An open-world racer with a mind-boggling amount of customization to play with.

wreckreation knows you want another burnout, so it'll let you build it (and thousands of other things)

Three Fields Entertainment, the studio formed in 2014 by former Burnout Paradise creative director Alex Ward and Criterion studio director Fiona Sperry, began work on Wreckreation by just trying to imagine a giant open-world racing toybox. Having seen it in action, it's clear that it shares plenty of DNA with its creators’ previous work. The team built a huge map (“The largest map Unreal Engine lets you make is 440 square kilometers. We’re a team of just seven people… so we made the map 440 square kilometers”), created some cars, and began to play around inside.

Work began 18 months ago amid COVID lockdowns and the developers decided that, instead of Zoom meetings, they’d meet up inside their own game world, allowing themselves to test the game constantly, even while they discussed its future. One day, studio head Alex Ward wondered aloud about being able to place a ramp into the world, and if other players could build on top of it. His programmer asked him to give him 24 hours.

When they returned the next day, Wreckreation had effectively been born.

Rather than an open world, think of Wreckreation’s map as a canvas. It’s a gigantic area of snaking roads, shifting biomes, and interesting off-road spots. You can’t modify what’s already there, but you have hundreds of options for what to add to it. An in-game menu lets you stop driving and place everything from loop the loops to giant soccer balls – and other players in your world can do the same, while you do.

Right now, it’s unclear how many players will be able to share an instance of the game world. Ward says the studio has only tested with eight players so far, because his team is only seven people and they’ve only invited one other person from THQ Nordic to play it with them regularly. Given the scale of the game world, the potential for many more players is vast. “We’ll see what it takes,” Ward claims. What’s most important right now is that any new players joining a game will always spawn where the most activity is happening – whether that’s building, racing, or just cruising around.

Three Fields calls this on-the-fly customization the Game DJ system, a means of creating and remixing potentially huge, permanent new elements of the map collaboratively. These aren’t just for show – you can build game modes, too. I watch as two players build an impossible extra road, which hovers out over a cliff edge, adding corners, barriers, and decorations, before adding a start point, a finishing line, and rules. Within minutes, the world has a new race event (which is reflected on the game’s map).

Naturally, for a team made up of veterans from the Burnout series, there’s a fully modeled car damage system, and you can create crash events. Traffic can be turned on in the world, and I saw the developers effectively create a classic Crash Junction – then turn all the traffic lights on each side to green, leading to an endless pile-up. Later, they reveal a whole menu of outlandish obstacles – crushers, swinging blades, automatic battering rams – and create what feels like a car-sized Fall Guys obstacle course on a leafy, empty road.

“The largest map Unreal Engine lets you make is 440 square kilometers. We’re a team of just seven people… so we made the map 440 square kilometers.”“

Customization is everywhere. You can change the HUD into entirely different themes, from sleek and modern to a literal medieval look. You can rename individual roads or points of interest. There’s a swathe of in-game radio stations, but Three Fields will let you connect Spotify Premium to provide playlisted soundtracks of your own (and it’s working on even tying individual songs to events during your own creations).

While still relatively early in development – the team’s hoping to release Wreckreation next year, but won’t commit to a new date – there’s a massive amount of potential here already. With the basics in place, Three Fields wants to add depth upon depth, allowing players to create entire ‘campaigns’ worth of events, or micromanage coded elements to the point of allowing a soccer goal to recognise that a ball’s been rammed into it. Individual creations, or even your entire world, can be shared with and remixed by other players. Ward even wants elements of the world to reflect you: if I place a petrol station, it’ll be branded ‘Joe’s Oil’; if I place two, Joe’s Oil trucks will travel between the two; if I build a whole network, a Joe’s Oil tanker will be visible in the sea. It’s head-spinningly open to interpretation.

Ward has a bold philosophy – “The age of the developer is dead.” What he means is that Wreckreation is a gigantic toybox for players to create their own games. Three Fields will provide the tools, and a number of pre-made examples to show what can be done, but the onus will be on the community to make more, share more, and experiment more. Some may be turned off by the overwhelming feeling of a blank canvas, ready to be filled – but I imagine many, many more will be thrilled to find that an entire open world can be made into a personalized playground.

Joe Skrebels is IGN's Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

GAME'S NEWS RELATED

When is the release date of Sifu’s Summer Update?

Image via Sloclap Earlier this year, Slowcap’s Sifu took the world by storm, selling over one million copies in its first three weeks on the market. Close to launch, the team revealed that the game would get several free content updates over the course of the year. In the ...

View more: When is the release date of Sifu’s Summer Update?

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty gameplay trailer shows fast-paced, high-flying action

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a slow burning title that’s slowly heating up and bringing the hype to fans of third person action titles. One of next year’s most dynamic and aggressive titles has just gotten a new gameplay trailer, giving us a brief glimpse of what we have to ...

View more: Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty gameplay trailer shows fast-paced, high-flying action

New Minecraft Legends Trailer Gives A First Look At Fiery Foes

Gungrave GORE - Release Date Trailer - IGN

A series making its return after many years, Gungrave GORE promises bloody mayhem, a killer team, and a fall release date in this new Gamescom trailer. A mix of CG and gameplay gives it a good taste of the carnage to come. This new Gungrave game will launch on ...

View more: Gungrave GORE - Release Date Trailer - IGN

Heavy Metal's first YA story Starward concludes with an all-out celestial brawl

This is not your grandfather's Heavy Metal

View more: Heavy Metal's first YA story Starward concludes with an all-out celestial brawl

Nexa and flameZ help OG upset FaZe in BLAST Premier Fall Groups

Photo via PGL OG beat FaZe Clan 2-1 today in the knockout stage of the BLAST Premier Fall Groups, which is their best result since adding Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar, Maciej “F1KU” Miklas, and Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov halfway through 2022. The victory allows OG to move further in the CS:GO ...

View more: Nexa and flameZ help OG upset FaZe in BLAST Premier Fall Groups

Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed Review

In the first Destroy All Humans!, Crypto evidently didn’t manage to successfully carry out his objective to destroy all of the humans – as per the title’s remit – necessitating the existence of a 2006 sequel, which forms the basis for this remake, playfully titled Destroy All Humans! 2 – ...

View more: Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed Review

Hearthstone Patch 24.2: Full notes and updates

Battlegrounds. Battlegrounds everywhere Miscellaneous Mercs, Brawliseum, and more Image via Blizzard Entertainment The latest update to Blizzard’s popular card game is bringing along the new separate seasonal pass for Battlegrounds and Runestones, Hearthstone’s new virtual currency. Heroic Brawliseum is also making a return, plus in-game reporting is finally being ...

View more: Hearthstone Patch 24.2: Full notes and updates

Metal Gear and Silent Hill fans hope Konami's announcement could revive classic games

Age of Darkness: Final Stand - Edwin Hero Spotlight - IGN

Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed Video Review - IGN

The First 13 Minutes of Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed PS5 Gameplay - IGN

Destroy All Humans 2 - Reprobed

Team Liquid officially exits PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds eSports

‘The Ghost Lights’ VOD Review

Official PC system requirements for Hogwarts Legacy

Review Destroy all Humans! 2 – Reprobed

Aliens: Dark Descent is more than an XCOM clone - and feels surprisingly true to the movies

Destiny 2's New Craftable Taipan-4FR Linear Fusion Rifle Is A Must-Have, Here's How To Get It

Volunteer As A Subject In THE OUTLAST TRIALS Closed Beta

OTHER GAME NEWS