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Bugbear Entertainment's physics-driven racing simulator has officially launched on Steam's Early Access program. It's discounted at the moment by 17% and you can get in on the game's alpha for only $24.99.
Next Car Game is built on top of Bugbear's previous experience with the Flatout series, where gamers could ram, smash and crash 3D cars with satisfying, destructive results. The series became renown for its physics and damage models, which is something that carried over quite well (and as a new generation of interaction) in Bugbear's latest experiment.
Next Car Game has also managed to go through the standard indie-fare hoops, managing a Kickstarter, getting upvotes on Steam Greenlight and now eventually making it to the market in partial form on Steam's Early Access program.
It's taken the team about a year to get from the announcement phase to the playable alpha phase, as the Next Car Game originally made waves back in February of 2013, and eventually (and slowly) rolled its way through crowd-funding and the other typical distribution barriers.
Back in December the team released some pre-alpha footage of the game's Early Access, which you can view below.
A lot of excitement has been derived from the game's presence in the gaming news circuit, as a lot of eager racing fans have been yearning for something more than the typical outings provided by Polyphony Digital and Turn 10 Studios. I suppose it's also one of the reasons Project CARS has been receiving so much attention lately.
Right now there isn't too much to the meat and bones of Next Car Game other than some basic test modes and two vehicles to play around with. Nevertheless, the basic consensus from people who have backed the game or messed with the demo have had nothing but positive things to say about the game so far.
Bugbear is planning on fleshing out the game with multiple race tracks, race types, destruction derby modes and a ton of the silly mini-games that helped put them on the map with Flatout.
I'm definitely going to reserve judgment on the game until more features and modes are made available. It's tough to get a gauge on the future potential of a product when it's basically just a paid-for demo at this point.
I know a lot of people are also quite leery about Early Access games following Valve's admission that refunds aren't possible for canceled Early Access titles. It gives off a certain kind of wariness when approaching some of the lesser stable games that may not have the sort of support or backing like DayZ or Starbound.
Nevertheless, you can learn more about Next Car Game or grab a digital copy of the Early Access prototype by visiting the official Steam page.