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Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge (2015 video game)

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Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge
Hot-Wheels-stunttrackchallenge2015
Developer(s) McDonalds Interactive
Starbreeze Studios
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Distributor(s) Mattel
Director(s) Neil McEwan
Producer(s) Jeff Gamon
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Krusty Krab
Wii U
Genre(s) Racing
Release Date(s)
NA November 10, 2015
AUS November 12, 2015
EU November 13, 2015
Mode(s)
Single-player
Multiplayer
Age Rating(s)
ESRB: E 10+
PEGI: 12

Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge is an arcade racing video game based on the Hot Wheels toy automobiles line by Mattel developed by McDonalds Interactive with Starbreeze Studios and published by Square Enix. The game is a reboot of the 2004 video game of the same name, developed by Climax Racing and published by THQ. It was released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Krusty Krab and Wii U in November 2015. The game is a multi-crossover featuring characters from famous franchises including: SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, The Adventure of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Super Mario, Star Fox, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pokémon, Digimon, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear, Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, Gears of War, and Halo participating in "Stunt Track Challenge".

Development started in 2005 after McDonalds Interactive was founded, but suffered development troubles and as a result, the game was put on hold. After THQ was shut down in 2013, the company approached Square Enix as the new publisher. After Square Enix agreed to publish the game, the company contacted Starbreeze Studios to provide assistances. McDonalds and Starbreeze employed veteran actors Pete L. J. Dickson, Mariah Milano, and James Marsden as the hosts in the game's Game Show mode. It was one of the few Hot Wheels games to be released on next generation consoles following Hot Wheels: Colosseum X Games.

Following it's announcement in June 2014, Stunt Track Challenge was widely anticipated. At release, the game received positive reviews; critics praised the graphics, custom design, online multiplayer, level designs, artificial intelligence and Dickson, Milano, and Marsden's hosting in Game Show, but the game's challenges were criticized. Stunt Track Challenge was a commercial success, selling 16 million copies worldwide, and received numerous awards and nominations from various gaming publications, including the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and British Academy Games Awards.

Gameplay

Stunt Track Challenge is a stuntman game show that consists of drivers competing in stunt challenges and winning fast races to stay on the show.

Game Show

Two types of races take place on one of 13 tracks and players compete to finish first. The game's 25 stunt challenges reward players for performing daring deeds by using the controller.

Pete L. J. Dickson, Mariah Milano, and James Marsden are the hosts in the Game Show, replacing Ryan Storm who was the previous host from Stunt Track Challenge (2004). There are 10 episodes instead of 6 from the previous game.

Episodes

No. Episode title Track(s) Films/TV Shows/Video game
1. Lava-Snow Volcano Lava Land, Snow Cove, Frelted, Mt. Moon Pokémon
2. Buccaneer Bay Pirate's Cove, Treasure Island, Escape, Pirate Ship Sonic X
3. Jurassic Rim Dino Boneyard, Green Valley, Pacific City, Showdown World Jurassic Park & Pacific Rim
4. Digital Alley Spider Alley, Digimon
5. Tiki Island Cave of Wonders, Head Stone, New Tiki, Oh Sprits Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge (2004)
6. Metal Gear Solid
7. Bikini Bottom SpongeBob SquarePants
8. Fairy World The Fairly OddParents
9. Tomb Raider
10. Zero Gravity The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genuis

Drivers

Driver Name TV Series/Video Game Series
SpongeBob SquarePants
Patrick Star
Sandy Cheeks
Mr. Krabs
Squidward Tentacles
Mermaid Manb
Barancle Boyb
SpongeBob SquarePants
Timmy Turner
Cosmo
Wanda
Poof
Jorgen VonStrangle
The Fairly OddParents
Jimmy Neutron
Carl Wheezer
Sheen Estevez
Cindy Vortex
Libby Folfax
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Jenny Wakeman
Dr. Wakeman
Brad Carbunkle
Tuck Carbunkle
Sheldon Lee
My Life as a Teenage Robotb
Mario
Luigi
Princess Peaches
Super Mario
Fox McCould
Falco Lombardi
Star Fox
Sonic the Hedgehog
Knuckles the Echidna
Miles "Tails" Prower
Shadow the Hedgehog
Rouge the Bat
Amy Roseb
Sonic the Hedgehog
Pikachu
Meowth
Squrtle
Bulbasaur
Pokémon
Tai Kamiya
Augmon
Matt Ishida
Gabumon
Sora Takenouchi
Biyomon
Digimon
Lara Croft Tomb Raider
Solid Snake
Raiden
Metal Gear
Ratchet and Clank Ratchet & Clank
Jak and Daxter Jak and Daxter
Sly Cooper Sly Cooperb
Marcus Fenix
Dominic Santiagob
Gears of War
Master Chief Halo

