In a new series of articles, our Swedish editor-in-chief, Petter Hegevall chats about everything from upcoming racing titles to simracing tips and more.
Gran Turismo 7
On March 4th, Polyphony is back with the next numbered game in the Gran Turismo series and although we here at Gamereactor clearly prefer GT Sport over, for example, Gran Turismo 6, we are of course looking forward to sinking our teeth into the PS5 game. There will be 30+ tracks in different variations and 420 cars that are both borrowed from Gran Turismo 6, Gran Turismo Sport, but also built from the ground up to take advantage of the power of PlayStation 5. Physics seem to be a little less realistic than that in Gran Turismo Sport with the series' previously ironically "understeery" cars and graphically, we have not yet seen anything from this game that impresses. What, on the other hand, makes us more excited than its appearance is the focus on styling and tuning, which seems to be properly developed this time.
Despite a somewhat shaky start to Codemasters' officially licensed Formula 1 franchise, ten years ago, they have really found their stride lately and last year's game F1 2021 was nothing short of brilliant. However, fans have asked for more realism and Codemasters seem to be investing in this for the release of the next game. The new 2022 cars (which are smaller, weaker in terms of engine performance and with a different type of aerodynamics that will allow denser, tighter, more exiting racing, with more overtaking) will of course be included and we look forward to what Codemasters has to offer, here.
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Assetto Corsa 2
When the small Italian studio Kunos announced in 2020 that they were working in parallel to maintain and improve the Assetto Corsa Competizione and develop the Assetto Corsa 2, they said that the game would be finished by 2023 (summer) at the earliest, but there are now stubborn rumours that we may get a new Assetto this autumn. Kunos has apparently developed a modern version of their own graphics technology, which was used in their first game. They have continued to build on the solid, popular foundation on which the game rests, with mod support and a great variety of cars and classes. They have also of course learned a lot from the work with tire physics that they did together with the official GT3 circus in Assetto Corsa Competizione. Hopefully the rumour is correct.
Dirt Rally 3.0 WRC
Despite the lack of stages in Dirt Rally 2.0 and the lack of licensed, modern WRC cars, Dirt Rally 2.0 is the single best rally simulator ever released. It is rumoured that the team has grown enormously ahead of the third, which will be Codemasters' first licensed, official WRC game ever. Nearly 40 people have in the last 16 months only worked on recreating real rally-stages from the 2022 WRC season and the game will contain more than 50 (!) real stages, modelled and recreated with a richness of detail and precision that no one has seen before in a rally games of this nature. It is also rumoured that Codemasters has properly re-worked the tarmac physics, improved the gravel feel and improved with the sound aspect, which is already absolutely fantastic in Dirt Rally 2.0.
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I don't want to be some kind of KT Games grinch here because I believe that the studio itself has improved at a steady pace over the years and released some clearly entertaining rally games. But WRC 10 was clearly unfinished, was ugly visually and was poorly put together in terms of physics, general support for wheels/pedals, and the meagre, weak force feedback that had been included meant I no longer have any patience for KT Games' WRC franchise. I have given up. And I've already given up on WRC 11 even though I have no idea what we'll be offered. Given that the team that makes these annual licensing games obviously doesn't have the time to re-do much, we can assume that it will be a kind of expansion of WRC 10, and that is for sure not anything that I will be eagerly awaiting.
Need for Speed 2022
After a series of rather bland Need for Speed games, Gothenburg-based Ghost Games lost the license to one of EA's oldest game series and today serves as a help studio for the Battlefield team, while British Burnout developers Criterion has taken back Need for Speed. Many fans have been screaming for over a decade that they really want Underground 3 but given how little EA seems to listen to the players, I have a hard time seeing that game ever becoming a reality. I guess instead that Criterion has looked both once and 7000 times at Forza Horizon and that they will offer an open game world based on a real place where we will be able to run around (online) and be chased by police. We will probably find out more this summer, or during E3.
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Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown
Kylotonn Games, KT Games, which develops, among other things, the WRC game series, has in recent years been working on a completely new game in the Test Drive series. The last time we got to taste the free, open and sometimes pointless racing in Test Drive was 11 years ago with Test Drive: Unlimited 2 which was a proper, big let down in every single way. Later this year, the game series will be back. Solar Crown will include a 1:1 re-creation of the whole of Hong Kong Island and lots of details are promised as well as the physics engine from WRC 8.
Dakar Desert Rally
Snowrunner studio Saber Interactive is slowly but surely getting ready to put out the Dakar Desert Rally-simulator this autumn, which looks to be a very ambitious game. The Dakar 18 team is now part of Saber and together with the people behind Snowrunner they have built a physics engine that is said to be able to recreate a realistic driving feel on sand and stone as well as a range of vehicles that includes jeeps, buggies, motorcycles and trucks.
Mario Kart 9
It's been almost eight (!) years since Mario Kart 8 was first released and the fact that we still have not seen the sequel feels a bit bizarre, to be honest. But yes, rumours regarding the development of Mario Kart 9 leaked out online last week and apparently it will soon be completed and will be released this summer and contain a "twist" purely in terms of gameplay. We here at Gamereactor guess that the "twist" includes the possibility to have the karts turn into aircrafts on selected parts of the tracks, a bit like in Sonic Team Racing.
Finally, it's time for the early access success Kartkraft to be completed during 2022, something we here at Gamereactor are very much looking forward to. Kartkraft is a great simulation of karting with all that grip, and all that downforce and that raw, naked, stripped feel of every single bit of the racing itself centred around braking points and apexes.
Grid (2019) was just like Dirt 5 a very bland and boring arcade racing game and upcoming Grid Legends doesn't look all that much better. Codemasters' narrow, fictional city tracks are always ultra-boring and the whole thing with trucks versus street cars looks pretty darn boring, too. The story mode looks quite interesting, though. Perhaps strong characters and a good, awarding, challenging structure inside the career mode can save it?
Forza Motorsport 8
Forza Motorsport 6 and especially Forza Motorsport 7 in this long-running game series were not very good games. Forza Motorsport 7 was honestly, in retrospect, pretty darn bad, and hopefully Turn 10 understand that and are ready to make the eighth game something that goes all the way back to the foundation of Forza Motorsport 4. The microtransactions need to go, and those awful player cards absolutely need to be left behind as well, and the focus needs once again to be on a realistic, physical tire models with data from Pirelli. Real, clean, realistic simracing is what the fans, and I, really want from Forza 8. Turn 10 aims to compete with games like Assetto Corsa Competizione, iRacing and Automobilista 2 according to their own statement rather than with Gran Turismo 7, and we at Gamereactor think that sounds really great. We guess that we will find out more in the spring / summer and that Forza Motorsport 8 will hopefully be released sometime in October or November.