Small Ball: NASCAR Redline adds strategy to iOS track
With the glut of racing games revving up on mobile, I was shocked that Eutechnyx’s NASCAR: Redline is the first official NASCAR game to hit iOS … and it’s not even a racer. That’s right, after looking at the long list of racing games already vying for attention on the platform, the Eutechnyx design team decided to speed the opposite direction, developing a strategy game based on the sport, complete with taking control of not only your driver, but the team’s owner and crew chief.
“It’s a very different game, and it’s different on purpose,” says Ed Martin, Eutechnyx’s executive vice president of North America. “With the mobile platforms, we’re releasing a fresh approach to the brand. You need to make the right game for the right platform in order to be successful, so we didn’t just want to port over the NASCAR: The Game franchise onto mobile. You have to do something different. That’s not to say that we don’t have plans to do a racing game down the road, but Redline is a manager game.
“The idea is to make a game that you can pickup, you can play it a little bit, and then you can put it down when your boss enters the room.”
Playing the roles of team owner, crew chief, and driver throughout the managerial experience, you’re doing everything from investing your team’s winnings in new facilities and R&D, to calling the shots on when you should pit and when you should make your move, attempting to outsmart opposing drivers. And while Redline does drop you into the role of the driver a few times throughout each race, it’s not like you’re tilting your tablet in order to steer. Instead, you have a gas pedal and a brake pedal, and gamers are forced to look at their RPM meter in order to hit the sweet spot of the target zone. The faster you hit that target zone by revving and un-revving your engine, the more positions you’ll move forward in the race. The better you finish, the more money you’ll then earn as owner, in turn, enabling you to upgrade your team and car before you compete in the next event.
“All 43 licensed NASCAR drivers are in the game, but similar to what we did with NASCAR: The Game, if you’re running a career, you’re playing as yourself, building yourself up as a driver,” says Martin, “but if you’re playing a season, then you pick one of the 43 drivers and you race as them.”
As for why the game is debuting on iOS a month before Android, Martin admits, it’s all about the placement Eutechnyx is receiving from Apple as a featured product.
“This is the first official NASCAR game for iOS, and Android is also coming, but we gave Apple a 30-day window because they featured us,” says Martin as he breaks down Eutechnyx’s new deal with the racing organization. “When we started with the NASCAR deal, we had the rights to the console and PC, but obviously the market has changed. I spent the last two years of my life renegotiating the NASCAR deal, extending the length of the agreement longer than we had, while also extending the agreement to include the rights to other platforms. With the transition to tablets and mobile, we wanted to make sure we got out in front of that, so we grabbed those rights, and NASCAR: Redline is the first mobile game to come out.”
And while NASCAR: Redline is a premium product priced at $4.99, the game also features freemium elements that will enable gamers who don’t want to grind through the game and wait, the ability to jump ahead by purchasing credits in order to speed your career up.
Adds Martin: “We sat down with Apple, and the consensus was that we should charge for the game because we have a premier brand, so we dialed down the amount of money you need to spend in the game, and we dialed up how quickly you earn credits. There’s a $4.99 entrance fee, but if you still want to go in there and make purchases, you can, but you don’t have to do it as much as a typical freemium game.
“This is really setup as a behind-the-scenes, management strategy game. It’s not just about what you’re doing behind the wheel as the driver. It’s almost a compliment to the racing game on consoles and the PC. This is the business part of NASCAR, this is the strategy part of NASCAR, not just the driving part. Hopefully in the future there will be a way to tie the two games together.”