KartKraft has been around in various guises for a few years now, having undergone a transformation from the early KartSim title to its new home on Unreal Engine 4, receiving a change of name and quite a bit of anticipation since it received Steam Green Light approval back in 2014 - but where on earth has it gone? When we spoke with Black Delta CEO Zach Griffin back in March things were in full swing at the studio with a closed beta programme starting up and Early Access release just around the corner. Following the closed beta testing period the proposed Early Access date received a knock back, with the studio claiming they needed time to 'iron out' some details with the game. Sadly after that a period of radio silence followed, to much criticism from fans and media (not least of which was myself), as the sim kind of disappeared into a black hole as far as gamers were concerned. Popping up on FaceBook in early June, the studio acknowledged via a statement to fans that communication had been poor up to that point , with promises to do better in future. To help ease the wait and prove that the game was indeed in full swing behind the scenes, Black Delta released a big batch of admittedly impressive in game shots from the closed beta testing, again highlighting the highly impressive visuals of a title that promised to be a most visually impressive next generation kart racing simulation. That was in late June 2016 - since then... nothing. Worried? I am. So why the big deal? Well perhaps a little background will help those of you who haven't closely followed this game in recent years... KartKraft / KartSim has been around for years. Literally years. First announced back in 2007, the title promised a great deal but has been hamstrung somewhat by a severe lack of any kind of dialogue from the studio with us expectant fans. Coupled to a serial habit of missing deadlines as development progresses throughout the life of the game, things have been a bit ropey for a while. Since the 2007 announcement the game just hasn't seemed to gather traction behind the scenes as one would have expected. The original KartSim title spent its early life on the Ogre engine, until Black Delta moved over to Unity during 2011/12. Further work behind the scenes and a few little previews here and there later, the game was rebadged as KartKraft and found its way to the Unreal 4 Engine. Zach Griffin explains: "Until 2010/2011, the only suitable middleware that existed was a rendering engine called Ogre that handled the graphical side of things. That was great, but when you were making a game back then, most of the time was spent creating a game engine with all the capabilities that we required. Not only was it the rendering library; I had to create the physics engine from scratch, alongside integrating the input, networking and all of the other sub systems that make up an engine. It was at that time that I moved to using Unity that just been released, and had matured enough to start using. I wrote the prototype using Unity, essentially re-writing the game back in 2011/2012. I spent 12 months buried deep in code, all while developing the art, audio alongside the main game. The prototype was completed 2012, having spent considerable time writing the physics specifically for karting." Now please don't get me wrong, I'm just as excited as the next person about this game. I'm just so frustrated to see a potentially excellent addition to the sim racing family receiving such rough treatment from those responsible for its development. Kart racing is an extremely competitive form of motorsport right at the grass routes of the racing ladder, and as such holds a special place in many race fans hearts. Personally I think a solid, attractive and realistic mainstream simulation of the sport could very much prove to be a popular title and achieve some level of commercial success, it's just that a lot of the good will that this game has won is getting slowly squandered as the team behind the scenes continue to neglect their most valuable commodity... the fans. After out chat with Zach and Co. back in March I was impressed. The guys were really enjoyable to speak with and Zach's love of the sport came through loud and clear. At the time they seemed very much like they understood what they wanted from the game and how they were going to get there. To be perfectly frank, I'd even go so far as to say they gave me the impression they just might represent a breath of fresh air into the sim racing genre that can only be good news for us sim racing fans. I hope, I really genuinely hope that Black Delta can sort out KartKraft and release a game that meets the potential we all hope it will. The signs don't exactly point to a positive end result at the moment, but I nevertheless remain optimistic for an eventual release next year. Hopefully. KartKraft is a next generation karting simulation intended for Windows PC. The title is currently in closed beta state and a release date has yet to be announced. Check out our KartKraft forum here on RaceDepartment for news and discussions around this highly anticipated karting simulator. Read up on our exclusive interview with Black Delta's Zach Griffin and check out the latest previews. Are you looking forward to KartKraft? Is this the kind of game would you consider purchasing? Do you think the game will see light of day in 2017? Let us know in the comments section below!