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Racing Games in 2013, Where Do They Go? Stuck
Posted on January 9, 2013 at 03:13 PM.
Just the other day we all introduced ourselves and let you know what we will specifically be writing about. Today we were tasked with giving three things that we are looking forward to covering in 2013. Since I am the guy who writes about racing games, it is tougher for me to think of three unique things. With that said, I did manage to think of three things that will be discussed to some extent throughout the year and I even threw in a bonus topic as well.


Next-gen consoles will probably look nothing like this. (Image Source: GameInformer.com)

New consoles

This one is a no-brainer. We are nearing the end of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, whether you want to admit it or not. Do we need new consoles? Not really, but it's still nice to sit down and think about what they will offer us in this day and age when technology evolves extremely fast. Although little is known about the components and parts of these new consoles, developers are more willing to try completely different things when they have new hardware in their hands. Although with the way the industry is going with how much it cost to develop a game, let's hope that is still the case with the next-gen.

Of course new consoles not only affect racing titles, but obviously the industry as a whole. When it comes to my particular field though, I think new consoles can provide a lot for racing games. Expanding environments, various new gameplay enhancements, among other things can make things very interesting. Without knowing a whole lot about them, expect to see me and other writers on Operation Sports discuss this very topic a lot in 2013 as more news and information is uncovered.

The Evolution of Racing Games

Since new consoles are obviously on the way into our lives, it is time for racing games to evolve. Some people might be saying "what else can you add to a racing game?" My answer: A lot, and no, I am not speaking of just new cars and tracks. SEGA did a decent job doing this late last year with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Going from a car, to a boat, to a flying vehicle felt smooth and was well-done. Criterion also tried it in 2012 with their new single player progression system. Those are small steps in making this specific genre more unique.

Evolving core mechanics in an arcade racer is a lot easier than doing it in a simulation game like F1 from Codemasters. Simulation games have to fit a certain mold where as arcade racers give developers more flexibility. Still, it is up to the developer AND the community to help the genre improve with new game modes and gameplay. What will that be exactly? That's something I hope we find out during the year. Like I mentioned earlier, new consoles mean that developers and publishers can -- and hopefully will -- try new things with existing franchises and even possibly make some new IP's. I can not wait to see what veteran studios do with the new hardware. It can only benefit racing games in a positive way.


Need for Speed

EA has turned the NFS franchise into an inconsistent one. We had the very well-made Hot Pursuit from Criterion Games followed by the not-so-great The Run that, honestly, had some great ideas that were just poorly executed. Just a few months ago we had Criterion's version of Most Wanted. It had some damn fun multiplayer, but the single player progression was something new they tried and it just did not work out (for me). Now that Criterion is taking the lead on the Need for Speed series, we need more than just their interpretation of past games for it to succeed. I'm sure most people want to see their take on the Underground games, but they have to try something fresh to keep the franchise on the upswing. When it comes to Criterion's other baby, yes, we all want another Burnout game and they say that one is coming, but I truly don't want to see the NFS name go down the drain.

So, what can be done to save the name? Is it too late and too many mediocre games later for EA and Criterion to bring back Need for Speed to where it once was? When it comes to the latter, I think it is not too late. Criterion knows what they are doing when it comes to racing games (Burnout: Paradise and Autolog). It will be very interesting to see what the new title will be and its features. I have a feeling that we will not see a past game reincarnated, so expect a completely new game to release later this year (possibly on new hardware?). As usual, once we learn new details about it, I will be here to report it to you.

Midnight Club

This one is here purely because we are extremely overdue for a new one. The last Midnight Club game to release was back in 2008 with Los Angeles. Rockstar Games have been pretty busy with other genres, releasing games like GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3, L.A. Noire, and soon GTA V. When seeing that list it is understandable that there has not been a new Midnight Club games in over four years. Still, most fans of racing games want to see the series come back and I think we will see just that. Although I don't think the new title will release this year (I'm thinking more Spring 2014), I can see it being announced and shown off quite a bit during 2013.

As of the beginning of January, these are the items I look forward to covering in the next year. As we progress in the next few months, I expect to be surprised by news and announcements that may change my thoughts about the topics above, but we'll just have to wait it out and see. Is there anything racing games related that you are interested in hearing about in the next year? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. 2013 looks to be a huge year for video games, not just the racing game genre. I am looking forward to seeing everything that will transpire over the next 11 months.

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Comments
# 1 radney @ Jan 9
I'm more into the sports aspect of racing more so than street racing game. I play solely NASCAR games and on occasions, F1 series. What I'm hoping for is a more sim style feel, with better all-around physics, gameplay, dynamic weather system and lighting. A deep career mode, everything from buying parts and hiring and firing of personnel. Also, hopefully, the new consoles could mean better crash damage and models.
 
# 2 Dazraz @ Jan 10
Any conversation about Racing games that mentions Sonic loses me! Ha ha. Seriously though there really are 2 separate markets for racing games, Sim or Arcade. Arcade based racers such as Need for Speed can pretty much go anywhere with the franchise as the physics & the way these physics are portrayed are wholly unrealistic. Accurate Sim based racers such as F1 or NASCAR are much tougher to replicate because the standards gamers are looking for are much more exacting.
 
# 3 crgnjul @ Jan 10
Are there any iRacing members here on OS?
 
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