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Wreckfest Steam cover.jpg
Developer(s)Bugbear Entertainment
Publisher(s)THQ Nordic
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Windows
  • June 14, 2018
  • PS4, Xbox One
  • March 31st 2019
Genre(s)Vehicular combat, racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Wreckfest is a racing video game developed by Bugbear Entertainment and published by THQ Nordic. Wreckfest is described as the spiritual successor to the FlatOut series and a cross between FlatOut, Destruction Derby and cult 1989 PC racer Street Rod.[1] A notable feature of the game engine is the use of soft-body damage modelling, which enables location-based damage that affects the driving dynamics of vehicles in a realistic fashion.[2] After a four-year long early access phase, the Microsoft Windows version was released in June 2018, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions scheduled to be released in 2019.[3]


The final game is intended to include a variety of gameplay features, including traditional track racing and demolition derbies.[2] The racing gameplay follows the same fundamental rules as most modern racing games, such as Need for Speed or Gran Turismo. The player controls a car in a race or demolition derby, the goal being to win the race or be the sole survivor of the derby respectively. Before participating in an event the player must choose a vehicle, select either manual or automatic transmission, and finally select either a dirt or tarmac track on which to race. Players will also be able to buy and sell vehicles, customise vehicles, and perform "research".[4]

The races themselves focus heavily on "vehicular combat", where players have to find a balance between defensive tactics such as avoiding debris or opponents' vehicles and more aggressive tactics such as grinding against opponents and forcing them out of the way in order to overtake them or avoid harm.[5] While Wreckfest's focus on physics and vehicular damage is similar to previous destruction-based racing games such as Criterion's Burnout, it follows a somewhat slower and more strategic approach,[5] resulting in a more traditional racing gameplay experience than in comparable games.[6]


Development on Next Car Game began in 2012, and was first announced by Bugbear Entertainment on the Next Car Game blog in August 2013.[7] In an interview with IGN, lead game designer Janne Suur-Näkki stated that the game should reach a "feature-complete state" in 2014, with all key features implemented.[1] In a press release published by Eurogamer, Next Car Game was officially announced for PC.[8]

Due to the lack of publisher support, the development team provided early access to the game via pre-orders on the official Next Car Game website as well as Steam Early Access and also created a Kickstarter campaign as alternate means of raising revenue in order to develop the game.[1] The overhaul of the physics engine has caused updates to the game to slow significantly.[9] The game was last updated in August 2018.[10]

Failed Kickstarter campaign[edit]

Bugbear launched a Kickstarter campaign on November 1, 2013 in an effort to fund the development of Next Car Game, with a goal of $350,000 to complete the game, and a stretch goal of $1.5 million to create PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game.[11] The campaign was cancelled on November 22, after it became "obvious" that the game would not reach its funding goal, having only raised $81,722.[12] Lead game designer Janne Suur-Näkki described the Kickstarter campaign as a bewildering and disappointing experience, as Bugbear had to go to "great lengths" to make the campaign happen due to Kickstarter and Finnish legislation imposing "considerable challenges" on the project.[1]

After failing to meet the $350,000 goal of the Kickstarter campaign, Bugbear concentrated efforts on a pre-order campaign being run via the Next Car Game official website. A playable "technology sneak peek" was made available for download to supporters who had pre-ordered the game, the sneak peek featured 24 vehicles and a single level which the developers used internally to test the game's damage engine.[13] Following a highly positive response from players regarding the sneak peek, Bugbear released an extended version called Sneak Peek v2.0 to all pre-order supporters. This extended sneak peek included additional features such as new destructive machinery, more dynamic destructible objects, and a "physics cannon".[14]

Early access[edit]

Following the success of the Technology Sneak Peek, an early access version of the game was released shortly before Christmas in 2013.[15] The early access release featured two playable vehicles and three tracks, two of which were traditional race tracks while the other was a demolition derby arena.[16] The early access release was highly successful and received great feedback from sim racers.[17] By the end of the Christmas week the game had already sold for more than Bugbear's initial funding goal of $350,000 on Kickstarter.[18] Next Car Game was subsequently released on Steam Early Access on 15 January 2014, with special discount prices offered until the 29 January.[19] The game found tremendous success on the Steam Early Access platform, earning over $1 million in sales during a single week.[20]

