For those that have played the original Crazy Taxi, it’s hard to hear the bands Bad Religion or The Offspring in the same light again. If for nothing else, the soundtrack of that game – however small – holds a special place in the coveted realm of gaming nostalgia. It’s this feeling of nostalgia that Hardlight Studio hopes to channel with their upcoming mobile addition to the series, Crazy Taxi: City Rush.
Known for past titles Sonic Jump and Sonic Dash, Hardlight Studio is no stranger to the mobile gaming arena. With Crazy Taxi: City Rush, despite the platform’s limitations and those of the free-to-play form that they have chosen, Hardlight intends to release a game that is accessible to newcomers and casual gamers while also maintaining an air of familiarity that will appeal to the fans who have been with the series from the beginning.
Speaking with Polygon, producer Stephen Ye stated that one of the key aspects that defines the series is its memorable soundtracks. It seems unlikely that series veterans Bad Religion and The Offspring will make a return appearance though as the game is slated to have licensed music from a number of indie bands. In addition to this, Ye highlights the game’s custom soundtrack option, making use of the music on users’ devices to create playlists in-game.
While Crazy Taxi has already made an appearance on mobile devices, this new iteration will also see a new method of play. Control will be much more gesture-focused this time around with players finding their taxis in a perpetual state of forward motion. Changing lanes is as simple as swiping across the device’s screen while braking is handled by touching the screen. Even more advanced maneuvers like drifting or pulling U-turns will require equally simple inputs.
If comparisons are to be drawn, it would seem that this experience will share similarities with games like Temple Run and the endless runner genre. While it’s no doubt simplified from the series’ origins, it’s safe to assume that City Rush will be no less frantic than gamers are used to with Sega‘s classic franchise.
The final new addition to City Rush will be the implementation of social features. Ye promises that players will still be able to play the game solo by working through each of its missions, but linking the game to Facebook will provide a meatier experience. Players will find their friends populating the game’s city acting as passengers, but will also unlock additional missions depending on how many are present in the game. For anyone that has ever dabbled in social gaming, this should all be familiar territory.
One of the most interesting things Ye stated is that the content is already being planned for implementation in the future. The first planned feature is that of guilds that will allow different groups of people to “have different taxi cab factions and they all run their own missions.” Until the game releases though, there will probably be little more information regarding these future implementations.
With the recent rebranding of Sonic with the upcoming Sonic Boom, this could very well be Sega’s first step in changing the face of Crazy Taxi. Facing potential trouble with the possible loss of their Shenmue trademark, it would not be surprising to see Sega reviving past classic series in the coming years.
Are there any mobile versions of popular series that you feel did the franchise justice? Do you think Crazy Taxi: City Rush will be able to woo both long-time fans and newcomers?
Crazy Taxi: City Rush is preparing for an iOS and Android soft launch in Canada and Australia later this month with a worldwide release following hot on its heels.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ThatRyanB.