Red Bull Air Rage


Announced at the height of Project CARS‘ post-release popularity, Slightly Mad Studios have taken to the skies – quite literally – by working on an officially licensed Red Bull Air Racing game for both next generation consoles, as well as modern personal computers. A drastic departure from the company’s roots –  traditional race cars – and the first flight sim ever attempted by the controversial development studio, Red Bull Air Racing is a title many are keeping their eyes on, even if they aren’t all that interested in Flight Simulators to begin with. After the disastrous launch of their flagship title in 2015, one which spent a whopping four years in development, fans and critics alike are curious to see if the team can finally push out a satisfactory product for an entirely different genre of simulators.

When this Red Bull game was first announced during the summer of 2015, users who were highly critical of Project CARS immediately flocked to various online message boards mocking the potentially disastrous outcome of this Free to Play flight simulator, and that’s completely understandable. Project CARS released in a significantly less-than-stellar state, and those who attempted to sink long hours into Project CARS, only to be met with an endless supply of technical issues, have every right to be skeptical about this upcoming Air Race title. Cars sunk into the ground, tire behavior was all sorts of broken, garage menu options could be exploited with relative ease, and the game’s collision detection needed a serious overhaul. A collective groan could be heard from skeptics once the first trailer for Air Race dropped; several avid sim racers wondering how in the world this game would be broken.

We now have our answer. While I still genuinely applaud Slightly Mad Studios for attempting to venture out into the unknown – after all, this same approach bred smash hits such as Euro Truck Simulator – impressions from the Closed Beta are now live, and feature some interesting remarks. Given that the entire thing was labelled a Closed Beta, I’m not sure whether these guys are under Non-Disclosure Agreements or not; only a lone gameplay video exists (with barely 30 views), but for the time being, let’s appreciate the fact that everything is out in the open at the Red Bull Hangar.


We start by learning you can’t actually crash the plane. I’m not the biggest flight simulator enthusiast, but I’d think this would be a key part in any game involving airplanes – if you smack the ground at any rate of speed during your journey, it’s more or less game over. With Air Race set to release in just a few months, Slightly Mad Studios appear to have no option to crash at all in the game, instead allowing you to freely bounce off the terrain at your own discretion. Some will undoubtedly make the argument that Microsoft Flight Simulator X technically doesn’t let you crash either, but that particular piece of software comes to a complete halt and gives you an extremely rudimentary CRASH dialogue at the top portion of the screen to at least let you know you’ve fucked up. With no possible way to destroy the plane, what’s exactly the challenge of these treacherous obstacle courses? How long until people are strategically bouncing off buildings for ridiculous speed boosts and other various shenanigans?


A few members have mentioned that the checkpoint transponder zones for each upright pylon are fairly erroneous. What’s happening to some of the more experienced pilots, is that they’re receiving completely unnecessary time penalties because the game doesn’t detect that they’ve successfully cleared the checkpoint despite flying right in the goddamn middle of it. The entire game revolves around flying through giant inflatable pylons in the world’s most insane time attack challenge, and currently, Slightly Mad Studios cannot get checkpoints to register as hit or miss correctly. This exact same problem plagued Project CARS, where sim racers would receive track limit violations at seemingly random intervals, despite staying well within the confines of the racing surface. This problem has made the jump to the sky.


Along with further complaints about the inability to destroy the plane, some users have discovered “jerky” or “twitchy” flight behavior; roughly describing the same odd vehicle dynamics which often sent Prototypes rocketing into the stratosphere in last year’s title, Project CARS. An underlying problem of the Madness engine? Possibly, but given the speeds that will inevitably be reached in the higher power output planes, and how much time was allegedly spent refining Project CARS, now’s not the time for shortcomings in the physics engine – you’ll need a lot more precision at 450 km/h in the sky than you will at 230 km/h on the ground. This stuff should have been ironed out long ago, considering the Madness engine has appeared in no less than four games dating all the way back to 2009.


