BaiJiu Racer Concept Announcement

Widescreen BaiJiu Race

Bai Jiu Racing

Today we’re going to try something a little different: Pitching a video game concept!

Traditionally when I’ve pitched game concepts the process involved face-to-face meetings with potential publishers, use of our agents (CAA) back in Los Angeles, and lots of traveling. Well, I’m getting old, China is FAR from the rest of the world, and the Internet can do a lot of amazing things, so here’s a game pitch for the next generation:

Announcing “BaiJiu Racer” – An MMO-lite racing game concept with China as the core theme. The concept has been in focused pre-production for the past three months here at Spicy Horse. Working with our Chinese publishing partner ICEE we’ve crafted a solid Game Design Document, Technical Design Document, Art Bible, Visual Target Demo, and Development Plan. Together these materials constitute a compelling pitch for a title we think will be a strong competitor in the worldwide, lite-MMO, online racing category (think “Kart Racer”).

A lot of teams dream of a “Mario Cart” or “KartRider” killer – and we think our concept goes a long ways towards being a viable contender. For one, it’s the first Chinese cart racing game developed with an authentic and original Chinese art style, set in real-world locations, and featuring some of the funkiest racing vehicle designs the world has ever seen (inspiration coming from actual Chinese vehicles). We’re focusing on semi-realistic (and fun) physics-based racing dynamic, going light on the power-ups, and throwing in a lot of visual action. Check out the art and video to see the result.

A few key features and differentiators:
* Distinctive art style featuring a timeless portrayal of everyday Chinese people and locations
* A clean and clear graphic style for UI
* Core gameplay focused on skill-based racing, avoiding fun-killing power-ups
* Strong narrative backbone and emotional drama – “everyone can be a hero”
* Unique and interesting vehicle designs based on real-life Chinese vehicles
* Track locations that reveal a China few foreigners have seen
* Risk reduction in production through use of 3rd-party tools and engine (UE3)
* A fast and efficient project schedule built on Spicy’s proven development processes

Our Chinese publishing partner ICEE has a lock on the publishing rights in China. What we’re looking for now is a publisher interested in the remaining world-wide rights. We might also be open to territory specific deals with the right partners.

To learn more about BaiJiu Racer and what’s on offer, you can do the following:

Visit my Flickr Account to view a collection of concept artwork related to the project.

Visit my YouTube Channel to watch a video of sample game play, primarily intended to show the art style working in-engine.

Finally, email me to request information (GDD, TDD, budget, schedule, etc) relevant to deciding if the publishing rights are a fit for you.

Spicy Horse has established itself as one of the strongest independent game developers in China. Following the success of Grimm we’re growing and expanding to leverage our core talents, process oriented development methods, and inspirational location. If you’re interested in learning more about the studio, our capabilities, and our ideas, let me know!

12 responses to “BaiJiu Racer Concept Announcement”

  1. Wow! When I saw the concept first time, I was quite skeptical about it. I mean, from the graphic point of view, BaiJiu Racer looks (at this moment) pretty similar to Grimm. And frankly speaking, Grimm graphic style isn’t to my liking. I was also wondering if the games, such as (mentioned) “Mario Cart” etc. would find any audience in the world dominated by FPSs and (MMO)RPGs genres. Maybe in China and Asian game market there is still a call for such games, but I’m not sure is it going to be a warm welcome in Europe or America.
    But then I looked at your Youtube short trailer and gameplay presentation, and I’ve completely changed my mind! I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge fan of racing games (or their derivatives), but the fast action, diverse and detailed environment as well as this simple music (damn) in the background charmed me. Each of these elements are imbued with a part of Chinese culture – this idea appeals to me very much.
    Obviously, a lot of things has to be improved, like for example physics impingement on characters body during taking a turns, characters and vehicles animation and the “smooth of driving”. But I understand the game is still in progress, and I hope it’s gonna to be better.
    Anyway, I have a question about the way you would like to distribute the game. Are you looking for an online publisher (like a Gametap) again, or rather are you going to give attention a retail market? Or maybe both of them?
    Also, I noticed that the title is only “BaiJiu Racer”, not “American McGee’s BaiJiu Racer”. Is it a sign, that you’re leaving the concept of your name as a “market valuable thing” or, you have decided to put it away just only for the current title?
    In any case, I like the idea and I’m waiting for new details.

  2. Glad you like what you see.
    Yeah, there are a lot of improvements to be made. Keep in mind that presently there are NO physics on any of the vehicles in the video – that’s just a rough animation to show the art style in-engine.

    As for the question about distribution: We’re open to all types of distribution (online or retail). In China, a game like this would be a purely online product. The only product you find at retail is pirated content. That’s partly why online racing games are so successful in China – you can’t steal them.

    For the rest of the world, ideally we’d find a publisher who follows that same model – online distribution and micro transactions supporting the economics.

    The “American McGee” naming, as I’ve mentioned before, is usually a result of the publisher’s desire to leverage my name and create more awareness for a product. I question whether the idea really works or not – but I don’t resist when it’s either use the name or lose the project. Since BJR still doesn’t have a publisher the name is left open.

  3. I’m really interested in the method you’ve used to pitch the concept to Western publishers/partners. While you’ve obviously got the actual details wrapped up in your documents, it’s refreshing to see how open you’ve been with certain details of the game.

    Also, are you worried that the theme of the game may inhibit interest in the Chinese market? If the visuals are reminiscent of Chinese culture, is that something the Chinese want to play? It could be likened to a game such as Okami drawing a strong visual reference from Japanese culture, and then not doing so well in that market. Certainly China would be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) target markets. Would Chinese players respond better to another theme, or isn’t that a factor?

    Anyway, the target/pre-production video is indeed promising and if you can find a way to use the unique setting for unique gameplay opportunities, then the visual draw will have a gameplay draw to match.

    I look forward to further announcements, as well as finding out how Western partners respond to this unique method of pitching!

  4. You’re right, piracy is looked at differently in Asia. In America it’s done behind closed doors, but across the pacific you can find thousands of hole-in-the-wall game stores that sell pirated software.

    These days they must be using bit torrent and other P2P, but the system has been around for longer than you would think. The problem is release dates; when I lived in Thailand during the 90s it would take a couple months for new movies to come out in theaters. The only way to keep up with the times was to illegally record and import the media. That way you could get the CAM version of the film on VHS or VCD months before it was released in the country.

    The cause is simply our desire to be entertained; people don’t pirate software because they hate the developers or filmmakers, or because they don’t want to pay for their efforts. People pirate because they want the fastest and easiest access to the media that they want, when they want it.

    iTunes is the most obvious proof that consumer friendly digital distribution can be more appealing than piracy to a large part of the population. As long as you can move software to the customer faster than the pirates, and offer it at a reasonable price with a simple interface, you should be able to steer newbies away from piracy and lure some back from the dark side…

  5. what i want to know what is going on with “Red” and “Oz”?

    Grimm is awesome BTW, although i didn’t like the graphics but it Does work well.

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