As a Nintendo-less kid of the '80s, I spent a lot of time playing Outrun on the Sega Master System. While my contemporaries hopped on koopas and rescued princesses, I jammed out to Magical Sound Shower and drove cross country in my cherry red Ferrari. I miss those days; and I'm not the only one. Two creative minds are taking that nostalgia to the next level and recreating that magic. Enter Drift Stage.
Drift Stage is still very early in development, but its striking art style is already winning the game fans. I had the opportunity to talk to programmer Chase Pettit and artist Charles Blanchard about their labor of love recently, what follows is that conversation.
Steve Bowling, TAY: What's the inspiration behind Drift Stage?
Chase Pettit (programmer): To sum up my inspiration in two words: Yu Suzuki. I'll consider Drift Stage a huge success if we capture even a fraction of the magic of some of my favorite Sega arcade racing games: Super Hang-On, Daytona USA, and the under-appreciated OutRun 2006 just to name a few.
Those classic arcade racers were simple immediate fun from the second you started playing but also offered a lot of challenge for those interested in shaving off seconds. That's not really the way most racing games are made now. These days, you typically either get something like Forza Horizon that has one foot in the sim racing world and a learning curve to match or you get something that swings hard in the other direction like Mario Kart 8 that maybe eschews a bit too much depth for the sake of being accessible. There are definitely some amazing games in both of those camps, but I want to give the middle ground some more attention with Drift Stage.
Bowling: Which platforms are you targeting for release?
Pettit: Right now we're focusing on PC and Mac, but we want to hit as many platforms as possible.
Charles Blanchard (artist): PC and Mac are a given. Id love to see it on a console.
Bowling: Is there a release window?
Blanchard: I've learned not to make assumptions.
Pettit: The game is still very early in development, so we're not ready to put a pin in the calendar just yet.
Bowling: The game has a unique art direction, what set you on that path?
Pettit: I'll defer to Delko on this one.
Blanchard: I originally just wanted to make a 3D model that captured the look and feel of a 2D 90s arcade game. That was 3 years ago, and over the years Ive sort of refined the style as my modeling and texture abilities improved until it reached the stage its at today.
Bowling: Are there other team members besides you two?
Pettit: Our primary music person is Myrone. There might be multiple music contributors when all is said and done, but he's the guy heading up those efforts.
Bowling: How did the two of you meet? And how did the game come to be?
Pettit: Delko and I pairing up on this project is the result of totally random happenstance. In the course of exploring the possibility of doing a racing game, I came across some great car models that Delko had posted on the Polycount forums several years ago and decided to use them in a quick little prototype. Delko happened to see some GIFs of my experiment on Twitter and approached me about doing something more substantial. I had to jump at the chance to help him put his art in motion.