The KartRider Development Team is looking to make a big slide into new audiences next year with the release of KartRider: Drift. This will be the first time the massively successful KartRider will be released outside of the east and into western audiences. 

However, this isn’t the first time Nexon has attempted to bring KartRider to western audiences. Back in 2007, the original KartRider received a beta in America but it never went anywhere after that short test period. The KartRider Development Team stated that this was because of the game underperforming. 

“Nexon has a very high standard for our games. The reason you invite players to a beta period is to see how a game performs. In our previous attempts at bringing KartRider to the West, our feeling was that the game underperformed, which led us back to the drawing board in order to ensure that we built an experience that was befitting a successful franchise.”

The original game will be 16-years old in South Korea in 2020. After such a long period and nearly 10 years since the last attempt to bring the game to western audiences, it was interesting to see the team announce KartRider: Drift during Xbox’s X019 event. But the KartRider Development Team at Nexon believes that all around the world people will enjoy the new version of KartRider for its competitive elements and customization. And I did enjoy the beta! I spent some time with it late in 2019 and ended up enjoying it quite a bit thanks to the fast gameplay and tight driting mechanics. 

When I asked the team about the customization, which will be a huge part of the free-to-play game they said it’ll contain nearly endless customization:

“We want players to be able to express their own unique personality with the freedom of customizing not only their karts but their racers as well. There will be additional tools introduced down the pipeline that we hope players enjoy.” 

During my time with the beta, I very much felt like ‘Speed Mode’ was where you went to prove your chops as the Domonic Toretto of KartRider. It’s a no-item mode all about drifting and keeping your boost going. However, there are several modes in the game as the team explained to me and well as an easier way in for fans of games like Mario Kart.

“There will be Speed Mode, Time Trial Mode, and Item Mode. Speed Mode is a highly competitive mode within the game that prepares players for the art and skill of drifting, the game’s main draw. Item Mode is perfect for new players looking to familiarize themselves with the controls and how the game works. While Time Trial mode will help players improve their drifting techniques as they try to beat out their time.”

Of course, as a free-to-play game I did ask about what kind of paid content will be available and if there would be any loot boxes or equivalent: 

“At the moment, we’ve got a wide breadth of content lined up, including constantly evolving seasonal updates. More will be announced in the future.”

Thanks to the KartRider: Drift Development team for answering my questions over e-mail for this article.

KartRider: Drift will release for PC and Xbox One in 2020.