But the biggest issue of them all, one which is quite hypocritical of Slightly Mad Studios, would be the upcoming reliance upon micro-transactions. This is the second Free to Play title currently being worked on by Slightly Mad Studios, the first being World of Speed, which was initially scheduled for a 2014 release. Staff members of Slightly Mad Studios can be found outright boasting about how “truly free” World of Speed will be back in 2014, including Andy Tudor outright stating “we’re not going to do that, ever”, but closed beta participants have already found areas of the game asking for Gold or Real World Currency. There’s a chance Red Bull themselves could have specifically asked for micro-transactions to be implemented, but that doesn’t take away from the blatant hypocrisy on display here.


Red Bull Air Race: The Game is gearing up for a summer 2016 release, but with the inability for Slightly Mad Studios to release any game on time – Project CARS suffering three delays, World of Speed missing in action, and even Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends being pushed back – it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when we’ll get to try this game. However, if the Closed Beta feedback is anything to go by, it’s shaping up to be a classic Slightly Mad Studios product, warts and all.


39 thoughts on “Red Bull Air Rage

    1. This looks garbage, even Air conflicts pacific carriers on PS4 looks better than this, the handling doesnt even look up to most last gen air combat games and the planes look shocking, looking like a huge fail atm.


  1. “you’ll need a lot more precision at 450 km/h in the sky than you will at 230 km/h on the ground.”
    really not… cars need a significant amount of accuracy because they’re constantly interacting with the ground, planes can get away with a hundred times less precision once you’re in the air and you wouldn’t even notice.


    1. Driving a car on a roadway also doesn’t require precision and speed. If you are comparing racing to flying please do it properly.
      You sound like you haven’t heard of aerobatic/formation flying. Without precision you wouldn’t win neither air races nor aerobatic competitions. Not only you need perfect precision but you have also to work in 3 dimensions instead of 2 as in racing which puts more “strain”. Not to mention higher risk in case of mistake.

      Additionally keeping the plane “at the limit” also requires precision inputs despite having a huge space around you where making a mistake might mean a loss e.g. dogfight or competition.

      However I do agree that racing drivers are constantly closer to tire limits where as fighter/aerobatic pilots reach plane limits less often (compared to whole flying hours), however when they do it’s 1 step away from the death. Higher risk higher reward, hence why it doesn’t happen constantly and when it does only after huge amount of training hours, because mistakes – death.


      1. You know planes, I know physics simulation… I suppose we use the word “accuracy” differently. Sorry for the confusion.

        It’s precisely because the air is not a constant that you’ll be unable to tell the difference. It’s like dropping a marble from 15 feet up, and rolling it down a 15 foot hill. In both cases the final output is a function of the intervening space. But for the air, you only need accuracy in two places – while holding the marble, and when it hits the ground. You can use a greatly simplified model and maintain those properties (calculate how long it takes to travel between them, and how much random turbulence will shift the path). With the hill, you need accuracy for every imperfection it could hit on the way down.

        From either model you can generate a 60fps video of how the marble falls. But the falling model is undeniably simpler.


    2. And planes are constantly interacting with the air, which is far from a passive or constant element you muppet.

      BTW, maybe you haven´t noticed, but this sport is about flying through confined spaces as fast as possible. If you lack accuracy you WILL notice.


  2. Now tell me Austin does not have an agenda. Or is this somehow about (pretend race) CARS?

    I know it is not about hating SMS. It’s about pathologic hate of every successful company. Once any company start (or at least try) to earn some significant money, Austin starts spewing shit about them. Look at his turn about Reiza. And now this. If any of the companies popular on this blog start working on Barbie game, will PRC become Barbie blog? Also the game will be free, so everyone can make his own opinion.


  3. Just more garbage 1’s and 0’s from Shabbily Made Sims. Such incompetence rewarded by financial success shows how low the standards are for the average gamer/consumer.


  4. No takeoff and landing, no freeflight, no penalty for collision…

    This is going to be crap.

    You’re absolutely right James, FSX-style ‘you’ve crashed’ is kinda the bare minimum. Bouncing off objects is not part of flying, why the fuck does SMS need outside parties to tell them this?


    1. The climb and ‘stall’ is all sorts of fucked up too. They had best not call this a simulator, it’s not even ballpark.


  5. LOL I just saw a mod on the PC forum warn a member for using too many full stops in his post hahaha, mod konan the spermarian, what a complete loser, even stated he was personally offended that somebody called the game crap, you cant make this stuff up, where does Bell get these mentally challenged anally prolapsed mods?


