SmuggleCraft Brings a New Kind of Racing to PS4 Next Year

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SmuggleCraft Brings a New Kind of Racing to PS4 Next Year

Hey all! We’re excited to tell you all about our new game, SmuggleCraft, a quest-based hovercraft game that will provide a fresh perspective on the racing genre. No more driving in circles; way more intense smuggling of questionably-legal contraband!

SmuggleCraft on PS4

The concept for SmuggleCraft started small: a simple hovercraft racing game with randomly generated tracks, and the hope of doing something new in a long-established genre. Our team at Happy Badger Studio has been making casual mobile games for about 4 years now, and while we all wanted to work on something bigger, it never seemed like the right time. It seemed logical to us to keep the idea for SmuggleCraft as small as we could, while remaining true to our original vision.

We decided to spend about four months in development, which was actually longer than we’d spent on any of our recent projects. The hope was to make it as good as possible as quickly as we could so that we could get back to our safety net of doing work for clients (aka, how a small indie studio pays the bills).

We created a prototype and showed it to some good friends and local industry peers, who all gave us really positive feedback on the concept and gameplay. We were excited; SmuggleCraft was turning out to be really fun, and as our excitement for the game grew, so did our ideas. We quickly realized that there was no way we could do everything we wanted to do in the short timeframe we’d given ourselves. After serious consideration, we decided that it was time for us to take the plunge and dedicate the time to making our studio’s first large-scale game.

Over the past six months of development, SmuggleCraft has evolved into something we all really love and believe in. We’ve added in an immersive story through quests, which drive a branching narrative with alternate endings. We’ve also decided that, in lieu of simple hovercraft upgrades, we’re going to add in a robust crafting system that will allow players to create modular parts with which they can build the ideal ship for their play style.

The game has grown visually as well; our terrains have evolved from simple paths to complex landscapes, beautifully rendered with a minimalist 3D style. Basically, the whole game has become something we’re really proud of.

Our whole team is venturing into new territory with SmuggleCraft. Working on this game is allowing us to push ourselves to learn new skills, hone existing talents, and work on things we’ve never done before. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, and we’re putting a lot at risk by working on a game of this scale, but it’s worth it to us because we believe in it.

What started as a simple idea for a small mobile game has grown into something much greater. We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be developing and launching SmuggleCraft as console-exclusive for PS4 in Spring 2016. While we still have about a year of development ahead of us, we know we’ll have lot of stories and announcements along the way; we hope you all join us on this exciting adventure!

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16 Author Replies

  • I think showing the game a little too early if it will be releasing in Spring 2016. Hold off until you can show something more than some inactive screenshots where literally nothing eventful is happening. If you can’t demonstrate the feel of the gameplay, hold off on showing the look of the aesthetics.

    • Hey! Thanks for your feedback — we know it’s pretty far in advance to announce, but believe it or not, SmuggleCraft is quite far along. We already have plans to begin demoing at conventions this month (which is a big part of why we wanted to be able to start talking about it)! The blog now has animated gifs which might give you a bit more context about mechanic and feel of the game itself. We hope to have a trailer ready for you all soon!

  • Here’s to a upcoming great year of 2016 game’s for PS4. ???

  • I think it looks interesting. Heres to hoping for a fun execution!

  • REALLY bad name (up there with titan souls) but i dig the aesthetic. congrats on announcing

  • @1 You are right. No one likes to be teased for a year and have very little to go off of.

    More detail’s or No announcement. Pick one or the other. We don’t really like screenshots or a buch of talk and no show.

    Where here for entertainment.?

  • Judging by those screenshots, you need AT LEAST another year to actually make that something most people would consider buying. This is what continues to be a problem with a lot of these “indie” devs.

    Seems like anyone believes they can make a video game these days and Sony is promoting the idiocy…smh.

  • Guys, ps4 is not a mobile platform. It’s not a pc. The screens just won’t cut it for me. Games need more than just a clever idea, they need great execution. I won’t wven consider a game like this on a big screen.
    And that name needs to go. Luckily you have a whole year to make improvements. Hopefully it turns out great.

  • I think indie devs like these need more encouragement and less discouragement. We (as PS4 owners and Sony fans) have been a little overwhelmed with indie titles and underwhelmed with AAA games but we have to keep in mind that indie devs are keeping the games flowing on the PS4 right now. It might be a little too much at times but it’s not like Happy Badger Studio has been cramming indie’s down our throats for years – this is their first PS4 title. I think we need to give them a break so that they actually want to continue making games for our platform. Plus, for many of the people on their team this is the first time they will be working on a bigger game. If they do well, then the studio does well and that means bigger and better games in the future. We need to try to keep that in mind instead of taking out our frustration on a studio that wants nothing more than to entertain us.

  • Jeez, will you people stop QQing about a game announcement. Apparently, this console generation is full of elitist little snots. At least they’re trying something different. Sequelitis is a proplem with all the platforms not to mention over hyped announcements like let’s see: Call of Duty, Duke Nukem, Freaking Batman?!?!! So how about giving the Indie teams some slack. Some of the best non repetitive games in the last generation were Indie because whenever AAA company tries something new all you people do is complain “[Generic mainstream sequel] was better then this!” Heavy Rain was good, it’ll never get a sequel. Heavenly Sword was freaking awesome, again no sequel. Flower, The Unfinished Swan, etc, etc. All these were fantastic but gods forbid you be different: PS4 users actually make me appreciate the Xbox live community, wtf.

    • Thank you for your support! We definitely hope to provide something great and totally different for PS4 players.

  • I like the concept but agree with announcing too early. Also, which I’m not a graphics junkie ( you know the types… ) The #d sans textures is a huge turn off. I didn’t like it in Starfox, I definitely don’t like it 22 years later.

