Flashbulb Games has announced that their game, Trailmakers, will be arriving on Steam Early Access on January 31st. The open world vehicle driving/constructing game is the studio’s first title, and is expected to be in Early Access for approximately a year.
If that trailer seems vaguely familiar to some readers, there’s probably a good reason. Flashbulb Games is comprised mostly of former Press Play developers, along with some ex-Rare and IO Interactive veterans. Press Play, as people may recall, was a studio purchased by Microsoft in 2012. In 2015, Microsoft had put Press Play’s next project to an open community vote, showcasing early alpha prototype trailers of three games: Project: Dwarka, Project: Karoo and Project: Knoxville.
Project: Knoxville was the winner of that competition, and had moved into production when Microsoft announced the closure of Press Play and the cancellation of the project in 2016. It would seem that a number of the devs who moved to Flashbulb Games still harbored some love for Project: Karoo, though, because Trailmakers seems to bear more than a passing similarity to the Karoo concept video. Judge for yourself.
Trailmakers appears to be significantly less cartoony than the earlier Karoo concepts, though they definitely seem to share some similar mechanics. It’s also worth remembering that Rare was responsible for Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which also shared a similar build your own vehicle theme as its core concept. Admittedly this is hardly a unique concept to these three games. Build your own ships is the entire focus of the still in Early Access Lightspeed Frontier, not to mention the core mechanic of the hugely popular Kerbal Space Program. Not to mention a little game about building all sorts of things called Minecraft.
Still, it’s neat to see, or at least imagine, a lineage for Trailmakers that matches with the past projects of its developers. We look forward to seeing the game in Early Access when the last day of January rolls around.