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2015 in Preview: A Great Year for Racing Fans?

Two of gaming's biggest racing franchises look to be getting new editions this year. And they'll be joined by at least three newcomers.

Article by Jaz Rignall, .

While 2014 was a good year for racing games, 2015 could be an even better one. There's the potential for new editions of both the biggest names in the racing game genre, there are two new franchises ready to roll out – plus a brand new motorcycle racing game.

So without further ado, let's run down the list and see what these racers are all about.

Forza 6

Forza Motorsport 5 appeared a little over a year ago as a day one launch title for Xbox One – which means unless there are development issues, Forza 6 is pretty much guaranteed to appear some time this year. Whether it'll be before or after the summer remains to be seen (post-Summer seems most likely based on prior release timing), but either way, expectations are high for Turn 10's latest edition of its storied racer.

The current game did feel a little rushed, sporting less than half the 500 cars of its predecessor, and a mere 17 tracks compared to the 26 of Forza 4. This was a slight disappointment, but understandable considering the fairly short developmental timeframe Turn 10 had to produce the game. However, this time out there should be no excuses, and all things being equal, we'll see a return to a broader range of cars – some perhaps taken from the newer Forza Horizon 2 – and a more diverse range of tracks.

Hopefully lessons learned from Forza Horizon 2's heavy multiplayer component might also help refine Forza 6's online racing and offer new features and elements.

One thing likely to change this time around is DLC. Forza 5 was criticized for its use of heavily integrated DLC, which left a sour taste in many players' mouths. This time around it's expected to be more like Forza Horizon 2, with meaningful content updates, rather than a system that feels like it's nickel and diming you.

Project CARS

One of the most interesting new racing games is Slightly Mad Studio's Project CARS. Set for release initially on PC, Xbox One and PS4, and with later versions slated for Steam OS and Wii U, Project CARS differentiates itself from the more established racers with a sandbox approach to competitive driving. When the game starts, all cars and tracks are unlocked, and it's up to the player to decide which path they'd like to take through the game, from Kart and Track Day racing all the way to high-end GT and Les Mans Prototypes.

The game is focused heavily on the racing experience, with events taking place over several days and incorporating shakedown, qualifying laps and the races themselves. Weather also plays an important part of the proceedings, and conditions can change dynamically during races, and from day to day.

The game features almost 70 cars – which isn't many when compared to the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza – but then again, they're all racing vehicles, so there's at least some focus on a specific car type, rather than the very broad spread other games tend to offer. The game also features 52 different circuits, which is very impressive, and will help deliver a wide variety of races once track variations are factored in.

So far I've only played a brief demo, but the game looks extremely promising. It seems the focus is on picking the cars you like best, essentially making them your own, and then racing them in pertinent series. A different approach from the established racing games that require you to drive many different cars in numerous series. How this will play out remains to be seen, but it's a smart move by Slightly Mad Studios to help Project CARS carve out its own niche in the highly competitive racing genre.

World of Speed

The second game due this year from Slightly Mad Studios is World of Speed, a PC game that'll be launched under the auspices of My.com. Where it differs from Project CARS is that it's all about production vehicles, from humble hot hatches to the highest-end supercars. It's also different in that it's a free-to-play, massively multiplayer online action racing that does not have a single-player component. All the action takes place in online races, and revolves around team play – be it temporary pick-up play, or racing with an established group of people.

I've played a couple of demos, and was reasonably impressed. My biggest criticism is that the handling feels a little inert – though that might have been due to the steering wheel setup each time – but what is impressive is the track and car modeling. The game does look absolutely terrific.

What's going to be interesting is seeing exactly how the free-to-play model works. I'm expecting something like World of Tanks where there's a solid free component, but if you really want to succeed in the game, you'll need to buy premium cars, or premium upgrades.

So far, only 20 cars have been confirmed for the game, but My.com announced that additional cars are expected to be added regularly, with the intent of making World of Speed feel like a continually evolving game.

Gran Turismo 7

I certainly wouldn't bet a large sum of money on Gran Turismo's 7th outing appearing on PS4 later on this year, but there's an outside chance that this game might see daylight in the latter stages of Q4 based purely on the fact that, by that time, Polyphony will have had some 24 months of potential development time to invest in the title.

And if a full game doesn't appear, perhaps Sony might pressure the legendarily slow development team to release some kind of "Prologue" interim game just to fill the void between now and whenever Gran Turismo 7 finally rolls out of the garage.

Whenever it does appear, it'll be interesting to see whether the game will follow the familiar and somewhat well-worn formula that the series has fallen into. I think it's a safe bet that a new Gran Turismo would likely present a slight evolution of the format and content of the prior outing, but the big question is – how many cars will it feature? Gran Turismo 6 tipped the scales at more than 1,200 cars, but many of them were legacy models that looked exactly like the madeover PS2 models that they were. I really can't see those making it to the PS4 version without some kind of miraculous makeover, but what will likely be ported across are the newer GT6 models, which, along with new GT7 cars, could mean the game featuring some 300-400 cars this time around. That's still plenty to be getting on with, but it would put Gran Turismo on a potential par with the Forza series for the first time.

