Motorsport gaming in 2017: a look ahead

 

Gaming is one of the most talked about things in the world, and with the annual global gaming event E3 just around the corner, we felt it was time to look at the gaming market for motorsport. Whilst the Pit Crew Online largely focuses on the real-life view of racing, we felt it was time to broaden our horizons and look at the electronic view too. 2017 looks like a fantastic year for games, so stay tuned for some reviews throughout the calendar year, but here are a few to keep an eye out for.

DiRT 4:

Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: 9 June 2017

DiRT 4 is the twelfth edition of the evolved Colin McRae Rally series, being the sixth game in the series to have the DiRT title. Focused on rallying as from the late great Colin McRae it carries on this with asphalt, dirt and snow with different weather conditions. This year DiRT and Codemasters have gained the FIA RallyCross Championship license, and Norwegian Rally/Rallycross expert Petter Solberg has been helping them with the handling model. Unfortunately it doesn’t have any aspects of the current World Rally Championship but has many cars across the last 30 years. The game is about to be released, so stay tuned for a review in the forthcoming days.

MotoGP 17:

Developer: Milestone S.R.L
Publisher: Milestone S.R.L
Release Date: 15 June 2017

Building upon the release of Valentino Rossi: The Game in 2016, Milestone is back with MotoGP 17. Having had the official contract since 2013 this is Milestone’s fifth annual release, which concentrates on the three series of Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP, as well as the feeder series before Moto3, the Red Bull Rookies. You can see that this has one career mode not for the faint-hearted. It has many legendary bikes and riders from throughout the years in the game too. Milestone are well renowned for their Superbike gaming, and the game has come leaps and bounds, with now 60 FPS (frames per second) and authentic sounding bikes it most definitely looks like the best one yet.

F1 2017:

Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: 25 August 2017

Codemasters are one of the biggest players in the racing game market, with many series to their name, and the official Formula 1 video game is another in their locker. Taking the series to new heights ever since 2009 on the Wii, and 2010 on other consoles the game year upon year looks more stunning and has a breath of fresh air over it. This year Codemasters have gone retro, and gone back through the years to classic cars, a first since 2013. They have finally managed to get the iconic McLaren MP4/4 and listening to the scream of that engine up the hill of Monaco will sound beautiful. They currently have agreed on 12 cars in that classic selection and most recently announced the Red Bull RB6, with which Sebastian Vettel won his first Championship. Known for its great depth in career and balance online racing Codemasters look like they are raising the series to even greater heights than before.

Project CARS 2:

Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher: Slightly Mad Studios
Release Date: 22 September 2017

Slightly Mad Studios are back, with their second installment in the series, aptly named Project CARS 2. Slightly Mad are in one competitive market with the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo, serious realistic driving simulators, that have been doing it for many years. They have reviewed the first game as a success and didn’t hesitate on announcing that they were working on a second game. The Indy 500 was very popular this year due to Fernando Alonso taking part. They have lucratively managed to get licensing for Dallara Honda/Chevorlet 2016 Indycars, mixing with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making them the only game that could theoretically do the Indy 500 in. This franchise doesn’t do things half-baked, with an estimated 150+ cars on launch and 60+ tracks, many licensed whilst some improvised versions of tracks they failed to get licensing for.

Gran Turismo Sport:

Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Interactive
Release Date: TBC (Originally Early 2017)

Polyphony are racing simulator gods, returning for the thirteenth time using the Gran Turismo name first used back in 1997. Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are the two giants in the racing simulation world, albeit locked to a console each—Gran Turismo being a Playstation exclusive whilst Forza is a Microsoft exclusive. It has a major partnership with the FIA, official Gran Turismo FIA Championships are taking place, as a result winners will be invited to their annual prize awards in Paris. eSports is something that is evolving and growing, and they have jumped on the opportunity especially with such a lucrative deal. A much more compact version of recent Gran Turismo games in terms of concentrating on three game modes on/offline, focusing on the core of the game, which is the racing. EA, more known for their sports games, lost the rights to a Porsche deal, so will be a first that the German manufacturer will be in the franchise. Polyphony are known for their delay in releasing games, as of yet we still have no idea of release date.

Others:

So far, Forza have yet to show their hand: their last release, Forza Horizon 3, was September 2016, so it seems some news is due on a new game, as they have annually been releasing since 2011’s Forza Motorsport 4. E3 is traditionally the big gaming event of the year, and each time Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo take the stage for a few hours showing off what is to look forward to in the year ahead of their consoles. We wouldn’t put it past Microsoft announcing something when the stage is theirs.

Codemasters are at it again, albeit with a more fun and friendly racing game, not as hardcore as their Dirt and Formula 1 games. Micro Machines World Series, the original creators of the franchise releasing a first game since 2006 having a more relaxed version of racing. Racing amongst pool tables and breakfast in attempt to wipe your friends and rivals off the map looks like a right laugh—although for the competitive people amongst you, there are also world championships to take part in.

The Pit Crew across the future will be looking at the big upcoming games, and future games that are announced to not only bring you the news of current motorsport news, but how you could possibly recreate it in your own living room.

Chris Lord, F1 Correspondent
8 June 2017

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