a cool and unique power slide mechanic like Daytona or Ridge Racer.
I loved the look of Racing Apex, but the gunplay/weapons turned me off. Now that they've removed that aspect, I'll seriously consider picking this one up!
Seems interesting, if the performance is great it should a fun at least.
@ermzzz Yeah I would rather just play a straight up racing game when it comes to that. Either commit to a Twisted Metal style game or just give me a racing game.
Aha... online multiplayer! Sign me up
So it lacks vehicle customization now?
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