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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
Composer(s) Ramin Djawadi
Tré Cool
Series Hot Wheels
Engine Havok

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. Announced in September 2013, it was released in November 2015 on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Krusty Krab and Wii U. 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, Uncharted, Gears of War, and Halo participating in "Stunt Track Challenge".

Production started in 2005 after McDonalds Interactive was founded, but suffered development troubles and as a result, the game was put on hold. Development on the game officially started in 2011. After THQ was shut down in 2013, Square Enix was announced as the new publisher. The company contacted Starbreeze Studios to provide assistances with development. 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.

Following it's presentation 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 game show single player and 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, like the original 2004 game, is a stuntman style arcade game that consists of drivers competing in stunt challenges and winning fast races to stay on the show. Sometimes, there are mini games with special tasks, usually involving collecting icons in a limited amount of time. However, the game features different aspects from the original; players can customize their vehicles with body kits, color, wheels, and rims. Some vehicles however, can only be played during the challenges, not the races in single-player, and cannot be modified except in multiplayer.

Game Show

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James-marsden 130221215238-200x208
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Mariah Milano (top), James Marsden (middle), and Pete L. J. Dickson (bottom) are the game's Game Show hosts.

The game features the "Game Show" mode from Stunt Track Challenge (2004). 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 Films/TV Shows/Video game
1. Lava-Snow Volcano Pokémon
2. Buccaneer Bay Sonic X
3. Jurassic Rim Jurassic Park & Pacific Rim
4. Digital Alley Digimon
5. Tiki Island Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge (2004)
6. Buccaneer Bay Metal Gear Solid
7. Bikini Bottom SpongeBob SquarePants
8. Fairy World The Fairly OddParents
9. Atlantis 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
Nathan Drake Uncharted
Lara Croft Tomb Raider
Solid Snake
Raidenb
Metal Gear
Ratchet and Clank Ratchet & Clank
Jak and Daxter Jak and Daxter
Sly Cooper Sly Cooperb
Marcus Fenix
Dominic Santiago
Anya Stroud
Augustus Cole
Damon Baird
Colonel Hoffmanb
Anthony Carmineb
Lieutenant Kimb
Gears of War
Master Chief
Cortanab
Halo
Joel
Ellie
The Last of Usb

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 on the game officially began in 2011 after the release of Matchbox: World Grand Prix.

Creative director Harold Dallas thought about a multi-crossover experience for the game featuring characters from 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, Uncharted, Gears of War, and Halo. However, the company had to approach the creators of the franchises in order to included them in the final product. Naughty Dog was the first to be approached by McDonalds. Naughty Dog didn't like the sound of their franchises, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted, appearing in a non-Sony title, due to the fact that both franchise are owned by Sony Computer Entertainment. Sony and Naughty Dog eventually agreed to let McDonalds uses their characters appear in McDonalds' title.

Square Enix announced that they signed a deal with Mattel to publish three Hot Wheels games. The first Hot Wheels to be published by the company was Hot Wheels: Watch Racers developed by Got Milk Entertainment, which was released in November 2013.

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.

Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge was announced on September 15, 2013; Square Enix released the name of the third Hot Wheels game; Stunt Track Challenge. On October 11, 2013, McDonalds Interactive released a trailer video for the game on their YouTube channel.

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.

Release

Stunt Track Challenge was fully presented at E3 2014 with a full poster and trailer. 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.

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.[1] A behind the scene trailer was released during Square Enix's press conference on June 16, 2015.[2] On August 4, 2015, at Microsoft Gamescom's press conference, it was confirmed that the game would release on November 13 in Europe.[3]

Marketing

Two teasers for the game were inserted in retail copies of Watch Racers and in PlayStation 4 and Xbox One retail copies of Tomb Raider (2013), announcing the release to be in 2015. Mattel announced a toyline based on the game in December 2014.

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 Tomb. Pre-orders from  Sony Store also received 1700 Sony Points for PlayStation Network.

Customers ordering from Amazon, received access to the Hot Wheels: The Tomb Raider Final Hours Edition, including with a 32-page art book, an in-game Hunter Skin for the Deora II, Sling Shot, Bassline, and Power Rage.

Retail editions

Exclusive for Europe is the Burn Rubber Edition. The Burn Rubber Edition comes with a mini art book, and CD soundtrack. The Collector's Edition for Europe contains everything from the Burn Rubber Edition along with an 8" Play Arts Hot Wheels toy automobiles in a metal box. The Collector's Edition for North America is similar to the European one, however instead of a mini art book and a CD soundtrack it contains three iron-on badges.

In the United Kingdom, Game offered the exclusive Underground Edition bundle, which included an exploration themed Challenge Tomb track and a special edition body kit.

A limited edition wireless controller for the PlayStation 3 was also released on November 10, 2015. A download code for an PlayStation exclusive playable Tomb Raider multiplayer character was also included.

Open beta

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 3.

On November 6, 2015, Square Enix announced that 4 million people participated in the beta.