Cars

Cars
  • 24/Seven
  • Power Pipes
  • HW Prototype 12
  • Pony Up
  • MS-T Suzuka
  • Zotic
  • Muscle Tone
  • 70's Road Runner
  • Riveted
  • Piledriver
  • Ballistik
  • Vulture
  • Rodger Dodger
  • Super Tuned
  • Mega-Duty
  • Switchback
  • Jester
  • Jack Hammer
  • Jaw Jammer
  • Rat-ifiedb
  • Power Bombb
  • Overbored 454
  • Swoopy Doo
  • Bedlam
  • The Gov'ner
  • Deora II
  • Twin Mill
  • 16 Angels
  • 40 Somethin'
  • Side Draft
  • SpecTyte
  • High Voltageb
  • Reverbb
  • Patty Wagon
  • Sling Shot
  • Power Rage
  • Battle Spec
  • Spine Buster
  • Hollowback
  • Rollin Thunder
  • Krazy 8sb
  • Ferrari F430 Spiderb
  • Whip Creamer IIa
  • Synkro
  • Bassline
  • Flat-Head Fury
  • Chicane
  • Drift Tech
  • Sinistrab
  • COG Trikea
  • Ford Mustang GTa
  • Lamborghini Estoqueb
Notes
  • a: Available in both Game Show and Multiplayer
  • b: Downloadable Content only

Multiplayer

The game features an online multiplayer. It holds up to 40-player races and challenges on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Development

The original Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge was developed by Climax Racing and published by THQ and released on PC PlayStation 2, and Xbox in November 2004.

McDonalds Interactive was founded in March 2005 after Stunt Track Challenge was released. The company quickly fell in love with the game and wanted to make a Stunt Track Challenge 2. After completing McDonalds Basketball '07, the team returned their attention on developing another Stunt Track Challenge. However, many issues occurred, and the game was put aside again. Development resumed in 2011 after the release of Matchbox: World Grand Prix.

THQ was set up to publish the title, however, on November 13, 2012, THQ reported that they had defaulted on a $50 million loan from Wells Fargo and were on the verge of bankruptcy. With its stock price plummeting from early November values bordering on $3 down to $1.16 and with long-term liabilities of $250 million, THQ was forced to delay the release dates of its flagship titles Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light to March 2013.[1] On December 19, 2012, THQ filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy with the intention of selling THQ and all of its assets to Clearlake Capital Group with Centerview Partners handling the sale.[2][3][4] Skip Paul, a former colleague of Jason Rubin, helped orchestrate the proposed stalking horse bid from Clearlake Capital Group.[5]

However, the bid was ultimately denied by Judge Mary F. Walrath and creditors instead approved an individual auction of THQ's properties, which went ahead on January 22, 2013.[6][7] At the auction, the Homefront franchise was acquired by Crytek (and was later acquired by Koch Media),[8] Relic Entertainment and the video game rights to the Warhammer 40,000 series were sold to Sega, and the publishing rights to Turtle Rock Studios' Evolve and the WWE series were acquired by Take-Two Interactive. Ubisoft acquired THQ Montreal and the publishing rights to South Park: The Stick of Truth while the publishing rights to the Metro franchise and Volition, Inc. were acquired by Koch Media. Vigil Games and THQ's publishing unit were still included in the Chapter 11 case, although all employees related to these entities were laid off.[9][10] In a posting on Twitter on January 23, Platinum Games' producer Atsushi Inaba expressed interest in acquiring the Darksiders franchise from THQ.[11] On February 26, THQ announced that it would sell off its remaining properties – the Darksiders, Homeworld, Red Faction, and Destroy All Humans! franchises, as well as its licensed and original properties – in a court-approved auction which would be held from April 1 to 15, with the process completed by May.[12] All of THQ's remaining franchises, including the remainder of its original IPs (aside from Homeworld, which was acquired by Gearbox Software, and Drawn to Life, acquired by 505 Games) and licensed software, were auctioned to Nordic Games in April 2013.[13]

Creditors initially said the proposed sale of THQ in bankruptcy court benefited current THQ management, including Rubin.[14] Early creditor objections and court documents criticized THQ management.[15] Presiding Judge Walwrath called these criticisms a "conspiracy theory" on record.[16] Creditors ultimately released THQ management, including Rubin, of any malfeasance in the company's official plan of liquidation.[17]

The liquidation of THQ also had an effect on other studios; British developer Blitz Games Studios shut down in September 2013, citing financial difficulties. The company's CEO Philip Oliver said that the demise of THQ, who was a major client for the studio, was one of the major contributing factors to the closure.[18]

Following THQ's demise, McDonalds Interactive later approached Square Enix as the new publisher. Square Enix then said "Yes" after McDonalds presented the concept of the game. The following day, Square Enix approached The Apex Team who were also developing another Hot Wheels game titled Hot Wheels World Race: Apex and asked if they could be the publisher. The Apex Team had to think about it for a while.

