Even in the tell-all confessional that is the Kickstarter pitch video, there’s a level of artificiality that developers would be remiss not to engage in. Not deception, as such, but showmanship - a willingness to play the crowd as much as it wants to be played, and no further.
With a name as charmingly placeholder as Next Car Game, FlatOut veterans Bugbear could seemingly do no wrong. But rather than sweep the curtain off their new engine and drive it straight onto the Kickstarter podium to rapturous applause, the developers drove their campaign like an 18-wheeler. They announced Next Car Game in February; launched a pre-order initiative in September; and finally, took Next Car Game to Kickstarter a month ago when all its keenest backers had already emptied their pockets.
The result was an underfunded squib, cancelled on Friday. Bugbear have decided to re-focus their campaign around the existing pre-order system.
“Although our Kickstarter campaign has attracted tremendous enthusiasm, during the last couple of weeks it’s become obvious that we are not going to meet our goal,” said the developers in an update.
“We Finns are not used to giving up so easily, and we are hell-bent to keep on developing the game with our supporters, shaping it into something that no racing game fan can afford to pass. We have this thing called sisu in Finnish, meaning strength of will, and we’re counting on that each of you have a bit of sisu in you!”
Bugbear have released a playable demo of the game in very basic form as an incentive for pre-order support. The demo features a playground map used internally to test Next Car Game’s all-important car damage and environmental destruction, and some 24 cars to roar about it.
When funded, the full game will include a “number” of race tracks and derby arenas, as well as improved car damage and handling. But before then, Bugbear plan to open the game up to pre-orderers in an Early Access phase.
“We really hope that most of you want to continue supporting us and Next Car Game through our website,” they write. “To make the game happen, we need your support more than ever.”
They’re an irrepressible bunch. Have you backed Next Car Game yet, one way or another?