Racing games are one of the most popular genres of gaming in history. Be its gameplay or be it player’s adrenaline rush it has always been favourite among the gamers. The journey of racing games started in 1960 with Sega Games’ first ever electro-mechanical racing game Grand Prix and since then the journey of racing games have been on point.
Since the journey of racing games has excelled over the years, it has been segregated into subgenres like arcade style racing games, racing simulators and kart racing games. The arcade-style racing games are the one such subgenre of racing which is known for its fun and a fast-paced experience. The upcoming racing game BOT RODS probably releasing end of Q1 of 2019 falls under the same category.
The game opens with amazing graphics of bee buzzing, colourful flower covered landscape, adorable futuristic robots ready for racing, cows grazing in the field and so on. From the reveal of the gameplay at an event and speaking with BOT RODS creator Nirmal David and Dileep Verma we received insights on why it should be the racing game to play in 2019.
The Cirqus, Hobo Interactive and Holy Cow productions gave shape in building out the world of BOT RODS. The game is set in an adorable futuristic world of the aliens; it revolves around many species of characters racing each other in their customisable bots (their robot vehicles).
Some of the bots are Bit Bot, Ram Bots, Aquarian Bots and so on. The species are designed with amazing characteristics, for example, Aquarian one has unique shrimp-like flexible quality and it is fond of water.
The characters are the unique blend of technology and animals, whose journey started three and half years back from David’s obsession with robots. Thinking of robots design complexity he kept in mind that the characters should be simple and adorable to reach out to a wide audience. Not only that the main racer of the game is a girl and it is her journey as a pro racer and the storyline revolves around her relationship with the bot itself.
David expressed “it is not just a racing game; it has characters which has made it unique. We follow the life of the female protagonist right from her days as a rookie Bot pilot struggling to connect with her Bot, to becoming a professional underground race champion. ”
Getting deeper in the graphics of the game, Verma who has modelled each character of the game expressed that, to design each character he has captured every motion details of animals and then he mixed it in with actual VFX and animation.
“When it came to designing the bots, one of the key factors was to keep the forms aesthetically appealing yet exceptionally simple,” Verma expressed
Keeping that in mind, the team has used Unreal Engine 4 to bring BOT RODS to life and they found it quite challenging as it was their first time using the platform as they were previously using Unity Engine. “ Developments of bots were most difficult. Software Unreal has helped us; a lot of look development was done entirely on it,” Verma elaborates while speaking on the Unreal game engine.
It is a colourful experience of racing where robots are running on their legs rather than wheels. Creating such animated experience Verma further expressed that “animating a game like that by adding animation and VFX is one of the biggest challenges for us.”
The journey of the gameplay is equivalent to a roller coaster ride, where each character has to cross various hurdles in the stages to reach the ultimate destination. In addition, it has few modes which have made it unique to play, for example, it has weapon mode where species can turn on the quirky weapon pods to beat the opponent by slowing them down while racing and trying few tricks or two to rise over the opponents.
It is a multiplayer game and the screen can be split into four, along with that it has various tracks which will unlock after crossing certain levels. The game has currently exhibited in PAX West 2018, IGDC 2018, Anifest 2018 and more. The game is currently supported for XBOX, Nintendo Switch and Play Station 4 and later it might support mobile as well.
Classic racing kart games like Mario Kart 8, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, Crashing Team Racing and more have already gained sky touching popularity among gamers, therefore, it is quite challenging for a new comer to enter and sustain the arcade style racing market. But considering the unique features, characters and design elements of BOT RODS , we can say that it might earn equal popularity of the existing classic kart racing games.