  6. I bet in the flight sim community, this game doesn’t even reach anywhere near simulation or simcade status. This game is pure ARCADE garbage.


  7. Actually there’s already a game for that:#PLAY: Sexual Risk on facebook .Just don’t ask your mumsie to help you onto the next level.


  8. Wow! looks like another masterpiece from SMS.

    Seriously though. The day these guys call it quits or go under will be a good day for the video game world.


    1. I love how one company that makes video games gets your panties in a massive twist. Fucking great.

      SMS aren’t going anywhere neckbeard, their amazing games are here to stay.


  9. In which world did someone say that Red Bull Air Race The Game was going to be a simulation? Are you nerds and geeks that undersupplied that everything you hear about should be a simulation nowadays?

    From my knowledge, this is going to be a game, a F2P-game supplying people with the world of RBAR. Nothing else.

    So from my point of view, as long as the gameplay is fun and the game offers a good experience, there is nothing wrong with NOT doing a simulation.


    1. Yup. If it’s not promised to be something it won’t be, then ok. Just some basics would be appreciated, like stall, adequate collision and cameras.


  10. It’s not a hardcore flight simulation, that much should be clear to everyone, it has not been ever marketed as simulation. And without knowing what kind of deal was struck between Wingracers GmbH and SMS, I’m going to assume they were ordered an easily approachable air racing game with a pay to play more/unlock_stuff_earlier concept, not a hardcore simulator with manual engine start procedures and almost cfd simulation level accuracy, there are other software for that (X-planeeeeee, okay, there was no damage done to engines in x-plane 9 if you failed the staring procedures, but it was “good enough” 😀 Don’t know if that has changed in 10)

    Please bear in mind that this “insight” is a snapshot and shit will probably change a lot, especially balancing of monetization and overall progression speed. (for the worse)
    So considering it as an “arcade” game, I’d say the flight model is sufficient and it can be a fun game to do some air racing or competing at leaderboards if that’s your thing and that’s about that.
    There are planes to unlock in five different tiers that require completing missions, winning online races and certain amounts of flight hours to “reach”. Where I believe the real money will come in is accelerating the “fixing” of used, not damaged as there is no damage and probably won’t be, airplanes [SPECULATION] and possibly instantly buying some higher tier craft [SPECULATION]
    So the negatives first, there are disconnections happening post race, haven’t seen any mid-race. Sometimes (often) the after race session results get corrupted, progress is updated on servers anyway. No vehicle to ground collisions, some parts of more distant terrain missing collisions altogether. Some missings shadows on distant parts of parts of landscape. Lack of online opponents, this I fear, will be the worst problem after launch, of course I don’t know how many hundreds of millions of people(! :D) signed up for this closed beta, but with currently invited playerset it’s almost impossible to find playmates without planning beforehand at forums. No post-race AI, the plane will just go straight (to the ground). Low fidelity replay/ghost system, sometimes the ghosts can be over 10 meters out of sync and fly straight through cones for example. Engine load doesn’t affect the sound. Menus are not usable without mouse.
    And few positives. Lighting is quite good. Planes have enough differences to make it worth ones while to unlock them. Racing other people is fun, seeing them make a critical mistake is even more fun!
    Currently there is not much to say about in-game progression, a single victory awards tens of thousands of cash and repairs cost 150$ per 20 flights, even best planes cost only few hundred thousands. I believe this will be balanced out more to slow down progress without paying, because at the moment progression is only tied to your skill: if you can win, you will get to higher ranks. For me such system would be perfectly fine, but I don’t see how those taking the financial risk for the game would be happy with this, unless it’s not even meant to turn profit, but to get more people interested in RBAR franchise.



  11. I prefer combat flying. If I needed a flight simcade with progression and unlocks I would go for Warthunder because guns and bombs! For me to like air racing/aerobatics game it should have class leading flight model otherwise it will feel dull because the main point is to fly at the limit and without advanced flight model (or without combat) it will be dull (personal opinion).


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