McDonalds Interactive called in Starbreeze Studios to provide assistances in development. Starbreeze had finished development of Payday 2 and jumped the gun to join the game's development.

Stunt Track Challenge uses the Havok Physics Engine. McDonalds and Starbreeze employed veteran actors Pete L. J. Dickson, Mariah Milano, and James Marsden to lend their voices as the hosts in the game's game show mode.

Music

The game's music was composed by Ramin Djawadi and Green Day guitarist Tré Cool. The Main Menu's music features the same medley as the original from the 2004 game.

Marketing

Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge was announced in November 2013 by Square Enix. A teaser for Stunt Track Challenge was inserted in PS4 and Xbox One retail copies of Tomb Raider (2013). Another was inserted in retail copies of Hot Wheels World Race: Apex. The game was fully presented at E3 2014 with a full poster. Gameplay footage was shown at E3 2015. It featured SpongeBob SquarePants racing against Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mario on the Pirate's Cove map.

Release

On June 15, 2015, at Microsoft E3 2015's press conference, the full game's release date was to be on November 10, 2015 in North America alongside Rise of the Tomb Raider. [19] A behind the scene trailer was released during Square Enix's press conference on June 16, 2015.[20] On August 4, 2015, at Microsoft Gamescom's press conference, it was confirmed that the game would release on November 13 in Europe.[21]

An open beta for PlayStation 4 users was announced by Sony on June 16 at the end of Sony's E3 Press Conference. The beta started on October 27, 2015 and ended on November 6.

Pre-release incentives

Prior to the game's release, various stores offered extra items as a way of attracting customers to order the game from their store. In North America, GameStop offered the in-game Challenge Track. Best Buy orders received a digitally remastered version of Hot Wheels Extreme Racing. Pre-orders from Microsoft Store also received 1600 Microsoft Points for Xbox Live.

Downloadable Content

At E3 2015, during Sony's press conference, McDonalds Interactive announced that PlayStation 4 users would get early access to downloadable content (DLC). A season pass was announced on October 7, 2015 for Xbox One users.[22] On November 24, 2015, PlayStation 4 users had early access to the "Caves & Cliffs" map pack. The map pack consists of three new Hot Wheels multiplayer maps, entitled "Tribe Caverns", "Cliffy Stall Villiage" and "Burning Town". The pack later became available for Xbox Live and Steam users, on November 27.

The second DLC pack, "Own the Cities", was released on January 28, 2016. It features the Krazy 8s, Ferrari F430 Spider, Rat-ified, Reverb and Power Bomb cars. It also includes Dominic Santiago and Anya Stroud from Gears of War, Cortana from Halo, and Falco Lombardi from Star Fox.

Reception

Critical response

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.10% (PC)
82.64% (PS4)
79.66% (XONE)
72.11% (KK)
67.45% (WIIU)
Metacritic 75/100 (PC)
79/100 (PS4)
78/100 (XONE)
69/100 (KK)
65/100 (WIIU)
Orange Drink.com 82 % (PC)
81% (PS4)
76% (XONE)
77% (KK)
69% (WIIU)
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 7/10
Game Informer 10.75/20
Game Revolution 74 / 100
 
GameSpot 5.9/10
GamesRadar 84 / 100
 
GameTrailers 8.3/10
IGN 8.5/10
Official PlayStation Magazine (US) 96 / 100
 
Official Xbox Magazine (UK) 5/10
Play Magazine 9/10
VideoGamer.com 7/10
Digital Spy 100 / 100
 
The Guardian 94 / 100
 

Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge received positive reviews. The game's challenges were criticized. GameRankings, Metacritic and Orange Drink.com gave it 81.10%, 75 out of 100 and 82% for the PC version; 82.64%, 74 out of 100 and 81% for the PlayStation 4 version; 79.66%, 71 out of 100 and 76% for the Xbox One version; and 67.45%, 65 out of 100, and 69% for the Wii U version.

