"Shared Passion and Excitement for the Progress" of GeneRally 2 : Interview with James Burgess

GeneRally 2 James Burgess Interview Curious Chicken Games.jpg
Over 21 years after the original, the wait for GeneRally 2 finally nears its end: The successor to the popular top-down racer is set to hit Steam Early Access in a week on May 30th - and RaceDepartment got the opportunity to talk about the game in a bit more detail with one of its creators: James Burgess, Founder and Director of developer Curious Chicken games, gave us exclusive and exciting insight into the history and background of the project, plans for what is still to come and what to expect from the Early Access version.

Image Credit: Curious Chicken Games

It has been over 20 years since GeneRally has been released. The development of GeneRally 2 was originally announced in 2014, but things did not go smoothly initially. What has happened and how did you pull through to get the game ready for Steam Early Access?​

I think we learned a lot of lessons about how to announce a product when you’re just two guys with not a lot of experience, but a lot of enthusiasm. I'm not going to say that it was down to youth, but we’ve definitely got a lot wiser with age. We could probably have saved ourselves a lot of pain by being a bit more realistic in the early days, but we’re where we are now because of what we got wrong as well as what we got right.

At some point we stopped thinking about what we could possibly have at some point, and instead started focussing on taking steps, however small they were, to actually having those things.


What inspired you and the team to keep going and develop a successor after such a long time?​

On a personal level: stubbornness – and a lot of support and encouragement from my wife. Being stubborn by yourself only gets you so far, being stubborn as a team gets you a little bit further.

Working with Markku has also been one of the things that’s kept the dream alive, so to speak. I don't think we ever really talked about not doing this, and even though we had very slow progress at times, he was always ready and willing to give the next phase a go.

And from a team perspective, it was great when people around us who had skills that we needed decided they wanted to contribute to the project, too. We built a small, but capable team – and the shared passion and excitement for the progress we were making really pushed us along.


How was the resonance to the Early Access announcement? It did not look like the project was on many people's radars before.​

Well, we’d kept the news about what we were working on to ourselves for a reason. As I mentioned before, we wanted this to be about showing off something we already had not something we hoped to have in the future. However, we also knew that we were announcing this because it was something we wanted to do, not because it was something people expected or were waiting for.

And the response was so positive – we received so many positive comments and messages, and understandably, many of them came with a big dose of surprise, too!

When you’re already proud of what you have, and what you’ve achieved, and other people come along and say “hey, this looks great, I want it!” – that's an inspiring feeling.


Top-down racing games have seen a bit of a resurgence over the last few years with titles like Circuit Superstars or Art of Rally. Have you tried any of them and if so, how did you like them?​

Absolutely – on a personal level I play almost any racing game I can get my hands on. Circuit Superstars and Art of Rally are both great games – and I only wish I had more time to play them. Probably in my younger years I’d have passed over both of them, focussed as I was on “sim
experiences” - but these days it’s nice to have something you can pick up for 20 minutes in between the day-to-day life chaos, and get a dose of that racing adrenaline!

In more recent times, I’ve been getting that “fix” in our own game - but that’s nothing away from those two games.


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About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

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I like the idea of rennsport, but the car list (currently) and the gameplay that looks similar to ACC doesnt excite me....maybe a beta key would change that haha
 

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