On October 3, 2014, Bugbear made an announcement on the game's blog entry for the game's sixth build that Next Car Game was now officially titled Wreckfest.[21][22] The announcement came with a definition of the term "wreck fest" written on Urban Dictionary.[21][23] In the same announcement, Bugbear also announced an eighteen-player online multiplayer has been introduced with new deathmatch and team deathmatch game modes, as well as a new track and a new car.[21][22] The developer also said that they were aiming for twenty-four-player multiplayer for the final release, but will need to spend more time optimizing the game's network code.[21][22] It was released out of early access on June 14, 2018. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were originally scheduled for release on November 20, 2018,[24] but was delayed to 2019.[3]


Wreckfest received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic.[25]


  1. ^ a b c d Reilly, Luke (16 February 2014). "The FlatOut Successor Publishers Don't Think You Want". IGN. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b Roberts, Tommy (7 November 2013). "Bugbear Inc. Crowdfunding 'Next Car Game', Utilizes Interesting Soft Body Car Damage". GameSkinny. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Wreckfest for PS4 and Xbox One delayed to 2019". Gematsu. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Usher, William (24 December 2013). "Bugbear's Next Car Game Early Access Pre-Alpha Gameplay Video". Gaming Blend. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b Smith, Adam (16 January 2014). "Impressions: Next Car Game". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  6. ^ Duncan, Alasdair (15 January 2014). "Next Car Game is now available on Steam Early Access". Destructoid. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  7. ^ Laakso, Joonas (27 August 2013). "Welcome to Next Car Game!". Bugbear Entertainment. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  8. ^ Phillips, Tom (25 February 2013). "Footage of FlatOut dev's next-gen racing game. UPDATE: Unbounded fun coming to PC and "yet-to-be announced" platforms". Eurogamer. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  9. ^ Team Bugbear (20 February 2015). "Weekly Report #8". Next Car Game. Bugbear Entertainment. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Wreckfest :: New Hotfix Out!". 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  11. ^ McWhertor, Michael (1 November 2013). "FlatOut developer turns to Kickstarter for new racing game". Polygon. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  12. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (24 November 2013). "Bugbear Entertainment cancels Next Car Game Kickstarter". Polygon. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  13. ^ Reilly, Luke (24 November 2013). "Bugbear Yanks Plug on Next Car Game Kickstarter". IGN. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Sneak Peak v2.0 Released!". Bugbear Entertainment. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Early Access doubled sales over Christmas week, free demo downloaded over 50,000 times!". Bugbear Entertainment. 3 January 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Next Car Game: Early Access out now, free Sneak Peek demo released!". Gamasutra. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Why you will love Next Car Game". Game Crusaders. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  18. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (8 February 2014). "After stalling on Kickstarter, Next Car Game finds success in Early Access". Polygon. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  19. ^ Tach, Dave (15 January 2014). "Bugbear's Next Car Game hits Steam Early Access". Polygon. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  20. ^ Suszek, Mike (30 January 2014). "Next Car Game earns $1 million from Steam Early Access". Joystiq. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  21. ^ a b c d "Build #6 Live! Official Name Revealed, Multiplayer Introduced". Bugbear Entertainment. October 3, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c Devore, Jordan (October 3, 2014). "Next Car Game now has an actual name: Wreckfest". Destructoid. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  23. ^ "Wreck fest". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved October 4, 2014. Mostly common in racing series such as NASCAR and Formula 1 (a.k.a. F1). This happens on some tracks during races where the cars are close together and drivers misjudge how close the cars are. Thus, resulting in one big wreck after another. It can also result in only a few cars being taken out of the race instead of seven cars at once.
  24. ^ @THQNordic (June 1, 2018). "Wreckfest will COME OUT ON PC on JUNE 14! Brand new release features - new challenge mode with CRAZY NEW VEHICLES plus new paint jobs and quirky customization items. CONSOLE fans look forward to NOVEMBER 20!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ "Wreckfest for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 August 2018.

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