It's not a great time to be a Wipeout fan. Unless you're eager to re-play Wipeout HD through the Omega Collection, you don't exactly have many choices when it comes to hyper-stylized sci-fi racing. Take heart, however -- R8 Studios has released the finished version of Formula Fusion, a spiritual sequel to Wipeout in everything but its name. It even has a strong pedigree from the classic franchise. Former Wipeout 3 developer Andrew Walker is in charge of the project, and the company even tapped The Designers Republic (known for the iconic look of the first few Wipeout games) for both visuals and backstory.
The core mechanics will seem very familiar: you're zipping around tracks (either solo or multiplayer) while picking up weapons and countermeasures. However, this isn't just the classic game with a fresh coat of paint. There's a garage for fine-tuning your anti-gravity vehicle, a weapon slot crafting option and "dynamic" track surfaces. Also, Formula Fusion is clearly built for the eSports and YouTube crowds: there's a spectator mode that lets people watch and comment on races, and the replay system goes so far as to include a Matrix-like "bullet time" view to capture special moments.
The title is available now on Windows PCs for $20. However, the future of the game could be just as important as its present. R8 is planning "substantial" free add-ons to supplement the 8 tracks and 5 vessels you get on launch. You shouldn't be faced with a Wipeout HD Fury-like scenario where you may have to buy an expansion just to keep things fresh.
The tricky part may be getting your friends to check this out. While the right ingredients are in place to draw in Wipeout fans, there's no question that Sony has the more recognizable name and a ton of marketing clout. R8 does have an ace up its sleeve, though: this is likely the closest you'll get to Wipeout on modern PCs. It might be the only game in town if you don't own a PS4.