Collateral Is An Open-World Cyberpunk Taxi Sim

By Nathan Grayson on July 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Ok, but if you want to go back to the future, you're gonna have to pay extra fare.

Crazy Taxi was quite a thing, huh? Screaming down the streets, aimed like an unstoppable whaling harpoon at a Taco Bell that just had to be on the other side of town. Ahh, the memories. Collateral looks nothing like that. If anything, I’d say it probably has more in common with Bruce Willis at the beginning of The Fifth Element. Flying cybercars, crazy hover police chases, the constant, erupting feeling that you are Bruce Willis nothing can stop you  – the whole shebang. OK, maybe not that last one, but it’s what I plan to think while playing. It’s an open-world cyberpunk taxi sim with a faction system, customization, and a vibrantly disgusting art style. What’s not to like?

Oh right, the main character is named Zack Edgewater. Welp, they can’t all be winners. Still though, there’s a lot to get your mouth (or mechanically chattering lip enhancements) watering and your gums (or vita-gel-infused oral cavity socket protectors) flapping here. For instance:

“Navigate your way through the sprawling, cyberpunk dystopia of ‘New Bedlam’, a bustling neon city populated by hoodlums, riffraff and genetically modified mutants. This chaotic, futuristic urban landscape makes Collateral a visually loaded, eye-gasmic experience. New Bedlam is a large, open world environment consisting of several sectors, each with a distinct aesthetic and unique landmarks. Explore areas such as China Town, the Industrial Zone and the Redlight district.”

AND

“Collateral features a standing system, allowing you to form allegiances and rivalries with the factions and corporations of New Bedlam. Each faction has inherent advantages, such as access to special weapons unique to that faction, as well as cumulative rewards, like unlocking new city districts when enough favour has been gained. Complete missions to earn the respect of your favourite factions, and blow enemy factions out of the sky.”

So you explore, race, and battle your way through the neon bulb labyrinth of a city’s un-streets, and all the while you make choices both large and small that have lasting consequences – for instance, entire portions of the city being destroyed. Also interesting: your hover car isn’t stuck on a single plane. It’s a vertical world, so chases can go up, down, and all around. I could see that becoming joyously chaotic in a heartbeat.

Certainly, Collateral looks a little janky at the moment, but it’s far from finished. As of now, it’s halfway through a Kickstarter campaign – both in terms of time and funds pledged. With a goal of just $15,000, it’s definitely got a chance to go the distance. Toss a few pennies (or holographic, natural-language-enabled mini-portraits of your favorite leaders) into its tip jar, perhaps?

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59 Comments »

  1. Pemptus says:

    Reminds me of Crime Cities. Anybody remember Crime Cities? It wasn’t bad.

    • Noodlemonk says:

      I don’t believe I’ve ever played Crime Cities, but it looks like fun. Possible GOG Material?

    • Drake Sigar says:

      Was a decent game. And so was Apocalypse, which I’ve been watching on Youtube ever since the mention of Bruce.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Also New York Race. I forget why I had that; not normally into racing games.

      • Neurotic says:

        Brilliant game that, and the first thing I thought of when I saw the wurdz and pikshurs up above. I think Timmy Edwards reviewed it quite favourably in PCG, back when he was still new on the force.

    • Shinya says:

      I played the demo of that game when it came on a PCGamer disc with the magazine, and I’ve spent the last 13 years trying to remeber the name of it! Words can not describe how happy I am that you made this reference.

  2. Noodlemonk says:

    Having recently revisited Quarantine colour me interested.

    • Hanban says:

      Oh man! Watching the trailer made me think of Quarantine! It was so long ago since I played I had completely forgotten the name, however. All I remembered was “There was this game where you drove a taxi and could mount a chaingun on it…” Awesome!

    • swampzero says:

      Ctrl+F Quarantine. Got results. Impressed.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Oh yes, I remember that game. It was actually quite fun.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Was thinking the exact same thing :p Quarantine, but this time the cars fly instead of just hover.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Aw, dang, I immediately thought of Quarantine too. They had clearly spent literally tens of dollars on that amazing FMV intro. “In other news, fires continue to rage across the lower east side, so if you live downtown, wake up…’cause you’re on fire.”

