It’s A Race To The Future

By Jim Rossignol on October 20th, 2011 at 12:29 pm.


Where can racing games go? How can they push boundaries and the same time provide us with the speed and competition we crave? The genre is already offering some clues about what it might be able to do, aside from improving graphics, realism, or going online, or doing anything else purely technical. The future of racing games is going to depend on designers doing interesting things, and fortunately for us some studios are doing just that.

Let’s take a look…

Here are some of the trends and the games that are the best instances of them. Certainly not an exhaustive list, but it’s a taste of where we might go in the future. A combine them all at the end to create a game that can never exist, but should.

WE’VE GOT YOUR RPG ELEMENTS, RIGHT HERE

There isn’t really a racing game around that doesn’t offer some elements of stat fiddling and progression for your character over time. Blur was a good example of directly lifting XP systems from RPGs, with you earning fans to unlock your new abilities and cars.

Codemasters’ games since GRID have arguably benefited from this sort of approach, too, with their attempting to introducing NPC characters in the other drivers, to give you a sense of building up your own racing driver, unlocking new “abilities” in the form of new vehicles, as well as underwriting the whole thing with a story of your quest to become a master driver.

Of course the “tinkering” that we love in RPGs, where we set up our characters stats and equipment, is already available to most racing games, because the car itself lends itself to endless tweakery, and the games that allow us to do that are widespread, but there are plenty of other layers that racing games can steal from our multifarious RPG heritage.

What I haven’t seen, or at least I am not aware of in racing game so far, is pushing the plot thing a bit further, and perhaps allowing you to talk with managers, other drivers, and so on. Choose whether to be the “bad” driver, or the noble, honest guy. Perhaps we could get the Dragon Age equivalent of a racing team from Codemasters one day, where you take a whole team of drivers on tour, dealing with their sidequests and dramas as you go. All of which needs racing games to try and tell stories…


STORY AND HYBRID ACTION

I have to admit I’m fairly intrigued by Need For Speed: The Run, because it’s attempting to do something with a racing game that we’ve not seen before. While we’ve had story in games for a while, this one is blending character action with racing, and in a manner closer to linear third-person action than we’ve seen before. While we’ve seen a bunch of hybrid vehicular approaches now, from the GTA games to Rage, The Run is an attempt to keep racing at the forefront of the action, and scaffold the story with some on-foot action sequences.

Of course it’s the choices the team make that will decide whether this approach works. This Gamasutra interview threw up a bunch of detail about what the team are having to do to create a game that is about racing across North America by using DICE’s Frostbite engine:

“We have over 300 kilometers of track in the game, which is more than three times you’ve seen in any previous Need For Speed. Because we can just iterate so quickly on the content and get to quality very quickly and make those drives incredibly fun very quickly, it allowed us to just provide this epic race across the country, but in a believable way.”

I love the idea of racing games doing what the big linear shooters are doing, and creating these huge explosive, scripted narrative arcs that can compete in the “blockbuster” arena of selling us cinematic stories. I’m a bit jaded with the “triple-AAA” circus generally, but I think attacking this topics from other angles, such as racing, is exactly the strength that games have.

Of course what happens in mainstream dev often ends up delivering tools to everyone else later on. And that’s where the PC’s other strengths might come to play in the future of racing games…

MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN GAME

There’s no Minecraft of racing games, yet, but we do have Trackmania and, now, Trackmania 2. Allowing people to make their own racing games is the frontier of racing that the PC has really made its own. I don’t expect this to ever really change the world, because I think the appeal of endless fiddling to make racing tracks work is fairly limited. But there’s no denying how powerful it can be in the right hands, or how sticky it is for the communities that get involved in it. The Trackmania community is not only large, but enormously committed, and I think that’s because the reward of making stuff for yourself and giving it to others always outweighs the satisfaction of simply goofing off with a game on your own.

This is the area of all games, not just racing games, that remains under-explored, and has some of the richest potential. The scope for player-driven creation of racing games is huge, and might just be beginning to be tapped, if people like Slightly Mad Studios are to be believed.

Perhaps if we really had the tools, we could make something truly different…


NO SUCH THING AS TRACKS OR CIRCUITS, JUST THE OPEN ROAD

Hey, its me writing this. There’s not going to be a way around mentioning my eight-hour drive around FUEL. While it was, as a racing game, pretty poor, FUEL offered a startling vision of something more substantial: driving in gigantic open areas. FUEL was the size of Wales, and you could drive all day if you wanted to. Even with no goal or destination, the game is a fascinating experience. It’s my hope that another studio will see the value of this, and give us another truly giant racing world to play in.

I know that the response to open-world racing games such as FUEL, or even Burnout Paradise, has been mixed. But I think that’s just because they simply weren’t the very best racing games in terms of actual racing. What can’t be lost sight of in the future of racing games is how important the very basic elements of racing are: a sense of speed, and a genuine competition with other drivers, be they AI or human. That always has to be at the heart of this thing, with everything else resting on it. Perhaps, however, if someone manages to do a FUEL2, we’ll be able to combine genuinely satisfying racing with an interesting, wide-open environment. That would make me quite happy, indeed.

THE FUTURE OF RACING GAMES IS THIS

The future of racing games is, therefore, a non-linear race across an entire planet, with some scripted on-foot action sequences, which tell the story of a heart-breaking existential romance between a car and its driver, produced with user-generated terrain, where you manage a party full of racing experts, a team assembled via careful negotiation, some of whom are aliens you can have sex with in your trailer. I call this game NEED FOR THE SKID-MARKED ONE: THE ULTIMATE ORIGIN OF RACECRAFT, or perhaps we might throw in enemy Nazi drivers and call it THE MASTER RACE. Either way it will be out Q1 2017. I can’t wait.

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62 Comments »

  1. Lewie Procter says:

    Here’s your minecraft of racing:
    http://youtu.be/M5UJ2GHhA40
    (Not really)

  2. Optimaximal says:

    Well that trailer for The Run made it seem a lot more interesting than the initial stuff did. I’ll have to keep an eye on it now…

    Dammit Jim!

  3. McDan says:

    Unless this game has muscle cars I’m out, apart from that it sounds excellent. About the whole racing thing then, I’m in two mids about it. Sometimes I just want to race or drive without the need for stories or anything else other than the race/race modes like burnout revenge (still my favourite) and fuel (love it for the free roam). but then other times I want to feel like there’s a reason for me racing, other than to win, which might be an itch scratched by this new need for speed. Mhm, cars are fun to watch go fast essentially.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Well, that’s a Shelby Daytona in the trailer; I’d class that as a racing muscle car. I saw a Dodge Challenger in another trailer, just briefly, but it was there. There’s a new Camaro too, but personally I don’t count any of the new crop of retconmobiles as muscle cars at all.

      Edit: saw a 1969 (?) Mustang 302 Boss in another one, and a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am if you count that. Has at least one modern Shelby Mustang too.

      I do appreciate NFS including muscle cars, but it drives me mad that they don’t seperate classes; If I want to drive a GT500 or a Challenger, the game persists in giving me Veyrons and SLRs and Murcielagos as opponents; you just wouldn’t race them together. Rather misses the point of having loads of cars if only a few are actually practical.

  4. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I still need to figure out how to program a thing, so I can make my procedurally-generated infinite track rally game, Procedu-Rally. That, my friends, is the future.

    I think Walker’s rule #1 basically commits me to the project.

    • Avenger says:

      You should write an “AI Race director” that will modify the road ahead based on how shitty you play

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I like this name and this idea; I’ve been lusting after this myself, largely fuelled by reading Gunsmith Cats. A brief precis of my vision of The Ideal Racing Game:

      - Cars in 4 classes: Hot Hatch, Muscle, Rally, European Classics
      - Each class has its own proceedurally generated race environment: Hot hatch = urban, Muscle = US Interstate, Rally = rural/scrubland, European Classics = European Autobahn
      - levels are recorded after generation and can be saved
      - 5 kinds of race: Point-to-point racing for 2 to 20 cars, duels for the opponent’s car, outruns where the winner is the first to get 1Km ahead of the opponent in second, a solo time attack mode and a sort of tag game over a set distance or time, with the winner being the one carrying the McGuffin at the end.
      - variable time of day, weather and traffic levels

      I feel proceedural generation is the only way a racing game can go to avoid getting boring. In fact, I feel it’s about the only way all multiplayer can go to avoid getting boring, but I see racing games as most readily applicable to proceedural tracks.

  5. asshibbitty says:

    All of that sounds pretty much like the present and a little bit like the past.The future of racing games is tighter integration between SP and MP.

  6. N'Al says:

    Needs more guns.

  7. Llewyn says:

    I can’t help thinking that games like The Run are more focused on how to sell racing games to people who don’t really like racing games. Judging by the comments I’ve read on pretty much every site where I’ve seen it discussed, it seems to be pretty effective too.

    • Phinor says:

      That’s actually becoming a huge problem for “proper” racing game fans. Today very few racing games are targeted at us which is a nice way of saying modern racing games are mostly crap. There are few decent attempts to make actual racing games but mostly it’s just games that fail to beat 5-10 year old games. For example the only rally game worth mentioning today is still Richard Burns Rally (aka. RBR) which was released 7 years ago (ok, Rally Trophy is the more arcade companion to RBR, but it was released 10 years ago). Since that, there has been zero rally games that have even approached the genius of RBR even though we have ten, twenty times the computing power and resources. Developers can’t be bothered to even try because their target audience is no longer racing fans, it’s the mass market who don’t really love driving games but will hand out their $50 if the game is developed specifically for them regardless of genre.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      Very few ‘big budget’ titles are targeted at us, but I’m not sure we need it. iRacing, LFS, netKar Pro and their ilk all do a very decent job of covering our needs – and mods (especially for rFactor but not forgetting GPL) do provide an awful lot of top-notch content. We don’t need stories or RPG elements. Given the race sims need for good opponents we barely need AI. Really, we just need cars and tracks, and I think we’ve got ‘em.

      That’s not to say I wouldn’t want somebody to get a 100 person dev team behind GPL 2, of course, but I don’t think race sim fans have any cause to fret.

      Regarding rally sims, though, there’s a good reason why RBR’s the only proper one we’ve got – obviously as far as the player goes the biggest thing missing in a sim (as compared to driving a real car) is the lack of 3D vision, which you of course use to gauge the shape of a corner as it comes up. In circuit racing it’s not the end of the world ‘cos you do a few laps and create a mental picture that allows you to position yourself on the track just as well. In a rally game you have to be able to negotiate the corner effectively the first time you encounter it which, if you’re making a computer car that handles like a real rally car, is pretty damn hard when you don’t have depth perception to tell you exactly where the corner goes. I think it’s that issue, rather than a lack of interest, that accounts for a dearth of rally sims.

  8. neolith says:

    Oooooooh… alien sex.

  9. CaspianRoach says:

    Cinematic stories you say? Have you tried Driver: San Francisco? It’s pretty awesome and cinematic.

  10. felisc says:

    And also a développer working on a well crafted in game soundtrack. I’m sure we could get much more than “rock/electro track #3″. Music that would make sense according to your driving, if this means anything. Or maybe i just want to go back to the movies and watch Drive again.

  11. The Tupper says:

    I’m feeling major love for Driver: San Francisco at the moment.

    Most new fun I’ve had all year.

  12. Rao Dao Zao says:

    More genres need RPG elements, full stop. I always imagined Unreal Tournament with actual characters, so you could have annoying managers and team-mate bust-ups and their-eyes-met-across-a-crowded-deathmatch inter-team romance sub-plots as you climb to the top of the ladder.

    *dreamy sigh*

  13. ulix says:

    I played the The Run demo yesterday on my PS3. And I have to honestly say: it looked awful, the graphics are complete shit.

    Especially if you compare them with the visuals of the last NfS (Hot Pursuit), although I might only think so because I played that on my specced out PC. But I don’t think so. It really looked awful.

    • bill says:

      how is the game though?

    • xGryfter says:

      “How is the game though?”

      It seems okay for something more ridiculous than your average Michael Bay film. The driving is 100% arcade, they could replace the cars super rocket sleds and they wouldn’t need to change a thing making the type of car you choose pretty pointless outside of generic stats. If you don’t like car driving games you may like this but if you want a game that actually makes you feel like you’re driving a real car then this may not be the game for you.

      I know it’s a video game which requires big over the top action and crazy set pieces but there were a couple times I rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness of it. I’m incredibly good at suspending my disbelief so I can enjoy these crazy works of fiction (I actually enjoy Michael Bay’s movies) but something about this games tracks doesn’t blend well with the character drama, they almost feel like two different worlds.

      If you enjoy crazy arcade racing through ridiculous set pieces and a summer action movie narrative you’ll probably really enjoy this game.

      As far as the graphics go? They are passable, pretty much exactly what you’d expect from your higher quality but still massed produced assembly line style video game. Of course you’ll be moving too fast to see the finer details anyway… This is the type of game that id’s IDTech 5 engine (RAGE) would be perfect for. fast moving, super pretty and you don’t have time to look directly at anything except the skybox, the hood of your car and the road ahead.

      At this point I think I’ll be sticking with Forza 4 on my consoletoy.

    • ulix says:

      Game itself was aight, I suppose. Kind of fun. Obviously very arcady.

      I was just genuinely shocked by the horrible visuals (and non-existant art-design), especially when compared to the last Need for Speed game.

      Thats also why I’d strongly contend this here:
      “They are passable, pretty much exactly what you’d expect from your higher quality but still massed produced assembly line style video game.”

      I’ve not played a “mass-produced, assembly-line style” racing game with graphics this bad in… maybe 4 or 5 years.

      Might be better on PC, I don’t think so. As I said, the art-design is abysmal and bland. Could as well be driving through the landscapes made for a flight-simulation game.

  14. bill says:

    All sound like good ideas, but i’m not sure racing games really need to evolve – it’s a race.
    Marathons don’t need to evolve, or high jumping. It is what it is.

    Anyway, what we need is another Interstate 76. A good sequel.

  15. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    The future of racing games is bringing back WipeOut to my PC. >:(

  16. Snargelfargen says:

    I would love a racing game that gives me a compelling reason not to restart a race if I lose. I’m not sure how it would do this, although I remember GRID giving me sponsor goals to beat another sponsor’s cars, or to make a certain time. That was definitely a step in the right direction.

    Also RPG elements can be applied to cars too! I remember becoming ridiculously attached to a lowly Integra I bought in Forza 2. Through careful modding and tuning (pus a wicked paintjob) I was able to use it throughout my entire career, beating quite a few A-series races against Ferraris and Lambos. I wish that series came to PC. The only similiar simulations I’ve found focus on F1 cars and the like. Its hard to feel like your typical rpg underdog when your starting car cost s more than your house.

  17. Radiant says:

    What devs need to do is realise arcade racing is not crashing.

    Why they make an entire game based around failing drives me round the bend.

    Burnout 2 = AWESOME
    Ridge Racer PSP = AWESOME

    The balance was struck perfectly with Split Second, I love that game.

    Also someone [hint hint] needs to do an indepth look at GTR2 and it’s various mods and ends [using real car telemetry, actual tracks etc.]
    I have a couple of car nut friends who love that bloody game but it scares the holy jesus out of me.
    GTR2 I would say is your minecraft of racing games.

    • Khann says:

      For us racing sim enthusiasts, GTR2 is not really a highly regarded product in terms of… simmy-ness.

      For tyre model, it’s hard to go past the unbelievable feeling you get from LFS. The damage and dirt physics leave a bit to be desired, as do the graphics and sound (though they’re by no means horribly offensive). I hope Scawen can get his physics update out some time in the next decade, as not only should they feel amazing, but it will finally free up some time for him to start working on other lacking areas.

      While I personally think the FFB is absolutely awful (even with plugins), there are some truly amazing mods for rFactor. The sheer amount of quality the community have put out for that game is fantastic. It can be a little hard to sift through sometimes. Looking forward to having a blat on rFactor 2.

      iRacing has unparalleled (in my opinion, of course) FFB, very much due to the laser scanned tracks. While somewhat prohibitively expensive (though with different promotions and incentives, that cost can come down quite a bit), there really isn’t anything like it in terms of quality pick up racing.

      netKar Pro I honestly haven’t spent much time with, though it is fairly universally accepted that it has one of the best tyre models in the sim world, and from what little I have played of it I can understand why.

      GTL I have unfortunately spent no time at all with, though once again well regarded.

      As mentioned above, nobody has even come close to simulating rallying like Richard Burns Rally.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      The guys who developed Split/Second was shut down, just so you know.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      “GTR2 I would say is your minecraft of racing games.”

      I think that’d be rFactor rather than GTR2. ISI made the gMotor2 engine that’s used in GTR2 and Race ’07/’08/etc, and rFactor is their stand alone game that’s specifically designed as a mod platform. Like Khann said, however, it’s never had great FFB. They did have one on-the-fly-physicsy plugin in development for it (LeoFFB) but that folded pretty quickly. Some of the mods do work pretty well with RealFeel, but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

      If only ‘cos it’s an opportunity to talk about race sims here on RPS, which doesn’t happen very often, I was never convinced by LFS’ tyre model – I always reckoned it felt like the slip angles were too high. Too easy to get a car sliding, too easy to get it to stop again.

      netKar Pro is absolutely bloody superb, especially for nimble little open-wheelers. I, personally, felt like I was getting an awful lot more information back through the FFB in it compared to iRacing. I’m still of the opinion that GPL, with the mods, compares pretty well to either of them in this department, though.

    • Radiant says:

      @Khaan and Capt.
      That’s fantastic, that’s pretty much what is missing for indept coverage for racing games.
      Granted you guys scare me but I really want to know what is out there for ‘proper’ racers.

      I think what attracted my car mates to GTR2 is the mod scene that’s built up around it. All the graphical updates and cars ‘properly’ sim’ed along with the tracks etc.

      With the other games what’s the mod scene like around them? Is their much scope for non developer expansion?

    • Khann says:

      Not entirely sure what happened to the other reply I just wrote.. but anyway, rFactor is where you want to be (in my experience) if you want mods.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      rFactor’s the only one of the current ‘big hitters’ that has a mod scene around it.

      Grand Prix Legends, ye olde simme grandaddy from 1998, has been extensively modded to bring it (in my opinion) entirely up to modern standards (bar the graphics), but that’s not a collection of diverse mods – it’s a small number of mods made by a core team. The original game covers the 1967 season, and the mods are for 1965, 1966 and 1969 F1 seasons and 1967 sports cars, but there’s an absolute arseload of tracks for it.

  18. Zarx says:

    No mention of C.A.R.S.? http://www.wmdportal.com/projects/cars/ for shame

  19. Lagavulin says:

    i also would like to mention TDU (mainly the first one. even if the second goes along with the same concept). The ability to roam in an open world was great + discover the car dealers around the map + freeride with your friend at any moment!

    Obviously there was some problems with that(net code mainly, but also the fact that car clubs were never implemented…)

  20. Crimsoneer says:

    I hugely, hugely enjoyed Burnout P, and I’m rather bitter that nobody else did.

  21. YourMessageHere says:

    One other thing. What about Need For Speed: Mirror’s Edge?

    I can’t speak for others, but I’d be all over a pure racing parkour game; lose the guns and cops and dodgy plots, keep the superb architectural style, simplify the controls.

    Alternatively, a foot racing mod for Brink on levels designed purely around the dodging-about button.

  22. Reapy says:

    I think ever since I first played Stunts when I was little I wanted a game that would let me race around my neighborhood. I bet with some clever programming you could essentially take map/gps road data, map it to dted elevation data, and have a reasonable beginnings of road generation. Then you could layer over it satellite data which you could extract a reasonable assumption about the area, such as house density, and/or shapes of things around it. If you have those iso views too I think you can even start to grab real textures. Well, if you could use street views to get textures…

    Couple that with with some procedural generated ‘generic’ areas, ie you can determine it is a forested area in the north east US so pick from a range of appropriate trees and colonial houses etc.

    Add in some generic traffic and other cars to race with etc, and you can pull out of your drive way, rip across the neighbors lawn, and tear around your local streets without worrying about killing yourself or anybody in the area.

    Finally, you could use community driven efforts to map their home town in a central database, so basically people can upload areas they live or know sort of like a wiki.

    Hell, you could use that for more than just driving games… would be an interesting project hehe

    OOOORRRR

  23. Wezz6400 says:

    Nice article, but I have to say, I don’t quite agree on The Run being an innovation. Because when I think about innovation, about doing something that hasn’t been done before, about changing the race genre forever, quick time events isn’t what I’m thinking about.

    The sections where you get out of the car are nothing but well-dressed quick time events, the most uninspiring and cheap feature in gaming. I hate QTEs with a passion, it’s not innovation, it’s ruining Need for Speed again after they almost got it right with Hot Pursuit last year.

    Also, I have a bit of a low response time, so I suck at quick time events. They literally stop me from finishing a game as about half-way through they get too hard for me, I simply cannot do them. It’s the reason why I never finished playing Fahrenheit, and why every game with quick time events has been a no-buy for me ever since then.

    Edit: forgot to say, I do quite like these opinion articles, so please keep that up!

    • utzel says:

      Well, weren’t we all always thinking while playing a racing game: “This driving around stuff is all nice and fun, but what I really want here are some bloated QTEs before I can start a new race!”

  24. Papageno says:

    Someone please just remake NFS: Porsche Unleashed, please, and not as some crappy DLC. The game from 2000.

    • IDtenT says:

      God, you must be me. There is nothing I want more in a racing game than an updated NFS: Porsche. The two modes were awesome. Racing all the cars through the ages or being a technical driver, man was that awesome. An arcade money for repair function for after race repairs, instead of using some silly system or a too realistic one.

      Only thing that needs improvement is the physics and graphics.

  25. KenTWOu says:

    Dirver: San Francisco (shift ability, single player mode, story mode, in-car dialogues, cops, stunts) + Test Drive Unlimited (huge territory, multiplayer, custom races) = The future of racing games!

  26. reticulate says:

    I’m going on The Eternal Internet Record here as saying that yon open-world racer type-thingies have never quite measured up to the closed circuit jobbies found on both PC and Consolebox. Forza 4, for instance, is lighting up the internets and making more money than the GDP of a bunch of countries simply by being a Car Simulator We Can All Enjoy. That’s a big thing. (also the GDP bit was an exaggeration)

    Consider that previous to perhaps Forza 3, you had exactly one place to go for a simmish-funnish experience, and that was Gran Turismo. Yes, Need For Speed has a bunch of titles that fit in there, and yes, we can talk about iRacing and your hardy-hardcore sim drivers. But the essence of proper racing/owning fun was probably a console-only release, and likely primarily one.

    I love the idea of building a stable of current, awesome cars and driving them to some sort of limit in a nice environment. I don’t want or need uber-realism, but neither do I want to feel like my interactions with the vehicle are sort of secondary to the experience. The fine line that your Forza or Gran Turismo have walked is exactly that. Granted, GT5 went off the rails a bit, and I’m certain their 2.0 deal will fix that, but the guys over at Turn 10 have sorted this out.

    The fundamental difference in experience here is probably something like the Flight Simulator vs. Ace Combat crowd. A good chunk of us don’t actually mind if the game gets in the way of totally sucking. As long as we get to feel awesome doing it, then we’re probably happy. Make a Forza/GT engine with an open world, and I’m there. Until then, I think I’m happy with doing circuits.

    • Khann says:

      Even as a hardy-hardcore sim fan, I completely agree that there is a lot of fun to be had when riding that line. The recent F1 games from Codemasters do this very well (though they are not free of their issues).

      As for your “sim but open-world”.. this is something I have wanted for a long time. It’s why I have enjoyed things such as Screamer 4×4 and Street Legal Racing: Redline (which is an awful name for a pretty interesting game). And although not really sim-like in the least, it is the reason I really appreciated the much heavier “realistic” handling Rockstar decided to implement for GTA4.

    • Levanon says:

      I agree.

      I bought Forza 4 to play on my house mate’s xbox, and have been enjoying it immensely. I love that genre of garage building car games we don’t really see on PC. Shift 2 came close, but somehow missed that joy of collecting. F4 generates 3 races for each stop in the campaign based on the car you’re in. Essentially it showers cars and money at you, letting you literally drive whatever car you want at any given moment, while mixing in lots of tinkering and car porn. It’s literally the perfect expression of a racing game. I hope from here, they start looking into other directions to evolve.

      What I really want to see is an open world game with the physics and joy of collecting of Forza. TDU comes close, but doesn’t quite work.

    • reticulate says:

      And if I didn’t make it clear initially, given the whole stream of consciousness bit – I don’t mind some NFS when I can be pressing two keys at a time, while tapping the brake in order to win. That’s great, but somehow a bit unsatisfying. And I never got into the proper, hardcore sims because a good desk setup is both expensive and unnecessary for my requirements. I just want to own a bunch of really nicely rendered cars and go drive them in something resembling proper physics while doing well enough to earn money and buy more nicely rendered cars.

      It’s totally true that Forza 4 practically throws cars at you, and further throws cheap upgrades your way in no time at all. But honestly, that’s sort of what you want. It’s a Millionaire’s Garage Sim, but on the Forza side they’ve at least encapsulated some of the joy; I can’t imagine walking into my garage and seeing an Aston Martin DBS, but at least in Forza it’s there to fling about on a variety of pretty tracks should I care to. I feel Gran Turismo lost that somewhere, and luckily for this Xbox owner I get the better game. I take the whole ‘Pirelli tyre physics’ whatsits with a grain of salt, as long as it approximates a sound and feel that suits the car I’m in. I’s not a proper sim, and it’s not an NFS bash. It’s something else, and that something I absolutely adore.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      @Khann
      I completely agree that there is a lot of fun to be had when riding that line. The recent F1 games from Codemasters do this very well (though they are not free of their issues).

      I didn’t play it for long enough to pick up any of the issues, but I think F1 2010 was honestly the most fun I’ve had playing a driving game with a gamepad. It just fitted perfectly.

  27. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I generally enjoy unrealistic racing games more than regular ones. Starwars pod-racer, for example. I also rather like Trackmania.

  28. Kollega says:

    What i figured i want from a racing game is some sort of science-fictiony setting: most racing games are set in the real world with real cars and real locales – or cars and locales closely resembling real as not to offend anyone. I would like to see something more science-fictiony, but not too much (i would still like to keep wheeled vehicles, thank you very much). Something like Borderlands would work nicely.

  29. Howl says:

    The future of racing is an MMO with driving, shooting and clan based territorial conflict set in a vast post-holocaust landscape, with no quest-hubs or restrictive corridor progression in sight.

    i.e. Dark Age of Camelot meets Interstate ’76 meets Planetside…. using the Frostbite 3 engine.

    I would give my left nut.

    • Khann says:

      You pretty much just described this. I followed that game closely through its development… it’s a shame it completely tanked.

  30. goffer says:

    I’ve been waiting for a comeback for Motor City Online for many a year now. Still one of the best racing games I have played.

  31. RegisteredUser says:

    I think if we just get an infinity really well made and fun permutations of Carmageddon and Death Rally in 2D as well as 3D etc we’ll be fine.