But then again, perhaps Polyphony will surprise us. Most of all, by releasing the game this year!

Ride

Set to debut in Spring on PS4 and Xbox One (plus PS3 and Xbox 360) is Namco's Ride – a motorcycle racer from Milestone, makers of the pretty damn good MotoGP 14, which I reviewed a month or two ago. In many respects it sounds similar to Polyphony's Tourist Trophy – it features around 100 motorcycles that include supersports, sports, naked and even historic bikes, and a host of famous motorcycle tracks to ride them on.

Very little is known about the game at the moment, but I loved the riding mechanics that underpinned MotoGP, and if the developers can address some of the graphical issues that plagued the PS4 version of the game, it could be a really solid racer – and a very welcome one for motorcycle racing fans like myself.

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Comments 9

  • Avatar for Robert-One-Oh-Nine #1 Robert-One-Oh-Nine 2 years ago
    Project CARS looks absolutely stunning!

    It's the only racer on on my list for 2015.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #2 Jaz_Rignall 2 years ago
    @Robert-One-Oh-Nine The dynamic lighting and weather effects really are outstanding. The demo I played started at night and went all the way through early morning. The process of the sun rising really was superb.

    Definitely have very high hopes for this - plus it's a serious racer. No production cars: just track vehicles, which helps give the game a real focus.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #3 Ralek 2 years ago
    I can see how there might be a need for some more classy sim-oriented racers, but personally I stick to the perfect balance found in FH2. I can't find any meaningful flaw with that game. Today I got myself Storm Island and the worst thing I can say about it, is that is not that much of an extreme change as one could have expected. It plays different enough though and offers some more diversion beyond what FH2 already offers. If you are a VIP it's a no brainer, but I think anyone having a good time with FH2 should check it out even at $20. I've seen plenty of season passes offering way less, not just quantitiy but also quality.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #4 VotesForCows 2 years ago
    Was looking forward to Project Cars already, but I'd never heard of Ride before. That's jumped right up my list!
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  • Avatar for Kvally #5 Kvally 2 years ago
    Forza 6 will be absolutely untouchable. Game to have for 2015 no doubt.
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  • Avatar for Asintador #6 Asintador 2 years ago
    While I enjoy racing sims / sim-likes, 2015 is curiously devoid of arcade-style racers.

    Wasn't a new Need for Speed due out as well? I would love a new Need for Speed that returns to the classic NFS feel (i.e., before NFS Underground) with its heavy-but-forgiving handling and Road & Track commentary, although that itch has been scratched tremendously well by Forza Horizon 2.

    A new Outrun would also be more than welcome (hint, hint Sega).
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  • Avatar for airbagfin51 #7 airbagfin51 2 years ago
    @Jaz_Rignall

    Just saw this article. Love the idea of having a focus/article/thread about racing games over 2015--kudos on setting that up. Looks like we're really set up for some good stuff.

    Now, I hate to sound like a broken record, but it seriously looks like you've really just gone off Driveclub after the game launch and are totally ignoring it from future coverage. Of course, that is entirely your prerogative, but it does make me wonder about your direction and scope.

    I haven't had a chance to try Project Cars (the game is not yet on Linux) but a lot of your comments above (lighting and weather effects, etc.) seem like they may be more appropriated to Driveclub than they may be Project Cars.

    I'm not trying to start a war here between the two or anything, but I am finding it hard to correlate your comments here against my experience with Driveclub and reports I've read about Project Cars, and your estimation of Project Cars.

    Hoping for some clarification here. Also, hope I don't come across like a berk.Edited January 2015 by airbagfin51
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  • Avatar for Calzada-Betraro #8 Calzada-Betraro A year ago
    The dynamic lighting and weather effects really are outstanding. The demo I played started at night and went all the way through early morning. The process of the sun rising really was superb, jogos psn janeiro breathing, but not really, world. Want car go fast make big boom. III, High Stakes and Porsche Unleashed were awesome and fun to play in first person with a steering jogos psn janeiro wheel. The Fast and Furious aping ones that came later just aren't for me. I feel like Project Gotham / Metropolis Street Racer was the only arcadey racers that jogos psn janeiro threaded the space well between Gran Turismo and NFS in the 2000s. Practically everyone else I've heard hated the douchey tuner culture aspect and the characters that came with it, and preferred the series' roots as high-end exotics on scenic tracks.Edited 2 times. Last edited July 2017 by Calzada-Betraro
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  • Avatar for grzegorzwitkowski31 #9 grzegorzwitkowski31 10 months ago
    November 2016 her: World of Speed is not responding on forums since march and after 2 years of waiting I am done. Going to play the Crew which is going good way and at least it is REALEASED
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