Arcade Racing Legends - New racing title smashes through Kickstarter goal

The last few years in the Dreamcast indie scene have been an odd time. Long gone are the days where every new title announced seemed to be a German Shmup; the French are here now, and with JoshProd they've redefined the very nature of the scene. 3 waves of successful releases, has seen all manner of titles come our way - from classics like Flashback and Fade to Black, to ports of Visco Neo Geo titles like Breakers and Captain Tomaday, forgotten adventure gems like the Escapee and some more modern ports, like the recent (and excellent) Finding Teddy. It can't be stated enough just how much life JoshProd have brought to the scene - so it was unsurprising that when they announced a Kickstarter for a new 3D racing title to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the console, a lot of people (us included) got rather excited. Arcade Racing Legends is that new title, and with their initial goal already exceeded, we thought it was about time we took a look at what could very well be a new high point in the Dreamcast's Indie library.

Now technically, it's Pixelheart who are the guys behind this project. The Kickstarter is under that name, also the name of the website where you can purchase the previously released titles. It seems to be the same team as JoshProd, for the most part, though. Pixelheart have informed us that the development team includes Jerome Lignier and Jo the code master, both having more than 20 years experience in the games industry. Regardless of name changes, the Marseille-based group went live on June 27th with a professional looking pitch and talk of honouring and paying homage to the great legacy of Sega's racing lineage. Offering a range of pledge levels, from copies of the game right the way up to track and car branding, and with plenty of nifty little rewards in between, from die cast cars and card sets to fancy looking Polo shirts and racing caps, there was plenty to tempt the scene. The initial goal of €25,000 was met with more than half the time remaining, and (at time of writing) they're roaring on towards a series of stretch goals which include a full Pit Stop story mode, split screen play and ultimately, a potentially very interesting online mode.



The stated ambition of the developers is to create a game that will contain several nods to great Sega franchises - and this seems evident in the early beta the team released, as well as numerous mentions of classic cars from numerous titles. Sega Rally's Lancia Delta, Out Run and Daytona USA inspired cars and a rather lovely looking Crazy Taxi inspired number. Arcade racing is certainly the order of the day here as the name suggests, with the arcade mode offering exclusive vehicles as well the usual array of boosts and power ups that you'd expect -  although Pixelheart have promised both an Arcade and Simulation mode, and tentative promises of a story mode (if the required goals are met) are very interesting indeed.
The car selection certainly looks promising!

The early beta showcased the games 3D engine, which is an optimised version of the one used in 4x4 Jam (a game I really rather liked - click here for that review) and showed tracks used in an earlier iOS title. This did cause a minor stir in the community, with a belief that this was in fact just a port, but further clarification from the development team of why they used these assets, and progress on the title being shown regularly, has put any fears at ease. In a similar way, some concerns raised about using real-world licenses without permission have been tackled by explaining that they will be removed in the final game - so no need to worry about Sega's legal team coming knocking any time soon (they're rather polite to be honest, we know from experience). 6 tracks are currently promised, covering the range of standard racing environments, and there's a 2 player 'dual' mode which will feature, regardless of whether the stretch goal of split screen racing is reached. There's also the promise of a variety of musical styles to accompany the game.


Of course, as previously stated, there are some really rather juicy stretch goals on offer - and the one that grabs the attention the most has to be the potential for a full Online mode. Whilst it's obviously too early to speculate on what this would look like, the prospect of the thriving online DC community getting a brand new title to play is exciting. No doubt i'd get my arse handed to me by our resident racing expert (and real life race driver) James Harvey though. Again. There are also plenty of opportunities for high-level backers to support in game-branding, from track side banners to fully branded cars. Some of these have already been snapped up, and are looking rather lovely.


Having now played a newer build of the game, which includes early work on the Crazy Taxi inspired model, I have to say that I'm rather excited by this project. Sure, it's still early days, but the graphics are solid, the handling is getting there, and the tracks look interesting. Some of the vehicles to be added look really interesting (follow the team on Twitter as they announce latest car sponsorship's and some really nice designs) and some of their planned content has the potential to deliver a compellingly deep side to the arcade thrills. There's work to be done of course, and to be a truly great racing title on the Dreamcast (and there's no lack of competition here) there's going to have to be some tightening of the controls and handling on the different tracks, and some general polishing up, but so far it's looking very promising indeed

The Kickstarter is still live at time of writing, so there's still plenty of time to back the project and get yourself some sweet tier rewards too. Now, if anyone wants to pay for a DCJY branded car in the game, I can officially send you a signed, potentially risqué picture of Tom Charnock as a reward...






What do you think - are you supporting this latest Kickstarter project for the Dreamcast? Excited by another excursion to the 3rd dimension in the Indie lineup? Feel free to comment and don't forget to follow us over on our Facebook page and Twitter account (@TheDCJunkyard)

The Arcade Racing Legends Kickstarter page can be found here.




8 comments:

fatherkrishna said...

An excellent prelude to the game Mike! Consider my appetite well and truly whetted! 4 x 4 Jam engine? Nods to classic Sega franchises and not a Red Spot Shmup? I'm there!

DDT said...

I'm going to be brutally honest here - the footage I have seen so far does not impress me. Nor does the frame rate, the handling (the cars, especially the Ferrari wobbles around on the track like a 50's American car or a beach buggy with really soft suspension!) or the basic looking surroundings or the very sparse track graphics. Seems like A LOT of work is to be done. But I'm all up for it if they can improve.

hoogafanter said...

While the Dreamcast has one of the greatest indy scenes of any dead console, I have to say I haven't played a single one that was actually like... good. Some are mildly interesting for sure but stuff like this... how can I get excited for this with all the amazing similar genre games already on the console? Even Sturmwind which is touted over and over again as the best indy Dreamcast game was completely underwhelming and the graphics had this awful early 90s PC game look to it...

Anthony817 said...

I am extremely excited for this game, and it has both the BTTF Delorean, as well as the Trans Am from Knight Rider coming to the game. So us 80's babies got some stuff to look forward to.

I just don't get all the hate about this game. People seem to be taking it personal that there is a new game they don't like. I see a company keeping our favorite console alive and giving us a great game for th4e 20th Anniversary of the Western release of the system.

Blondejon said...

Awesome review Mike, i injoyed play testing this

DCGX said...

I'm severely skeptical especially when it comes to the car models. In their current state, I don't how they won't get sued into the ground over licensing similarities.

Also, hoogafanter, Sturmwind looks like an awful early 90s PC game? Do you even remember what early 90s 3D games looked like?

Outlaw said...

First, Sturmwind looks and plays awesome. That being said, Arcade Racing Legends is pretty interesting, tho I agree on the controls. Must be fixed, that’s the most important part of any racing game, no matter how many cars and tracks or how good graphics look.
I did back this project by the way. New Dreamcast games on Kickstarter... love it!

Tom Charnock said...

Interesting looking game. As alluded to by others here, it looks like the handling might be a little iffy though...!