Polish game studio Serious Sim has revealed Heading Out, a new driving game which distils the 1970s road-trip movie into a uniquely styled gaming experience.
The title is based around a relatively simple theme, wherein players drive across the American Midwest in a classic muscle car. Although not specifically named, the vehicle in the press images and trailer is a pretty close facsimile of a first-generation Dodge Challenger, and we see something similar to a Shelby Mustang too.
Using what’s described as a “semi-realistic driving model” — neither purely arcade, nor hardcore simulation — players drive between the Great Lakes and the Mexican border by whatever route they choose.
However, Heading Out is as much about the story as the drive. You’ll need to create your driver before you start, with a character generator based on a psychological test. From there you’re free to drive how and where you like, though you may face different challenges along the way.
Each run in Heading Out should be different, with over 100 unique events and ten longer stories that might crop up at any time. The individual events appear as short comics, and each has an impact on your journey.
You might encounter old friends, benevolent and malevolent strangers, and of course the police, all the while listening to radio hosts documenting your travels. If that sounds a touch like Vanishing Point, you’d be right: Serious Sim cites the classic movie as one of many inspirations.
The radio hosts are inspired by real world personalities like Howard Stern, Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, and Vanishing Point‘s Super Soul (as played by Cleavon Little), while there’s musical inspiration from Creedence Clearwater Revival, REM, and Audioslave.
That all helps to generate the road movie vibe, as does the unique artwork. The game is almost exclusively presented in black and white, though Serious Sim does make reference to a plot twist that sees a psychadelic palette. One image in the press release features a humpback whale flying above the road, so we’re expecting a Timothy Leary moment somewhere along the way.
We’re rather intrigued by Heading Out, but there’s a wait in store. The game will launch in “late 2022”, on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series, PC via Steam, and Nintendo Switch. In the meantime, you can watch the first Alpha build trailer below.