We've dreamed of a near future where a whole bunch of his dream sequels in the racing genre have reached store shelves.
If you've been following our Racing Dreams series of articles, you'll know that we've talked about the best arcade, simracing, and party games, as well as major disappointments, and even some of our fondest memories. But, what we're yet to do is really discuss of racing dreams. Fortunately, today is where that run comes to an end, as we're thought about nine games that we're hoping will see the light of day some time in the future.
Dirt Rally 3.0 (EA Sports Rally)
For anyone who has repeatedly read my racing rants over the past year, it comes as little surprise that I dream of a sequel to the single best rally game of all time: Dirt Rally 2.0. I've invested over 2000 hours by now in Codemasters' incomparable sequel and am thus so terribly excited about the third instalment, that I sometimes scare myself. I genuinely believe that I will implode, at least partially (some small insignificant organ will burst) once it is announced, and of course look forward to being thoroughly mauled by my own anticipation, then. Rumour has it that the third full-fledged rally simulator from the people behind the Colin McRae Rally sequel is nearing completion after three years, and will be released at the end of the summer. I dream of Rally Italy with a perfect mix of tarmac and gravel. I dream of Rally Belgium, Kenya, Mexico, Portugal, Chile and Japan. I hope to see Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, Toyota Celica GT 4, Mitsubishi Lancer I, IV and V, a couple of old Volvos and Saabs, as well as Ford Focus RS WRC, Mitsubishi Evo WRC and Subaru Impreza 2003 and S12B. Beyond that, I want to see a more integrated and vibrant online mode, the ability to customise and build your own rallies and proper three-column support. I want completely redesigned asphalt physics, too.
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Dave Kaemmer & Co have been reaping success and raking in millions in winnings month after month for 15 years now and it's really time for a proper sequel. The mere thought that one of the simracing genre's most popular titles of 2022 was released in 2008 seems downright absurd and I have high hopes for the sequel. Whether it's released this fall or in five years. I want to see a more detailed tire physics model that gives the same sense of what the limit of the slip angle feels like, similar to what Rfactor 2 as well as Automobilista 2 provides. More life, more feel, more tangible sense of speed and some of the "chaos" of pushing Spa Francorchamps at 280 km/h. I'd also like to see iRacing move away from its downright disgustingly greedy business model where it costs an arm and a leg to unlock all the content.
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It's certainly no secret that Rfactor 2 contains the single best tyre physics model the simracing genre has ever seen, but it's deeply embedded in a disappointing medium and it's only well-chosen, rather small parts of that game that shine, while the majority feels stale and stiff. I hope that Studio 397, now part of Florida-based Motorsport Games, has got a lot more resources and spits out a purely content-focussed, fiercely consistent simracing game that can compete with the very best of the genre.
Assetto Corsa 2
Kunos leaving his debut game "open" for fans to create various modifications was a stroke of genius and I sincerely hope the upcoming second instalment will work the same way. It's rumoured that Kunos has ditched the Unreal engine they based Assetto Corsa Competizione on and developed a new, in-house engine, and I think that sounds absolutely splendid. I'd like to see Kunos in this game focus on open wheel racing, almost exclusively, be it old F1 classics as well as the new cars, if it is true that Codemasters "shared" their otherwise exclusive license, that is.
Forza Motorsport 8
Forza 8 is rumoured to be rolling out this autumn and I sincerely hope that it will be an Xbox Series/PC exclusive, and therefore aesthetically pleasing, and drenched in top-of-the-line racing atmosphere. I dream that Turn 10 has worked on the Pirelli-based, physical tire model from the brilliant Forza 4 and ditched 90% of what made up the disappointing Forza Motorsport 7. Like what Polyphony Digital did in Gran Turismo Sport, I also hope that Turn 10 focused solely on racing cars and not street cars and that we'll be able to learn more about how to tinker with settings and optimisations in a racing scenario.
Need for Speed: Underground 3
I know, I know. EA is now almost the world's best at never giving players what they actually want, and I think that will mean we'll never get to play Underground 3. But dreaming is possible, and that's what this article is all about. Because I'd like a neon-soaked, NOS-scented arcade racing game in an open, free-to-play world with physics developed by Criterion and graphics designed by Dice, where we drive around in overly-pimped Japanese sports cars and challenge each other to races where the ownership of the opposing car is the ultimate prize. I'm dreaming of a mix between Midnight Club: LA, Juiced and Underground 1-2.
Ridge Racer: Returns
Namco's first game in the Ridge Racer series stands as one of the most successful racing titles of all-time and although Rage Racer and Ridge Racer 64 in particular were also great games, this arcade sequel has never really recovered, or managed to bridge the generational leaps taken since Ridge Racer first debuted on PlayStation (1996). But I certainly never stop hoping that Namco will find its way back again, to that magical formula that made one of the best arcade racing game of all-time. I'll never stop dreaming of a stripped-down, clean, sturdy, simple and ultra-fast "modern take" on Ridge Racer where we're encouraged to swerve 360° in the opposite direction of the curve to collect nitrous, and where we get to race that black ghost car after breaking every record imaginable.
Mashed and Wrecked remain two of the most fun and enduringly addictive party racing games ever created and I don't even think I'd want to know exactly how many hours me and my three closest friends spent with these titles. To have a Wrecked 2 crammed with all the guns, explosive crashes and tracks, that made the series iconic, and perfectly designed for tight, crazy multiplayer would feel like a dream come true. Preferably for Xbox Series though, please.
Mario Kart 9
When I thought Nintendo was going to announce Mario Kart 9, they showed off old, spruced up tracks from previous Mario Kart titles that have now been restored and touched up to fit into their nearly nine-year-old party racing title. More tracks are always fun and several of my Mario Kart favourites (of all time) are included in the pack released recently but it's really time for Mario Kart 9 now, in my opinion. I want a more stripped down racing game if I'm allowed to dream freely. I don't want my kart to turn into a magnetic spacecraft on select parts of the tracks, and I don't want to turn into a glider when I hit the biggest jumps. Instead, I just want to race regular go-karts like in Mario Kart 64, with no gimmicks or nonsense. And most of all, I want Block Fort to return to the Battle section.