      I think I got stuck on a bit in the…third or fourth zone where you’re supposed to “deliver” a bomb to an offending structure, only the delivery point is in the middle of a building and can’t be reached from any side. Fiddled with it for a few hours and then gave up.

  3. Henke says:

    Oh man. I loved Quarantine, and I loved a demo of a flying-car-racing-game that I played in the late 90′s and can’t remember the name of. In theory, this looks like something I’d love to play, but the execution? I dunno, there’s something off about the movement of the cab. It looks too jerky, like it’s being controlled with the mouse and will be able to spin 180 degrees at the flick of your wrist. It doesn’t look like the cab has any sense of weight to it. (That’s not a pun. Don’t even think about starting a pun thread.)

    • Juwce86 says:

      I think the game you’re thinking of from the late 90′s is B-Hunter. A completely awsome for it’s time “3rd person” perspective bounty hunter in the future shooter with, shock horror a half decent story line to go with it. Bonkers control scheme to start off however, though if one stuck with it they became like anything else, second nature. I’ve recently tried running the little gem on Win8 and unfortunately it’s not as I remember it and doesn’t support widescreen sadly.

      • Guvornator says:

        B-Hunter! That was it. Was driving me crazy. I think I got the whole thing free off the front of a magazine – even though I enjoyed the demo, for some reason it got pretty mediocre reviews, so it tanked.

      • Dukelukeem says:

        B-hunter was one of my all-time favorite games. The flight mechanics were just amazing once you get used to it. I played that demo so long I become extremely fluid with the controls. Used to time myself racing the tunnel highway, race the train and get as close as possible without malfunctioning, try to blow up every bridge, elevator and statue before the time ran out (Demo had a 15 min limit or once you reached the second area). It took me 2 years to find a boxed copy but it was so worth is. I am really sad that I cant get the game to work anymore. It starts just fine in software mode but as soon as something dies, it falls through the terrain and the game crashes. The atmosfear was also great and the weapons! Oh god the weapons. The homing missiles in this game is just nuts. Incoming!
        Oh and it even had multiplayer!

  4. Jekhar says:

    Looks interesting, but the generic techno music and horrible cab handling are a turnoff. There seems to be a serious lack of inertia, the cab pinballs all over the place.

  5. dethtoll says:

    oh jesus crackers i need this so bad

  6. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    I dunno about the shooting and factions stuff. I would much rather just see a pure taxi game in the same world.

  7. Adam Smith says:

    Nobody talking about UGH! in this taxi game comment thread?

    • Jekhar says:

      No, they are too busy dropping rocks on trees to comment…

    • Mad Hamish says:

      When that came out for the C64 I had a friend who refused to pronounce it as it was probably intended and insisted he vocalise it as a grunt. We went as far as to dare him to ask the woman at the counter in the shop if they had the game in yet. I’m not sure if he did it, I think we ran out giggling or something. We were only about 10. I only ever played the demo though.

  8. Spacewalk says:

    Aw hell yeah, every second colour is green. It’s Unreal, Slave Zero and MDK 2 all over again.

  9. Velko says:

    Driver: San Francyber? Please.

  10. thekelvingreen says:

    If it’s half as good as Air Taxi it should be a winner.

  11. RedViv says:

    I did not know that I wanted this. Until now.

  12. Juwce86 says:

    Just thought I’d say, This looks alot like B-Hunter from the late 90′s. Which is not at all a bad thing. Colour me excited, or green, which seems to be the colour things are in the future.

  13. Niko says:

    So, one step closer to open world cyberpunk crime vehicle theft manslaughter sim? As in, GTA/Mafia/Saints Row/Sleeping Dogs in a multi-level city with really high buildings?

  14. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    There was a Fifth Element hovercar racing game a while ago, and another neat game called Beam Breakers.

    Never played either of them but I still kinda want to. Can’t look past flying cars.

  15. tnzk says:

    Vehicular car combat game that sounds interesting?

    David Jaffe, take notes.

  16. Tasrayryn says:

    Hey guys, this game is also on Greenlight. Check it out here

  17. LTK says:

    “Navigate your way through the sprawling, cyberpunk dystopia of ‘New Bedlam’, a bustling neon city populated by hoodlums, riffraff and genetically modified mutants.”

