The Bus sits at the opposite end of the spectrum from Forza Horizon 4 (which arrived on Steam today) but the road to my heart has lanes for both giddy arcade racing and bus simulators.
This particular bus simulator has ambitions, too. The Bus is aiming to offer 1:1 recreation of Berlin, an economy system akin to Euro Truck Simulator, modding tools, and multiplayer.
The catch is that The Bus’s developers, TML Studios, say the game will launch into early access on March 25th with many of those above features absent. They’re planning for early access to last 8-16 months.
In any case, it’s the core of The Bus’s simulation that will make or break it for me. Which feels like a strange sentence to write. I hope, by now, that Euro Truck Simulator has proven that smooth driving within speed limits is satisfying and relaxing, but that only works if the game is able to evoke a sense of place. I need the vehicle to feel heavy as I lurch around bends, metal to creak and rattle just-so, and headlights of passing cars to smear on my rainsoaked windscreen. If it can do those things, I can wait for more routes and things like online features.
The greatest bus simulator of all time got all of those details right, and was even set in Berlin. OMSI 2 was gloriously specific, in that it’s not just a bus simulator, but a simulator of a particular kind of bus driving around 1980’s Spandau. It’s more immersive than most VR games I’ve played.
The Bus isn’t by the same developers as OMSI, though they have the same publisher, and I’m just curious at the opportunity to head back to Berlin in the modern day. You can wishlist The Bus, and find more details of its early access plans, over on Steam.