Dan Ryckert of Giant Bomb gave Stunt Track Challenge 3/5 stars, praising the game for capturing the fast paste fun of Hot Wheels, but complained of the game's lack of content on release. Game Informer's Matt Miller noted that the game's multi-crossover appearance of famous television and video game series characters make the game completely unprofessional due to their genres being aimed at different types of gamers. Ryan Taljonick of GamesRadar lauded the location's setting and environment, and expressed that "not one area ever feels like a rehash of another". Taljonick also felt that the game had great pacing, and that it is "unrivaled by any other game in the genre".

Peter Paras of Game Revolution gave it a 4 star rating, saying that "It may not be as challenging as Rise of the Tomb Raider... but it's still enjoyable to play with it's crazy confusing level designs".

Peter Eykemans from IGN gave the game 8.5 out of 10 and called it "a multi-crossover fun for fans of any Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo". Leon Hurley of GamesRadar had a positive impression of Stunt Track Challenge 's ability to choose any vehicle and driver for the game modes and awarded it 4/5 stars.

Reviewers praised the game's graphical quality. Gerstmann said the use of lighting added a unique style to the game. He also liked the depiction of the two major areas of the game, and the game's sounds, which he said suited the tone of the game.

Dickson, Milano, and Marsden were praised for their hosting in the game's "Game Show" mode. Jeff Gerstmann from Giant Bomb noted that Dickson delivered a more calm performance than Milano and Marsden. In contrast, Martin Gaston from VideoGamer.com said he was disappointed with the game challenges and considered them one of the game's biggest flaws.

The game's AI and custom design received praise. GameTrailers' reviewer said the AI cars have the intelligence to know when to slow down at every turn and dodge every obstacles and with the ability to custom design the players' cars, make the game a worthy ride along.

The multiplayer received acclaimed. Gaston said it was "Fast & Furious and Need for Speed having lunch together". Dan Whitehead from Eurogamer compared it more favourably compared to Need for Speed 's always online connection.

The level and track designs were praised. Gaston and Hurley found the Lava/Snow Volcano episode most crazy with the combined elements of lava and snow altogether. Gerstmann thought that the tracks were insanely fun for any Hot Wheels fans, though he praised the Bikini Bottom level's tracks the most.

Other responses

Stunt Track Challenge received praise from other studios and figureheads in the gaming industry. Prior to launch, Phil Spencer, president of Microsoft's Xbox division, tweeted that "it will be a fun arcade game". Spencer would later follow up his tweet by further congratulating McDonalds and Starbreeze "on a great job on #HWStuntTrackChallenge, outstanding work".

Epic Games founders Tim Sweeney and Mark Rein found the game uninspiring while praising Gears of War protagonist Marcus Fenix's playable appearance and the appearance of the COG Trike. Design director Cliff Bleszinski agreed with Sweeney and Rein saying "While Hot Wheels may not please the people over at Epic Games, it does give them motivation to include the Trike in future Gears".

SpongeBob SquarePants series creator Stephen Hillenburg was impressed by the appearance of his characters and expressed interest in a crossover between SpongeBob and Fairly OddParents in the future. The Fairly OddParents creator Butch Hartman agreed with Hillenburg on the subject and called Stunt Track Challenge, "an influence in the crossover industry".

Similarly, Uncharted series developer Naughty Dog praised the game, and thanked both McDonalds and Starbreeze for adding Nathan Drake in the game. In June 2016, Naughty added several characters from the game into their PlayStation 4 title, Uncharted 4: A Theif's End.

Sales

Phil Rogers, CEO of Square Enix Europe, and President and CEO of Square Enix, Inc. said that Stunt Track Challenge earned the fastest amount of pre-orders of 2.6 million within 12 hours before launch day. The game sold 3.4 million copies in less than forty-eight hours of its release.

Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge debuted at No.1 in the UK for retail non-digital sales according to Chart-Track in its first week of release, and became the fourth fastest-selling title released in 2015. It was also the fastest-selling online PlayStation 4 video game, breaking the record previously held by Destiny, until being over taken by Star Wars Battlefront. The game preformed more successfully than Rise of the Tomb Raider which suffered lower than expected sales, selling 63,000 units, less than two thirds than that of its predecessor.[23][24][25][26] Some gaming journalists have attributed the poor sales to the fact that the game released on the same day as Fallout 4.[27][28] Stunt Track Challenge also topped the charts in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States.

In the United Sates, Stunt Track Challenge was the fifth best selling game, excluding download sales, behind Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront, and Madden NFL 16. On March 6, 2016, Square Enix announced that the game had sold more than 5 million copies and grossed $375 million in February 2016. On May 14, 2016, McDonalds Interactive announced that the game sold 16 million copies worldwide at retail.

Awards

References

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