As a big fan of futuristic racing games such as F-Zero and Wipeout, 2013’s closure of Studio Liverpool came as one of the industries biggest disappointments. Having followed the studio as far back as when they were called Psygnosis, it was a bit of a shock to see one of my childhood favourites disappear, almost in a flash. To little surprise, Sony have announced nothing for the Wipeout franchise since their closure. However it remains a popular IP to many, and it’s easy to see why other developers have began to try and fill the void. One such developer is 34BigThings, who are in the process of producing upcoming title Red:Out.
Similar in name, similar in nature, Red:Out provides an experience akin to that of Wipeout and fortunately for me as a Wipeout fan, I was able to get an opportunity to play a build of the game at this years EGX. Tucked away on the upper floor, and available on just one setup within the Unreal Engine zone, Red:Out immediately stood out as something I, as a fan of Wipeout would enjoy, and indeed it came quite natural as I quickly set a record lap on the games first track.
On 34BigThings website they offer the statement “Racetracks are boring. Race on rollercoasters.”, and its clear that rollercoasters appear to be an influence on the games track design. As I blistered around the demo’s two playable circuits I frequently observed the twists and turns felt very much akin to my experiences in theme parks. While the inspiration from Wipeout is clear, the track design is a little less constrained thanks to permanent anti-gravity.
This contrasts Wipeout’s design which only allows its vehicles to truly, deify gravity within its predefined anti-gravity segments. Red:Out grants the track more freedom – almost as if it has a mind and will of its own – as it twists and turns in whichever manner it fancies. Of course, there are some limitations; tracks have been cultivated so that they are enjoyable to play, and the turns are feasible to navigate relative to your ships speed and handling, but overall the track design feels much more liberal than that of Wipeout, and it’s for the better.
The sense of speed is there too, although similar to Wipeout and F-Zero it’s clear the speedometer should be approached with scepticism. Instead the games aesthetic design facilitates a sense of speed as the tracks are littered with horizontal lines creating a sort of motion blur as you rush past the ground. It’s harder to describe than it is to view, so watch the embedded pre-Alpha video if you have the time.
Visually the game has a distinct artstyle, simplistic yet provocative the games aesthetic is pleasant and the two tracks I was able to play each took me to an visually distinct location. Despite being bound to the road, it was nice to take in the scenery that passed me by, and landmarks serve as suitable points of orientation when trying to figure out just how far along a track you are.
It should be said the build I played was very much an unfinished state, and when I pried questions about the inclusion of artificial intelligence, they noted its addition was undecided at this stage. I do hope AI racers end up featuring, as without them Red:Out isn’t liable to hold my attention for an awfully long time. Despite this I was assured that some form of multiplayer would be present upon the games launch.
I only was able to play a small portion of the games content at EGX, yet Red:Out stood out to me at as an astoundingly promising sci-fi racer. Featuring exhilarating track design, a pleasant aesthetic and hard to master vehicle handling that’s typical of the sub-genre, it’s easy to see why fans of Wipeout will enjoy Red:Out and I can’t wait to see how this title turns out come the games launch.
Red:Out will be coming to PlayStation 4 and other platforms in 2015. You can find out more about the title on the developers official website here.