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.[4] 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 Colonel Hoffman, Anthony Carmine, and Lieutenant Kim from Gears of War, Cortana from Halo, and Falco Lombardi from Star Fox.

The third DLC, "Unearthed", was released on March 11, 2016. It includes new map locations set in The Last of Us. The characters Joel and Ellie were also included.

A multiplayer DLC pack was released on June 11, 2016, entitled "Shipwrecked Onboard", on Xbox Live, PSN and Steam. The DLC pack offered two additional multiplayer maps, "Lost Fleet" and "Himiko's Cradle" from Tomb Raider.

Reception

Critical response

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.10% (PC)
70.55% (PS3)
82.64% (PS4)
79.66% (XONE)
72.11% (KK)
67.45% (WIIU)
Metacritic 75/100 (PC)
68/100 (PS3)
79/100 (PS4)
78/100 (XONE)
69/100 (KK)
65/100 (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 singer-player challenges were criticized. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it 81.10%, and 75 out of 100 for the PC version; 82.64%, and 74 out of 100 for the PlayStation 4 version; 79.66%, and 71 out of 100 for the Xbox One version; 72.11% and 69/100 for the Krusty Krab; and 67.45%, and 65 out of 100, 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 Hot Wheels 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, breaking Hot Wheels: Colosseum X Games' record the previous year.

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.[5] The game preformed more successfully than Rise of the Tomb Raider which suffered lower than expected sales, selling less than two thirds than that of its predecessor.[6][7][8][9][10][11] Stunt Track Challenge also topped the charts in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States.

In the United Sates, Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge was the fourth best selling game, excluding download sales, behind Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Fallout 4, and Star Wars Battlefront.[12]

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.[13]

Awards

References

  1. Saed, Sherif (June 15, 2015). Rise of the Tomb Raider release date announced, gameplay footage shown. VG247. Retrieved on June 15, 2015.
  2. Rise of the Tomb Raider - Behind the Scenes. IGN (June 16, 2015). Retrieved on June 16, 2015.
  3. Rise of the Tomb Raider Preorder Packs. Tomb Raider Blog (August 4, 2015). Retrieved on August 4, 2015.
  4. Sheridan, Conner (October 7, 2015). Rise of the Tomb Raider Season Pass has another tomb and more survival. GamesRadar. Retrieved on December 5, 2015.
  5. Crossley, Rob (November 23, 2015). Star Wars Battlefront Awakens Atop UK Chart. GameSpot. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  6. Rise of the Tomb Raider Launches to Low Day-One Sales in UK, Fallout 4 Sold More on PS4. CraveOnline. Retrieved on December 26, 2015.
  7. Rise of the Tomb Raider sells 2/3 less than its predecessor. Retrieved on December 26, 2015.
  8. Sony Senior Product Manager Derides UK Rise Of The Tomb Raider Sales. Retrieved on December 26, 2015.
  9. Rise Of The Tomb Raider Low UK Sales Due To “Poor Release Timing”; Will Do “Just Fine” On PS4. Retrieved on December 26, 2015.
  10. Rise of the Tomb Raider's Launch is a Very Dumb Idea. Retrieved on December 26, 2015.
  11. 'Rise Of The Tomb Raider' Release Affected By 'Fallout 4,' Might Do Better On PS4. Retrieved on December 26, 2015.
  12. November 2015 NPD: Call of Duty outsells Fallout 4 as PlayStation 4 takes November (December 10, 2015). Archived from the original on December 11, 2015. Retrieved on December 11, 2015.
  13. Minotti, Mike (May 10, 2016). Star Wars: Battlefront has shipped over 14 million copies. VentureBeat. Retrieved on November 14, 2016.
  14. Reynolds, Matthew (September 1, 2015). Golden Joystick Awards 2015 voting now open to the public. Digital Spy. Retrieved on February 5, 2016.
  15. Nominees|The Game Awards 2015. Ola Balola (November 12, 2015). Retrieved on November 13, 2015.
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  17. The Best Games of 2015 - Game of the Year 2015. GameSpot. Retrieved on February 4, 2016.
  18. Game of the year 2015. GamesRadar. Future plc (December 31, 2015). Retrieved on February 5, 2016.
  19. EGM's Best of 2015: Part Four: #10 ~ #06. Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM Media (December 30, 2015). Retrieved on February 5, 2016.
  20. Nominees - National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Corporation. National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers (February 9, 2016). Retrieved on March 4, 2016.
  21. Best of 2015 Awards. Game Revolution. Net Revolution (January 1, 2016). Retrieved on February 5, 2016.
  22. IGN's Best of 2015. IGN. Retrieved on January 13, 2016.
  23. Rise of the Tomb Raider Leads D.I.C.E. Awards With 9 Nominations. GameSpot (January 13, 2016). Retrieved on January 14, 2016.
  24. SXSW Gaming Awards Info. South by Southwest. Retrieved on February 14, 2016.
  25. Template:Cite news

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