For years, the Wipeout series set the standard for futuristic racing games. Unfortunately, Sony shut down developer Designer Republic, and Wipeout disappeared.

This year, Formula Fusion is set to carry on the mantle on Xbox One and Steam. Are you ready for the fastest racing the future has to offer?

Formula Fusion is currently on Steam Early Access and coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. We spent some time with the current PC build to bring you this detailed preview.

See Formula Fusion on Steam

A time to rebuild… and race

Formula Fusion Steam Early Access

Before you can race in Formula Fusion, you'll need to join a team. The game will offer ten teams to join, each with its own unique backstory and members from varying countries. In the dystopian world of 2075, national borders have shifted a bit, so you might find your country's flag looks different than in the present.

The reason for this shift in the balance of power is grim: some time from now, the world suffers a nuclear war, which left most of its surface uninhabitable. Thankfully, widespread redevelopment has restored much of what was lost, albeit in altered form. And with the passage of time, new technology has enabled different forms of racing as well.

Formula Fusion Steam Early Access

Hopefully, the thought put into the setting and teams will be present in the game's campaign as well.

Players will be able to equip and customize numerous parts of their hovercraft, which will presumably aid progression in the final campaign. The game will offer five classes of vehicles as well, culminating in the experimental class that travels faster than the speed of sound. The Wipeout series was famed for its ridiculously high speeds, something this game aims to achieve as well.

Antigrav racing

Formula Fusion Steam Early Access

In Formula Fusion's world, racetracks are filled with magnetic superconductors that cause the vehicles to float above the track surface. This effect, Quantum Levitation, allows each hovercraft to fly across the track at amazing speeds without coming into contact with the ground.

The current build consists of five tracks, but the final game will launch with eight in total. These include Midtown, Niagara, Atlas Torrest, Manhatta, and Atol. Each can be raced backward as well.

Formula Fusion Steam Early Access

The tracks feature a diversity of futuristic environments, from run-down, abandoned cities to sparkly megalopolises. They take advantage of the hovercraft's antigravity technology, with plenty of jumps, corkscrews, and other elements that would be impossible in a more realistic racing game. They'll also have booster pads, weapon refills, and pit stops manned by robotic pit crews.

Races against the AI consist of ten competitors on the track. Formula Fusion will support online multiplayer as well, hopefully with as many players. I also strongly hope that developer R8 Games includes a well-thought-out progression mechanic for multiplayer, which is too often lacking in other games. Seeing as how the Steam version is currently in Early Access, the online mode is a ghost town.

Room to grow

Formula Fusion Steam Early Access

Speaking of Early Access, Formula Fusion still has quite a ways to go before it launches as a full game on Xbox One, Steam, and other platforms. Right at the moment, it's missing more than just the final three tracks. The campaign isn't playable at all yet, presumably because the developers want to save it for the final release. Trying out the current tracks (or competing against others online, if you can find anybody) is cool, but the long-term replay value isn't quite there.

More frustratingly, the Steam version's controls when using an Xbox controller aren't up to snuff. You can customize the functions of some buttons but not others, suggesting that controller support is simply incomplete. For a product that is already being sold on Steam Early Access, R8 Games should probably stop and take the time to perfect controller support before adding more features.

Formula Fusion Steam Early Access

Still, the game already looks and sounds great. The tracks have fantastic visual design and graphics details, with lots of billboards and liveries suggesting a living, breathing world not so far from our own. The visual effects like the light trails the hovercraft emit all contribute to the sense of extreme speed that fans loved in Wipeout. And each track features suitably thumping techno or dubstep music, to boot.

Taking the formula to the next level

Formula Fusion Steam Early Access

Formula Fusion is on-track to become the Wipeout-successor it aspires to be. The look, sound, and worldbuilding are all there. R8 Games just needs to crack away at the controls and campaign – crucial elements of any serious racing game.

The game is set to launch on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam sometime late in the year. If you can't wait till then, the Steam Early Access version already sells for $19.99. Let's hope Formula Fusion doesn't wipe out before it reaches the finish line.

See Formula Fusion on Steam

Steam preview code provided by the publisher.