  • @9 – Agreed.

    Looks interesting to me, congrats on the announcement. I like these kind of games and look forward to the release next year. I enjoyed your text, seemed honest and open, thanks.

    Another who feels it is a strange name. I personally wouldn’t ever be put off by a games name but I worry some people (maybe younger gamers) might be.

  • I like the abstract polygonal style, but I’m curious how it looks in motion. Will you be employing some kind of global illumination or other techniques to give it a current-gen visual/aural feel?

    3DTV support?

    • Check out the gifs that were just added to the blog — hopefully they can give you a good idea of how the game will look in motion. We’re going to be using really high-quality lighting and ambient occlusion, as well as other technical effects to give it a really nice stylized touch.

      We don’t currently have plans for 3DTV support, but we’ll look into it to see if it’s feasible for us! Thanks for the suggestion!

  • @4: What’s wrong with the name “Titan Souls”? I like it.

  • I for one love indies…this looks cool with me.

  • Vita?

    • It’s possible — we’ll definitely let everyone know if we decide to bring SmuggleCraft to Vita. :)

  • This looks great! I’m excited to see your small team try and bring some innovation to the racing scene :) I would love to play more racing games. Good luck!

  • When i saw the tittle I thought it was a next generation game like Smuggler’s Run.

  • I don’t frequently post here on the blog, mostly because I disagree vehemently with the majority of posters, who imho are generally very negative and childish. That said I read the blog daily and really enjoy when devs come here to talk about there projects. Its for this reason alone I’ve decided to log in and post today.
    I really like the direction this game is taking the racing genre in, and I’m super glad your team decided to come to ps4 with your limb walking. I loved starfox and further I think the art style creates a distinction in a genre most often either photo realistic or overly cartoony. Crafting mods sounds awesome as well, customization creates a sense of ownership and accomplishment . And I really dig the theme of smuggling. I look forward to hearing more on development as you guys/gals progress.
    Please dont fret about showing to early or too much, only esablished franchises and broken games should go that route. Continue being yourselves in earnest and you can count on my $ in your coffers. Best wishes and good luck in your endeavor, and always remember the only true failure is in not following yourselves.

    • I am SO grateful for your thoughtful post—thank you so much for your support. This is precisely why we make games: to create great new experiences for passionate players like you. <3

  • I really enjoyed hearing your story and I wish you best as you finish this game up over the next year!

    (oh and the requisite, “Vita port someday?” question ;-)

    • Thank you very much! Vita is a possibility; we want to focus right now on making the PS4 build as solid as possible, but if we decide that Vita is the right direction for us, we’ll let everyone know!

  • 2016? This looks like it should have came out on PS1.

  • Here’s hoping peak hype isn’t achieved and lost before the actual release.
    A real danger with announcing too early.

  • The game does look like a lot of fun and I think it will have a lot more improvements which I am now looking forward to seeing. Cheers to the next year to making a great game! :)

  • I’m a consumer and as a consumer this product does not look that interesting to be honest.

    • Hopefully you have a chance to give it a try and judge it based on its gameplay! We know that there’s a lot of risk involved in creating something new; people have different taste in games, and that’s okay. We do, however, hope to create a fun and fresh experience for you and other players. :)

  • look forward to it hopefully we’ll see it and play it at this years PSX 2015 hint hint :)

  • GIFs now! Sweet. It does look really fun and sorry if my post up top offended, I just feel textures would bring it a lot further than polygons give it. I know I’m probably the odd man out but I’ve always felt polygonal graphics give every single game that uses them a half finished look.

    • Thanks! Some people love the style and some people don’t, and that’s okay—we like it a lot, and we certainly hope that the gameplay makes up for any reservations that some players may have about the unique aesthetic. :)

  • please add split screen.. 4 players would be really nice..

    • Whoops! I left the wrong kind of comment below. I meant to respond to you:

      Split-screen multiplayer is definitely something we’d like to do! We’ll update everyone once we get multiplayer gameplay more solidified — right now we’re focusing on polishing the single-player campaign experience, but we will have more info on multiplayer in the future.

  • This is definitely something we’d like to do! We’ll update everyone once we get multiplayer gameplay more solidified — right now we’re focusing on polishing the single-player campaign experience, but we will have more info on multiplayer in the future.

  • I’m not going to say “don’t listen to the entitled little snots” but you guys need all the feedback you can get. Good or bad. Now that that’s out if the way. I like the concept of the game. I for one love the indie games we get (some are bad, but most are great) I may get this day one. Keep up the good work.

  • The problem is not the indies themselves, some are really fun and entertaining. The problem is the proportion of games between big developers and indies that Sony is acquiring.
    For many people, the actual gen console is not cheap, so if most of the games are going to be like this well.. it wasn’t a good investment.
    But I insist, it’s nobody, but Sony’s fault.

    Now regarding the game.. I really don’t see anything new… not even the aesthetic… for some reason reminds me to that old pc game Pod

  • WOW!
    So this is what PSPlus members get next spring for free?

    A year advance notice is great when compared to so many E3 presentations that are 2-3-never years in advance presented.

    Very glad to see the racing genre move away from need for speed and GT/Forza. Big fan of Mario Kart, Mod Nation Racers, LBP Racing and F-Zero.

  • Well said @Droogie4Ever / #8

  • More action racing titles would be happily accepted in my Ps4 game library.

  • This looks great if you port it to Vita. Would be perfect Vita addition to be honest. I own a Vita and hope to see it on my system!

  • Since the trolling on the PS Blog won’t stop, I will copy and paste this hashtag on every single comment I post until it stops.


    If possible, make sure you copy and paste on your comment so I know you’re not one of them.

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