Formula Fusion: future racing flashback

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Gaming in the late 90s could be boiled down to two things: raiding tombs and super fast anti-gravity racing to a electronic music soundtrack, thanks to the huge success of the original PlayStation console. The original Wipeout got huge exposure thanks to the single race course that featured on the demo CD that came bundled with the console. Not only was the pumping Drum ‘n’ Bass and Rave soundtrack amazing, but the game showed off the capabilities of Sony’s little grey console. Since then, we’ve had a few sequels and reissues in the Wipeout series, along with the sad closure of Sony Studios Liverpool (née Psygnosis) in 2012. Now, as if rising from the ashes, Phoenix-like, veterans who worked on the Wipeout games have set up as R8 Games, based out of sunny Middlesbrough, to create Formula Fusion, the spiritual successor (we seem to be using that term a lot these days!) we’ve been hoping for.

Not long ago, the team launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for £35,000, ending up with just shy of £80,000, which, while meagre compared to what some other games are getting, is still twice what they asked for. The team have dug up some classic electronic music producers to contribute to the soundtrack, which is as important to these games as any other art assets. So far, Dub FX and CoLD SToRAGE have been announced, with more to come!

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Formula Fusion is a near-future anti-gravity racing game that brings fast, frantic, adrenaline-fuelled racing together with the raw sound of a thumping dance soundtrack and psychedelic visual effects. Set in the dystopian year of 2075 in the redeveloped ruins of New York State, Formula Fusion’s stunning atmospheric environments complement the dirty-urban visual design of The Designers Republic that truly set the stage for the Formula Fusion W.A.R Leagues – a dog-eat-dog racing competition born on the back of F1 racing.

Begin your career, upgrade your craft, advance through the classes, and earn your place as champion.

  • Coming soon to PC Windows! – Mac OS, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita Stretch Goals!
  • Features 21 tracks across seven stunningly themed environments plus a final battle arena, ‘Main Stadium’
  • Single-player, multiplayer, split-screen and competitive esports
  • Custom music, skin creator and team builder.
  • Immersive soundtrack featuring Dub FX, CoLD SToRAGE and to-be-announced artists.
  • No pay-to-win or subscriptions.
  • Real world sponsors, plus a rich in-game universe created by The Designers Republic and VFX/Concept Artist Cenay Oekman (credited on titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Inception).

The year is 2075. The events of the Great Energy War of 2025 still resonate in the new capital, New York City. A ravaged wasteland now fringes the great New York metropolis, Time’s Square is under water, and riots, starvation and corruption are rampant in the city. Redevelopment on a vast scale has all but papered over the cracks, with many districts almost unrecognizable. The division between rich and poor is the greatest it has ever been: Favela-style slums and make-shift buildings form poverty-stricken rings around the affluent commercial districts and neon neighbourhoods of New York City.

My take

I mostly missed the original PlayStation since I’d become a PC gamer, coming from the Super Nintendo, but I do remember playing lots of Wipeout, Demolition Derby and Tomb Raider in a friend’s dorm room at university. Wipeout was a phenomenon, and Sony’s marketing was genius, taking PlayStation consoles into the booming UK club scene, where Wipeout’s neon laser colours and dirty electronic music were a perfect fit.

While it feels a bit weird seeing the simple polygon ships and tracks of Wipeout translated to such high definition, hopefully it will fill out some of the details that were left to the imagination about the environments and ships. The game promises some good multiplayer options, including online and option for competitive esports. One thing we mustn’t forget is that the video game landscape has changed massively in the last few years, moving away from communal split screen sofa-based gaming to the online arena. Let’s hope that Formula Fusion can survive that.

Fingers crossed Formula Fusion will have a March 2016 release date on Windows via Steam.

What are your memories of gaming in the 90s? do you remember playing the Wipeout demo on PlayStation?

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About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan