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Bloodborne Kart Returns Without The Bloodborne, Releases Soon

Image: Lilith Walther
Image: Lilith Walther

After a brief pit stop to repair the tires Sony’s lawyers popped, the PS1-style racer Bloodborne Kart has returned with a new name and release date. While all the direct references to FromSoftware’s 2015 action RPG have been removed, the game still carries that essence through and through, proving that you can take “Bloodborne” out of the game’s name, while still leaving the distinct flavor of it in the game itself.

Indie developer Lilith Walther tweeted on April 2 that Bloodborne Kart is now Nightmare Kart. It’ll launch on May 31 for free on Itch.io and Steam with 20 racers, 16 maps, a full campaign mode with boss fights, and a versus battle mode. The tweet includes a video featuring what was previously the game’s hunter, and he’s still serving the trademark Bloodborne hunter look but with some subtle differences, like bandages in place of the Hunter Set’s scarf. “[It’s] legally distinct,” Walther said.

Nightmare Kart started as an April Fools’ Day joke in 2021 before blossoming into a full-fledged project in 2022. Then called Bloodborne Kart, the PS1-esque kart racer combined the aesthetic of FromSoft’s Gothic Souls game with the design sensibilities of something like Mario Kart to create a unique experience. Sure, it looked like Bloodborne in appearance, but it wasn’t Bloodborne in mechanics. That didn’t matter to Sony, though, who contacted Walther in January to demand that she “remove the branding and change the characters,” she told Kotaku over X/Twitter DMs. Though a bummer, this demand was both expected and presented Walther with “full creative control” over what is now known as Nightmare Kart. Still, she told Kotaku that scrubbing Bloodborne from the game was no easy feat.

“The game was effectively finished when I got the email, and, as any game developer who has shipped a game before [knows], the code base is very fragile, so diving in and making changes is risky,” Walther said. “What I ended up doing is layering the new changes on top of the existing game, almost like how a mod would do it.”

Image: Lilith Walther
Image: Lilith Walther

Walther said that fear of a full cease-and-desist letter from Sony was “always present” while working on Nightmare Kart. However, she explained that the company letting her release the game, even in its newly altered state, was “honestly unprecedented.” She added that she’d love to release a “full complete version” at some point, one that includes the usual features of modern racing games like online play, additional tracks and racers, and more modes, but only if “this initial release gets enough traction to warrant that.” As for the name?

“I got countless suggestions for new titles for this game,” Walther told Kotaku. “I think my personal favorite was ‘Bleed for Speed,’ but I wanted something that had the same flow to the original name (three syllables, ending in ‘kart,’ etcetera), so it would be recognisable as ‘that game that used to be Bloodborne Kart.’”

Walther’s posts about the game tend to generate a lot of engagement online already. Maybe now, though, being “that game that used to be Bloodborne Kart” will make Nightmare Kart even more popular than it already was. No matter what, she’s grateful for all the support from fans, and from the developers who helped her on the project.

“I have to give a shoutout to the composer, Evelyn Lark, who was willing to remake the entire OST for this game, and to Mino—he requests to remain anonymous—for designing the new logo and character in a single evening,” Walther said. “Nightmare Kart would not be possible without such enthusiastic support from them and the rest of the team (like Wes Wiggins, who is doing VO work for multiple characters!).”

This is probably about all the Bloodborne-related news we’re going to get for a while. Game director Hidetaka Miyazaki is happy we’re all simps for the game, but also asks us to remember that the future of the franchise isn’t up to FromSoft. Sony owns the IP, so if you want more Bloodborne, holla at Sony.


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