CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - Those with aspirations to race in NASCAR may now never need to leave their living room. A Charlotte based company is taking NASCAR gaming to the next level. FOX 46 Charlotte was given a behind the scenes look at how NASCAR Heat is made.
High atop the NASCAR tower in Uptown, one of the most popular NASCAR games is being created. This is the first time since NASCAR games were released in 1994 that the latest racing experience for XBOX, PS4 and PC is being created in the Queen City.
"It's incredible being in this building because the people we need to deal with from NASCAR are 2 floors above where I am sitting at," said President of 704 Games, Ed Martin.
The close quarters to NASCAR executives and teams makes producing the newest NASCAR game a little easier. 704 Games often works directly with teams, ensuring no detail is left out when designing cars or tracks.
"The NASCAR fan. They understand the details, this car should have that decal and so on. If a tree is out of place at Charlotte Motor Speedway we will hear about that from fans," said CEO of 704 Games, Paul Brooks.
Once NASCAR Heat hits store shelves, work is far from over. Changes are constant in NASCAR, from new sponsors, logo changes and track repaves. A team of about 16 people always keep their eye out for new details.
"Charlotte Motor Speedway right now is going through some serious renovations. The walls will no longer be yellow, they will be green because Monster Energy is now the series sponsor. We have to make sure that is right," said Martin. "They have torn down some grandstands, they now have a new party dark. We have to build that. We have to build it in our game sometimes before it exists in the real world," Martin said.
The NASCAR Heat brand may sound familiar to avid gamers. It first appeared on the scene in 1999. Since then 704 Games has taken over, building a whole new experience. Last year it was the first console game to allow 40 players to race online at once.
A far cry from the humble beginnings of NASCAR gaming in the 90s.
"The cars could never leave the ground. There was no such thing as 3D physics. Car parts couldn't come off. Just things we take forgranted today," said Martin.
Although the team at 704 Games is always testing out their newest work, some of the youngest fans of the game still offer input, including CEO Paul Brooks own son.
"They actually teach me a lot about gaming and what we should be doing, or what we are not doing that other games are doing," said Brooks.
704 Games will be release NASCAR Heat 2 this fall, but if you don't have a PS4 or XBOX you can still play the game. There is also a mobile version of NASCAR Heat that can be downloaded in the app store.