Interviews

Insane Code On Their (Kind Of) New Racer, 80s Overdrive

A 2D pixel art racing game, designed to take you back in time to when 8 and 16 bit consoles and arcade games ruled the world.

Outrun is one of the best arcade racers – nay, one of the best video games, ever made (and played).

Developed by legendary development studio, Sega-AM2, Outrun took early 3D arcade racers to the next level. 3D arcade racer releases since have been content following Outrun’s lead, but a new 3D arcade racer looks as if it may overtake Outrun’s decades-old pole position. 80s Overdrive is that new 3D (by way of 2D) arcade racer and it looks great.

80s Overdrive is described by its developers, Insane Code, as:

A 2D pixel art racing game, designed to take you back in time to when 8 and 16 bit consoles and arcade games ruled the world. Compete against opponents in career mode to unlock new races, buy new cars and upgrade them with state-of-the-art technologies! Try your skill in time attack mode and see how far you can get in this race against the clock! Create your own tracks with the built-in track generator and easily share them with your friends!

I accidentally happened across 80s Overdrive’s Twitter account a couple months ago and I was immediately gripped by a childlike excitement. However, being a huge fan of Outrun and the racers it spawned, 80s Overdrive sounded to me almost too good to be true. I began to wonder whether or not 80s Overdrive was real or some variety of illusory, retro-flavoured racing oasis in a desert-themed fever dream.

Questioning my grip on reality, I decided to reach out to 80s Overdrive developers, Insane Code. Fortunately, Insane Code informed me 80s Overdrive is real, and they were also kind enough to answer a handful of questions I had regarding the game and their history as developers.

The following contains my questions and their answers:

What’s your development studio’s name and how long have you all been
developing games?

For a long time there was no studio name, as there was no studio! We just started to mess around with game mockups and an engine prototype. Me, I had my design business running and Krzysztof had his programming business. So, it was more of a B2B cooperation. Later on, Krzysztof gained rights to develop and publish for the Nintendo 3DS eShop so we decided to go under his label – Insane Code.

Later on, a second programmer, Marcin, and a tester, Sebastian, joined to help. When it comes to our game development history, we all had over 5 years of experience (including on the Nintendo 3DS), but 80’s Overdrive is our first self-developed and published title.

What games have you developed and for what platforms?

None as of yet. Separately, we worked on mobile, iOS/Android, Sony PSP, PS3, Nintendo DS, DSi, 3DS and Wii games. For example, I worked on Rage of the Gladiator, Hazumi, League of Heroes and many, many more.

Arcade racers aren’t as popular as they once were. Why in 2016 did you begin developing a racer inspired by and modelled after classic arcade racers like Outrun, Rad Racer, Road Rash, and Cruisin’ USA?

Somewhere around the summer of 2015, we had a talk about ideas for games we would like to see and develop. We used to play a lot of 2D racers when we were kids. We loved them and started to wonder if this kind of game made any sense nowadays. So, to bring the memories back, we returned to playing: Outrun, Lotus 3, Crazy Cars/Lamborghini American Challenge, Top Gear Series, Cisco Heat, Jaguar XJ220 and found something interesting. Most of them aren’t arcade games even.

As you play old games they often don’t match what your brain remembers about them. After replaying them nowadays, you often feel disappointed about the frustrating gameplay, graphics, sound. But, there is still something that works. The simple but addictive gameplay mechanism, precise controls and overall feeling of the game which is lost in modern productions. We try to match the good things of the old and minimise the bad.

Are you excited or afraid to release a game the likes of which hasn’t been released in a while?

Both. Anyway, 80s Overdrive is our part-time project. We do have day jobs and our lives don’t depend on 80s Overdrive, so we just took the risk. From the creative point of view, it was worth it. We did fulfil our creative needs. When it comes to success, we will see, but it wasn’t the most important part.

Why the 80s aesthetic? Why not something aligned with more modern tastes?

That’s easy. Modern looking game wouldn’t be “something new”. Isn’t that ironic? We would end up with another NFS or some F2P racing. Also, our creative needs wouldn’t be fulfilled and our nostalgic feelings wouldn’t be satisfied.

One of 80s Overdrive’s trailers features text dialogue and character portraits. Is there a story mode?

Well… I can’t say. There will be a treat for dedicated and patient players. Anyway, too much story in an arcade racing game isn’t a good idea…

What are other gameplay modes available in 80s Overdrive?

There will be 3 game modes:

Career mode in which racers are competing against each other on various, point-to-point style tracks or complete special missions. The player can be also chased by the police.

Time-attack mode (“Outrun Mode”) in which  the player is fighting against the clock and tries to get as far as they can until the time runs out.

The Track Editor in which players can race on their own tracks. Tracks are be made by editing parameters. This generates the track code which can be shared with friends.

Many people on forums have been wondering what the green bar graphic seen on the left side of the player car in trailers is?

You mean green, rounded bar on the magenta background? In Time-attack mode, the player will be able to gain extra time by doing risky overtaking! Depending on how close the player passes traffic, they will be able to get an extra 1-3 seconds. It could be life-saving if you’re running out of time and a fork (junction) is still far away. But, you could also crash into the traffic if you aren’t careful.

What cars can players expect to drive? Is the soundtrack original or will it feature licensed tracks?

6 retro-supercars: Aggressor, De Loan, Intruder Turbo, Penetrator Turbo, Testosterando and Tensor V12. When it comes to music, some tracks are licensed, some are made especially for the game. There are 13 synth/retro wave music scores in total.

Are there any secrets or cheats you want to reveal before release?

No… But be sure to watch Facebook and Twitter carefully… and also please do complete the game 100%!

Will there be any DLC in the future?

If that’s what the audience desires, we don’t see any problems with that. Adding a new car or a visual theme won’t be that problematic. Also the Nintendo 3DS eShop supports updates so… who knows.

Are there any plans to port to Switch or other platforms?

Honestly, we don’t know that yet.

When can players expect 80s Overdrive to be released?

The game was sent to Nintendo Lotcheck. I think that December 2017 is very probable.

END

There you have it. Are you a fan of 3D arcade racers? If so, keep an eye on the 3DS eShop this December for the release of 80s Overdrive.

Until then, check back here at D-pad Joy for news and updates regarding the game.

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5 comments

  1. Glad they stick with the 3DS version (which I’m going to get) but they should really consider launching the game in the Switch as well in the next 8-12 months. Something in the likes of other indies where they release in one platform and then the next platforms keep the game “alive” – and if the game is any good as it seems to be, the word of mouth will do wonders. Besides the fact that the game has the potential for being picked to some highlight in the Nintendo’s nindies segments.

    Anyway, thrilled to get my hands on this game this year 😀

    1. Yeah, porting it would definitely behoove them. So many players have given up on the 3DS and the Switch needs a decent racer. 80s Overdrive seems like the perfect fit.

  2. Would also love a physical release of this game, -many such as myself prefer to buy (and collect) physical copies of games.

    1. Same! Physical releases > digital releases. What happens to those digital releases once console support ends and your system goes belly up? Nightmare fuel.

What do you think?