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Blur dev: Racing genre needs new hardware to succeed again

Tuesday, 1st May 2012 05:07 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Former Bizzare Creations design manager Gareth Wilson believes the simulation racing genre needs a boost from new hardware to become relevant again.

Wilson, now chief designer of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed at Sumo Digital, told OXM that racing sequels don’t offer enough to make them worthwhile.

“Racing games always do well when a new console comes out, and you do a new physics engine and improved graphics, but towards the end of a console cycle it’s always quite hard to push racing games,” he said.

“Because if you’ve DiRT 1 do you need DiRT 3? If you’ve got Project Gotham Racing 3 do you need Project Gotham Racing 4? I’m not so sure.”

Wilson said that racing, more than other genres, “really relies on technology”. He mentioned winning gasps from journalists when showing off launch Xbox 360 title Project Gotham Racing 3, and said that kind of leap is only possible over generational gaps.

“So with the next hardware we should be able to create features with another level of immersion and quality. There’s stuff we can do with this generation that we couldn’t before, and with the next we can make everything that bit more awesome. Racing games need that,” he said.

Wilson seems to believe racing is foundering a bit, mentioning Blur, Split/Second and Motorstorm as examples of good, solid IPs which just didn’t sell well enough to justify further entires.

Blue was one of Bizzare Creations’ last games before the developer was shuttered in 2011; Activision boss Eric Hirshberg admitted the racing genre’s waning popularity was a factor.

Thanks, Gamefront.

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8 Comments

  1. HauntaVirus

    100% agree, current gen is done with good racing games for sure. GT5 was a huge letdown in my opinion. Forza 4 was good but not great, didn’t feel different enough from Forza 3. DiRT 2 was awesome but DiRT 3 didn’t quite get it done for me, still play it though. I’m actually looking forward to DiRT showdown, it isn’t a racing game per say… more of a destruction derby style which has always been one of my favorites.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Strawb

    I can’t help but think that’s an excuse for the racing genre not being successful. I agree that the racing genre doesn’t have a lot of tools when it comes to mechanics, but saying that the graphic fidelity is the main selling point seems off.

    And like the Gamefront article mentions, PC hardware is updated continually compared to consoles, and the racing genre still doesn’t see much success. Maybe racing developers need to start thinking about interesting scenarios instead of just boosting the graphics. I, for one, think that there are too many racing IP’s that just go for the simulator niche.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    @2

    100% agree. The racing genre has been stagnant that has used hardware as a crutch if they actually looked into make a game and not a realistic simulator they can grab something.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. GrimRita

    Blaming the hardware is a bit rich. When/if the new hardware arrives, dev studios will only complain again that its too expensive to develop for.

    Rather than releasing generic shit, why not think outside of the box and add some value to your games?

    #4 3 years ago
  5. nofear360

    Though he doesn’t mention this (which I find surprising), I think racing games could benefit from next-gen hardware in the sense of being able to have a third-party digital platform implemented not much unlike CoD Elite and Battlelog. Instead of releasing PGR 5, 6, 7 etc. developers would be better off releasing a quality racing service which would monetize gamers in a respectable way (not how many F2P games are doing atm, mind you). They could set a low entry price and then offer bits and pieces (more cars, tracks, customization options, track editor, MP modes, etc.) for a fee. This way users would spend as they see fit; they wouldn’t be forced a $60 price tag which would include MP, even though they are strictly singleplayer gamers (to make an assumption).

    The only problem to such a solution is the big 3′s willingness to be open and give developers more control. But since F2P games are so popular and successful and predictions are being thrown around that the next-gen will be a flop compared to current-gen, don’t see how the big 3 can NOT allow developers more control.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. xxJPRACERxx

    I agree with the dev. I’m a 100% sim guy and even if I play more on PC than consoles, I can imagine how better GT5 would be on better hardware. Better physic, visual and sound fidelity is always a good thing.

    @5 Check iRacing for the “buy what you want” mentality. I have many cars and tracks for iRacing but it seems I’m the only one to have them, nobody’s using them so I just do free practice

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DrDamn

    @5
    I think that sort of approach is a good one devs/publishers should explore more in the next generation. I.e. release a core engine at a low price and then content/modifications on top of that. They need to get out of the yearly/2-year cycle for new releases.

    A lot of genres are well suited to that sort of approach but it needs support from the consumer and platform holders to work.

    RE: The article. Agree with the majority of the comments above. Innovate in the genre, there is a lot there which hasn’t been explored properly which is perfectly possible with current hardware. That said I think there has been some good stuff this generation which has floundered. So something is not quite connecting. Consumer fatigue?

    #7 3 years ago
  8. OlderGamer

    Ok lets keep in mind he said sales boost. Hard to argue that racing games don’t get a sales boost at the start of a new gen of hardware.

    Also racers feel generic because in every game, every liscinced car looks exactly the same and handles nearly the same as in every other game. That doesn’t mean that NFS cars look/handle the same as Mario Kart. But what it means is that BMW make and model is near identical in Forza as it is in GT. Fanboys aside, it pretty much is.

    Same goes for tracks. So many game push real world tracks or real world locations. They are going to be the same too. Once you get to the point of your cars and locations looking and even feeling the same, you get a generic experience.

    So you end up with a fatigue that hampers sales. To a degree I believe this is been dogin the indursty across several generes. One of the reasons I have started wlking away from some games and some consoles. Way too many sameness type of experiences that take themselves way to serioursly. While perhaps as technicly flawless as they have ever been, many games just don’t feel fun anymore, esp towards the end of the thins gen. And racing is one of the generes that turn me away the most(FPS being the biggest), and I used to love racers. Now I wait for em to drop in pirce, if I bother at all.

    #8 3 years ago

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