    Looks like their Department of Redundancy Department messed up their job.

  18. golem09 says:

    Oh my, how much time I spent with NY Race – The fifth Element.

    Back then we used joysticks!
    Now we have small joysticks, glued to a gamepad.

  19. Sinomatic says:

    This has made me want to replay New York Race so badly. It was a great little hovercar racer, not open world of course, but considering how long ago it came out (2001 – sweet lord, was it really that long?) I think it holds up quite well. The handling and movement were certainly a lot better looking in NYR – that taxi in Collateral looks a tad like a flying brick.

  20. Flappybat says:

    Damn that music is bad but damn this is the most mid-late 90s game I have seen in a long time!

  21. Risingson says:

    Actually the game it resembles most is Beam Breakers, which was a kind of attempt of a Crazy Taxi/GTA game in a FIfth Element environment.

    • HKEY_LOVECRAFT says:

      I logged in to say the same. I still have a physical copy of that game. Somewhere. I haven’t reached for a disc since Startopia was finally released on GOG.

      It’s moments like these I realize, despairingly, that my backlog of physical games exceeds my Steam one. Then I curl up in a ball and rock back and forth, muttering ‘too many, too many, too many.’

  22. roryok says:

    anyone else getting a little bit of a Crimson Skies vibe off this?

  23. InternetBatman says:

    It looks a lot like an old bargain bin game I had: project beambreakers.

  24. Seltox says:

    I had the chance to play this at Pax Aus – and it was pretty fun. I just played one mission sort of thing though. Picked up a mission, followed an arrow to kill someone, went to the end of the mission.

    It was fun though.

  25. Keyrock says:

    This sounds really cool, I’m just going to have a hard time getting past ‘Zack Edgewater’.

  26. Hilden2000 says:

    KORBEN DALLAS, MOOLTI-PASS.

    And that cityscape reminds me of Slave Zero.

  27. Prime says:

    What do you guys think: locked to a 2D plane? I didn’t see any up or down action in the vid but then my optics are getting on a bit…

    • Nenjin says:

      They pitched that you could go up and down with “easy altitude controls.” But they didn’t do it any of the videos I’ve seen, and if you look down you don’t see a whole lot going on below you in terms of traffic or geometry. So…….yeah.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      I didn’t see any either, although there are other cars that are clearly in different planes. It is kind of weird. My guess is that there is vertical navigation, but not as much as it looks like, e.g. that green mist is a hard floor and there’s a hard ceiling to prevent you flying over the rooftops instead of dodging skyscrapers.

      Be a good question to ask the creator.

      • Tasrayryn says:

        Well then, I’ll answer. Hi, I’m one of the devs.

        Yes, there is vertical movement and you’re pretty close on the limitations. There are “soft” limits to vertical movement that pull you back if you go too high or too low. In-game, we call it the “Hover grid”, or at least we will when we explain it a bit more in the future. If you could fly over every building it would make the game too easy, but you can fly over some of the lower buildings. I’ll most likely be doing a gameplay video update soon to show off things like vertical movement and a few other features, so stay tuned.

        -David

  28. Lagwolf says:

    New Bedlam really? Couldn’t come up with a better name for the city than that?

  29. Zorn says:

    Space Taxi on the C-64!

  30. dontnormally says:

    No other games news has made me so excited.
    Also, you stole my idea, you jerks.
    (thanks)

  31. Phasma Felis says:

    “Choosing to side with the League of Extraordinary Super-Transients will unlock Deadtooth Doug, a vagrant who sits atop your cab and shoots at passing vehicles whilst hurling drunken insults.”

    SOLD.

  32. deadly.by.design says:

    It reminds me of a few scenes in Anachronox.

    Anachronox. :(

  33. The Random One says:

    YES. YES. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.

    Also: When I was reading this article I thought for a moment that it was Cara, but checked and it wasn’t. This is like the fifth time this has happened since she became a Regular. I remember someone saying that she was being processed into the hivemind, but I think she’s doing that thing Mandy did to the giant alien brain in that episode of Billy & Mandy with the song by Voltaire.

  34. DeepQantas says:

    Hey, taxi!

    Pad two, please.

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