Nope, this is not anything to do with the Gremlin Graphics game by the Core Design team (even though you’ll see, the blue logo looks startlingly like the Gremlin game’s logo) – but this is in fact a completely different game that was in development it seems in the late 80’s by Ash and Dave.
The game was to be a multi-directional scrolling car game, possibly even re-using the engine from Hot Rod. The game was canned fairly early on due to other projects taking priority. We are not sure who the game was intended for, if anyone at all – and its likely the game was to be pitched to publishers.
When preserving Ashley Routledge’s work disks, we found a small demo showing a car sprite as a test (not playable), and also an editor which shows what seems to be a full map. There are also a few logos which were made for the game. Sadly there was nothing playable, so there could be no chance of ever seeing anything that could be played.
In August 2023 at Zzap!Live, Ash and Dave revealed that they had been working on a game called Ferrari Fred, which never got very far at all. Possibly a map, and a small red car with a hi-res overlay. When going back to look at Ash’s disks, we looked at the Switchblade entry which seemed to be the closest match, and sure enough – there in the gallery is a mock up screen with the hi-res overlayed sprite and “Ferrari Fred”
Eventually, the duo came up with a new name of Switchblade, not knowing about Gremlin’s game of the same name, but as we mention above – it never got anywhere further. It looks pretty good overall, and considering how Hot Rod turned out, we’ve no doubt this could have been great.
Contributions: Ashley Routledge, Dave Saunders