redout the future racer we needed pax west hands on
RedOut by 34 Big Things Studios. Taking inspirations from high-speed games, such as F-Zero, Wipeout, and Switch Gravity Ultra, Redout is a high-speed racing game, where players take to their ships in blisteringly fast speed across a variety of futuristic tracks on multiple planets. Despite the resurgence of cyberpunk and future games in the main spotlight of the industry, there have hardly been any future racers, if at all.
I sat down with a representative of Redout as I waited to play the game. The team drew passion from futuristic racers, most especially F-Zero and WipeOut. The two games, which were made exclusively for the SNES and PlayStation respectively, had players boost across futuristic cities in an effort to get to first place. For F-Zero, the objective was to use super boost power and good maneuvers to make it through to first place. It was one of the first games to use the MODE 7 processing to create 3D-like visuals. WipeOut was a launch title for the PlayStation One in 1995 and had players boost across the lightning fast racing course in fully three-D environments. Another twist was the use of weapons in the game, to defend your craft and thwart others.
In making Redout, the focus was absolutely on the gameplay. While RedOut looks beautiful, the gameplay was what had mattered the most to the team. Considering the pure racing nature of the game, refining, and polishing the gameplay was an absolute priority. Creating a failed gameplay hook could mar the momentum of a game that is all about speed and control. From that polish and refinement, the team had further ideas of creating the racing world. The team decided to make the racing events an intergalactic adventure, with each course taking place in a different world. The team brought the visual assets together to create a sharp racing experience that not only looks great but runs at a constant 60FPS.
After a short wait, I finally had my chance of piloting one of this ship and taking Redout for a spin. The course was a time trial, taking place on a fictional tropical world in the sunset. In the distance, there were celestial bodies in the sky. The overall look of the level appears to be tropical, with huge plants growing, as well as large bodies of water. The course would take me through the sides of mountains, along beaches, and underwater.
From the very start, the ship roared to life and had me speeding down the raceway. The controls were simple, with the left stick used for movement, the right stick used for strafing, the left bumper for braking and the right for acceleration. Admittedly, it took some getting used to, which I wasn’t expecting. However, this was actually good feedback, as the game would use its own momentum and physics. As I approached a turn, I used a combination of braking and my strafing stick to maintain orientation. Fortunately, I didn’t grind on the walls too hard, which is inevitable in games such as this. This did cause me to use my brake more often than I wanted to.
Fortunately, if I had hit a wall, the craft did drag but didn’t stop dead in its tracks. One complaint of the WipeOut games, in particular, was that should a craft strike a wall, the craft stops, snapping momentum and allowing the opposition to take the lead. With Red0ut, the controls felt very responsive, and the physics had good feedback. Throughout the course, the environment was both a blur and a sight to behold. I could see the sky, the trees, the water, and the amazing backgrounds of this futuristic planet. At the same time, I could feel the ship whisking past the scenery and great speed. This was a sensation I had not felt in quite some time.
Surprisingly, the ship went underwater, winding through more of the course. It took me by surprise, and I had to comment on how gorgeous the game looked. I maintained good control of my ship and kept that finger held on the accelerator at all times. My turns got better, and I maintained a better feeling for the craft. Before I knew it, I had made it to the finish line, crossing the checkered strip at a Silver Medal time. With that, my time with the game was over.
Redout looks to be a fantastic and tremendous future racer, that significantly fills the void left in the future and cyberpunk arenas of video games. The game is currently available on Steam, with a release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for, potentially, early 2017.