Star Wars Episode I: Racer has gotten a fresh coat of podracer paint thanks to the work of a modder named Rob Jin. Jin created a new version of the game in Unreal Engine 4, releasing a demo and a trailer to accompany the game’s development.
Star Wars Episode I: Racer is a legendary cult classic, the kind of game that was so unexpectedly brilliant fans continue to talk about it two decades later as one of the best surprises to ever emerge from the Star Wars video game license. The game is completely built around the concept of podracing, and it was a remarkable adaptation of what was, at the time, one of the most exciting elements of an otherwise mundane Phantom Menace film release. The Star Wars license has since become one of the most maligned elements of the game industry, with many accusing it of being mishandled for years now without an end in sight.
Luckily, Star Wars Racer, the mod created by Rob Jin, is a heavy dose of nostalgia and fun and a reminder that it doesn’t take much to make a great Star Wars game. The demo that has been released is very short, but it’s also an impressive remake that gets even the smaller details of its inspiration absolutely right. There’s an accompanying trailer video for the demo’s release, too, which helps show off just how much work has gone into recreating believable and exhilarating podracing once more:
The modder originally began the project in an effort to get the hang of Unreal Engine 4, but now, ten months later, it has clearly evolved into something much larger than that. Jin has warned would-be downloaders that the demo still contains optimization and animation issues, so expectations should be tempered accordingly. The demo also only features one map at this time, Mos Espa on Tatooine, and one character, Anakin Skywalker. If Star Wars fans still aren’t convinced by the trailer and details, there are also YouTube videos popping up that display what players can expect out of the demo should they choose to grab it:
While Star Wars fan projects typically have a longer than usual shelf life for unofficial uses of large licenses, Star Wars Racer might not have that luxury. It’s a very clear remake of an already existing game, which separates it from the usual original fan mods or additions, and Disney is notoriously overprotective of its properties. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Star Wars Racer get taken down in the near future, so if players are interested, they’re better served downloading it as soon as possible rather than hoping for a full release later down the road.
For now, though, enjoy a blistering trip down the sands of a Tatooine-based memory lane. The Star Wars podracing game is one of the best uses of the license ever, and any excuse to dive back in, even for a few minutes, is well worth it.
Source: Rob Jin
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