Ambition may usually be a virtue but when it comes to Kickstarter projects an overabundance of ambition is one of the traits that most concerns me. Futuristic racer Formula Fusion was one such project as it set itself up to be a spiritual successor to the iconic WipEout series of games – a worthy goal but one I worried could be too much for indie developer R8 Games. So seven months later I was interested to see how development was going.
The actual Kickstarter campaign of Formula Fusion wasn’t an issue as the pledges poured in to help it reach £80,000 ($121,000) – more than double its original target. This wasn’t just racing fans looking to fill the void left by the lack of a new WipEout game – the campaign was professionally run with a great looking game and although R8 Games were an indie studio they had experienced staff, including some who had actually worked on the WipEout franchise.
Once the campaign was over Formula Fusion continued to look promising. Aside from issues resolving all the physical rewards there was initial success as it was Greenlit on Steam and then saw an Early Access release in August 2015 – only a few months after the Kickstarter had finished. Although fairly limited the Early Access edition functioned as an advanced tech demo showcasing that Formula Fusion had the speed and fluidity necessary if it hoped to emulate WipEout. It also helped that R8 Games had partnered themselves with the Designers Republic to ensure the WipEout aesthetic was faithfully reproduced.
But events seemed to stall after that as the updates dried up and there were grumblings of dissatisfaction by backers on the dedicated forums while purchasers of the Early Access complained about the lack of patches. November finally saw Formula Fusion back on track however with the welcome news that external funding had been secured and the announcement of a release date in the third quarter of 2016. This was later than originally planned but it was good to see that it had been addressed. This scheduled date would also include releases on PS4 and Xbox One (which had originally been failed stretch goals) as well as on PC.
Steps were also taken to improve relations with the community as an AMA was held on Facebook and across the Formula Fusion forums, along with promises of more regular updates and upcoming work on the Early Access release. There has yet to be further details announced on the nature of the external funding but the AMA did reveal R8 Games do now have a producer to keep them on track which does sound promising. While I still have some concerns, the future for Formula Fusion is certainly a lot brighter than it was a few months ago.