Heavily inspired by the classic Road Rash, Road Redemption is a high-speed crotch-rocket combat simulator for the 21st century.
Road Rash, just in case it needs to be said, was a blast. The first game in the franchise came out in 1991 for the Sega Genesis, but it’s been more than ten years since the last game, Road Rash: Jail Break, was released for the PlayStation. Back in March, Road Rash creator Dan Geisler said he was open to the idea of Kickstarting a new game if there was sufficient interest (and, one would assume, if he could get the license from EA), but he’s been beaten to the punch by a group of industry veterans who are raising money for a Road Rash-inspired game called Road Redemption.
Road Redemption appears to be a more graphically violent game than its aged predecessor, with guns, swords and collisions with oncoming vehicles that don’t look like the sort of thing you walk away from. The game will have a story, too, beyond just “violent adrenaline junkies with motorcyles”: You play as a recently-paroled felon who rejoins his old biker gang and must work his way up through the ranks, eventually becoming embroiled in a power struggle with multiple possible endings. Several different mission types will be available, and you’ll eventually even get to head your own biker faction, battling others for control of territory and drug distribution routes.
But it won’t be easy. “Road Redemption represents a return to the challenging, skill-based gameplay that defined gaming on the Sega Genesis (MegaDrive), 3DO, and Nintendo 64. Make no mistake, Road Redemption is geared toward experienced gamers,” the Kickstarter page says. “There’s no such thing as auto-aim, so when you do make that shot, it’s 100% your doing.”
The team behind Road Redemption includes veterans of Sega, Sony, BioWare, Gameloft, Electronic Arts and others, and says that its combined experience in the industry has it well prepared to handle the “budget, time and feature implementation risks” involved with game development. “All members of the team have experience working on videogame projects and know the methods to best anticipate and handle these challenges,” it says. “The Road Redemption team has so far been able to avoid these pitfalls via focused goals, a realistic development schedule, and a high priority on project management.”
The game is being developed for the PC but an Xbox 360 port is also a “top priority,” since many of the developers on the project have experience with the platform. The game will be DRM-free and microtransaction free as well, and the team also plans to release the full source code and Unity project files to the public a few months after the game comes out (with early access to “top backers”) so that enterprising fans can create versions for iOS and Android devices or develop their own standalone games based on the Road Redemption assets.
Road Rash holds a special place in my heart as the only game that ever motivated me to rent a console, back in the days when people still did such things, and I played the PC version obsessively when it came out in the mid-90s. The gameplay in the pitch video certainly catches the vibe, and it seems to be resonating with gamers: Despite the lack of high-profile names, Road Redemption is more than a quarter of the way to its $160,000 goal after just three days of life. So you guys can do what you want – and as always, don’t do it if you can’t afford it – but I’m pretty sure I’m going to throw some money at this thing.