How Stuntfest – World Tour started out as a tech demo by Wreckest’s creators

Thomas Harrison-Lord
The developers of Stuntfest – World Tour have revealed the game’s origins to Traxion.GG, explaining how a Bugbear-created tech demo is now becoming a fully-fledged online game.
How Stunfest World Tour originally started out as a tech demo by Wreckest's creators

Stuntfest – World Tour is an upcoming explosive driving, flying and running online epic. That’s kind of hard to pigeonhole, and hopefully, as its development progress, that’s for the better.

Developed by the ~30-strong Pow Wow Entertainment, its reveal in June took us by surprise. This was then followed up by a surprisingly honest Pre-Alpha public play test earlier this month.

The 18-player online match mix racing, car-based deathmatches but also the ability to jump, or eject, from your vehicle and fly or bounce around the arenas, before quickly respawning back behind the wheel.

It’s a heady mix of adrenaline-fueled competition and over-the-top tricks. As it stands, there’s a lot of work to do, with some rough edges that the development is open about and keen to work with the community before completion.

Wreckfest’s December Tournament update is a Banger Brawl
Wreckfest: Not Stuntfest – World Tour

Ahead of the reveal, there were several unsubstantiated rumours that Stunfest would indeed be a sequel to Bugbear Enterainments’ perennial car-smasher Wreckfest. Not true. But there is a link…

“Originally, there was a prototype by one of our sister companies, Bugbear, the guys who developed Wreckfest,” explained Milo Gutmann Studio CEO and Co-founder of Pow Wow to Traxion.GG, working under the same THQ Nordic umbrella as the Helsinki-based team.

“They did a prototype many years ago that was called Stuntfest, which was basically building upon what they did for FlatOut 2 which was driving, ejecting from a car and a ragdoll character, with some scoring.

“At some point, they were working on Wreckfest, the THQ side was interested in the Stunfest idea, more about the jumping and so on than the vehicle simulation.

“It’s something they always wanted to do, but they said it’s probably best to work with a studio that is more focused on general multiplayer experiences and different topics.”

Stunfest - World Tour Gamescom

Having played it recently during the ‘Summer of Stunts‘ playtest, the driving dynamics are very accessible and play second-fiddle to the explosive action. The competitive element is still very much in the nascent stages, with a festival tracking points over multiple different event types.

As the game undertakes matchmaking, players can also take part in leaderboard challenges such as trying to jump the furthest. There’s a real vibe of bright, colourful, bombastic fun – although a lack of tutorials, guidance and finesse to the controls is lacking at present.

We were treated to a behind-closed-door look at future environments and vehicles, which selecting the right loadout for the match type will be key, and certainly, the vision is expansive.

“The thing is, we were laughing, because when people say ‘it’s a sequel to Wreckfest’ you know, it’s not at all,” expanded Gutmann.

“The game itself is so unique, you know. It’s interesting with Stuntfest because we really need to find its place as there’s not a blueprint like some other games. Like with a racing game, is it arcade or simulation? Here you can jump, fly and there’s a hook to pull you back into the car. That offers us a lot and is a cool thing.”

The development team regularly holds online events organised via the game’s Discord to gather as much feedback as possible and while it is slated for a 2022 launch, the team is clear that they won’t launch it formally until they feel happy with its performance.

Stunfest - World Tour Gamescom, Pow Wow Entertainment

“We want to release on PC-only right now and work with the community to get to the stage where we are confident.

“We want to avoid working on multiple platforms at the same time during the time where we still need to do stuff on the game, and then for consoles, not just porting it or spreading ourselves thin.”

With development underway for two years already, it’s clear that Stunfest still has big visual and gameplay targets yet to be met, but also that there’s potential for something fresh in this space, complementing the Rocket League, Wrekfest Deathmatch and Turbo Golf Racing online matches that currently prove to be popular. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled as it progresses.

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