Releasing the Next Car Game on Steam’s Early Access programme has finally brought in significant funding, hopefully even enough to finish it. Developer Bugbear Entertainment has been trying for months now to secure the money needed to complete the game: a Kickstarter campaign from 2013 failed to reach its modest $350,000 goal, and the in-house fundraising page Bugbear launched shortly thereafter likewise failed to bring in the bucks on its own.
But, just one week after making the game available through Steam’s Early Access programme, the developer has raked in over a million dollars. Bugbear sent out a press release announcing the milestone; they also outlined the difficult road they’d had up to that point, with traditional publishers not quite understanding why anyone would “would want to race and crash with such old beaters?”
This is an amazing success for a racing game, especially considering our tough road to the success. Along the way we pitched the game to numerous publishers in the hopes that the game would eventually get released. Unfortunately we receive the same response all over again – there were no market for a game like ours. Come on, who would want to race and crash with such old beaters? Well, we would! Because of that we didn’t give up, but instead chose to seek crowd-funding on Kickstarter. However, we experienced another setback when our Kickstarter campaign didn’t reach the goal we were aiming for.
Things turned around somewhat when they released their free playable technology sneak peek, which showed off much of the game’s mechanics (including some seriously cool car destruction) and gave gamers a taste of what the Next Car Game could become. As a direct result, “pre-order sales skyrocketed, and [Bugbear] reached and actually topped [its] original Kickstarter funding goal in just [a] week! And most importantly: the success showed us that the players believed in the game.”
And what’s not to believe? Bugbear Entertainment is the studio behind three quarters of the FlatOut series of demolition racing games that clearly show they have a good handle on driving mechanics, car destruction and the boundless joys of racing with reckless abandon and winning by smashing all of your opponents to bits – literally! The fourth game was just terrible as issues with Flatout’s publisher, Empire Interactive, led to the sale of the name to Strategy First, who then passed on development duties to German game studio Team6. Team6 clearly didn’t share Bugbear’s passion for good graphics, quick load times, or even realistic physics, leading to the disaster that was FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction.
With all of that nastiness behind them, Bugbear is on the road to releasing perhaps their best driving game to date. Next Car Game (a working title) features detailed destruction mechanics, traditional races as well as chaotic demolition derbies that leave all but one competitor as bent, buckled and flaming wrecks on specially-designed arena-like tracks.
Steam’s Early Access programme is a boon to cash-strapped developers who need a way to keep funding the development of their unfinished games, as it allows them to pre-sell their work to an audience eager to see the game early, even if it means putting up with bugs and incomplete features. It also lets players participate in the active development of the game, as they get to give their feedback directly to the people making it while it’s being worked on through Steam’s support forums.
If you’d like to see Next Car Game in action, there are a bunch of YouTube videos you can watch to give you a taster of what $29.99 (R330-odd) buys you. The official teaser is also pretty cool; check it out below.