Polyphony, Codemasters, System 3, Turn 10, SimBin, Brain In A Jar, this is directed towards ALL of you. I’ve been enjoying Supercar Challenge lately with my new wheel, playing a good few hours every few days. It’s the most satisfyingly realistic driving simulator I’ve ever felt. However, I’ve still only unlocked 3 cars in the game, out of 44. There are 41 cars I can’t drive. Despite the fact that this is a videogame, my options are artificially limited by in-game money earned by competing in hundreds of races with dull, easy, brain-dead AI opponents. That’s no knock on Supercar Challenge’s AI racers, all racing games have AI I don’t care about.
Should I really have to spend 50 hours in career mode just to enjoy Time Trial properly? Would it be considered a crime to let me drive the cars I want from the start? This is mindblowingly terrible design that has somehow become the standard in console racing games. Time Trial is what I love – I want to drive to my own limits and challenge myself, to properly appreciate the physics of these fantastic simulators. Why can’t I take ADVANTAGE of the fact that this is a videogame, and drive the car I want?
Here’s my sweet setup! It’s hard to tell but there are cracks all over my windshield; must be a crazy race, right? No, it’s Time Trial, and I’m stuck with this debris until I quit and start again. What I love about Time Trial is that it lets me push the limits of the track and find out how close I can go to the walls. I can make as many mistakes as I want and learn from them. The car suffers no damage or tyre wear in this mode yet they still fuck up my vision permanently with this windscreen crack. I get it, it’s a cool effect, but save that shit for the races, please.
That brings me to another point. Developers are limiting our options based on their blind lust for realism, and the realism itself isn’t even convincing. The same crack always appears in the same place, and the temperature and sky is always the same at every track. If you’re going to ignore fun things that can easily be put in videogames, at least put fun realistic things in. If you want to convince me this is going to be realistic, I want some bird shit to land on my windscreen. Leave some puddles of water on the track from the night before, or put some gravel on the road from some idiot who just spun off and rejoined the track. This is what always happens when I race karts at real tracks. There’s only so far you can go in this direction however, until it gets forced and predictable. So how about a naked fan running across the track?
I’m sick of racing games ALWAYS having the same tracks. Spa, Silverstone, Suzuka; these are GREAT but how about creating something that doesn’t already exist? Videogames ALLOW this! Go completely insane, make a track with multiple steep elevation changes and fast corners all over the place. You can sure as hell bet that if someone built that track in real life, it would quickly appear in every game ever. So WHY WAIT!? It’ll take us five years to build a super amazing track in real life; in a videogame development studio you could design it in a week and have it presentable in a month. Instead, they spend months measuring every inch of these existing circuits. Look at how batshit every racing fan goes over Eau Rouge (pictured above), it’s the most loved corner in the world because it’s so rare for a corner to be that quick and challenging. We can make a corner twice as scary as Eau Rouge in a game. Ten of them.
Furthermore, there are physics ALREADY IN THESE GAMES to be taken advantage of. How about a track that’s all grass? The grass is there, it’s done. It’s all around the track, do you really want me to never drive there, ever? Some poor soul spent weeks making sure driving on the grass felt right, so I think it’d be a cool thing to create one silly track around it. Not necessary, but cool. It’s what you should consider when you make a videogame.
It seems to me that developers now have their heads so far up their arses they can no longer see what’s fun and what’s not. In the pursuit of realism, fun has disappeared behind the hill. I play these games for the feeling and challenge of the realistic driving physics. Not so I can stroke my dick while I earn money and level up – I’ll play Final Fantasy for that. I already bought the game from the store with real life money, LET THE SHOPPING END THERE.
Career modes should be completely abolished from all racing games, no exceptions. Where’s my justification? There’s a huge space for it in the empty wallets of these racing game publishers. The genre is dead, every one of these games is bombing. Race Pro? Sold like shit. Ferrari Challenge? Nup. Supercar Challenge? Nobody cares. Even Gran Turismo and Forza are losing their appeal. Remember how huge Gran Turismo was when it was first introduced? People bought a PlayStation just to play it! Despite being better than ever, the popularity of racing simulators (outside the hardcore PC community) is the lowest it’s been since the beginning. The incredibly accurate physics aren’t being used to create a fun experience, and this is how to fix it.