Realism – How much is it worth?

Gran Turismo 6 is out later this year, and it’ll arrive a full 3 years after Gran Turismo 5. I am excited about playing the game with the new physics revamp, but can’t help but feel flat about the lack of new tracks to drive on. Polyphony are making a big deal about having 5 new tracks in the game. Yes five. Why does it take them so long? Because they scan the track and gather shitloads of data making sure it’s an accurate representation. Admirable attention to detail, but in my opinion it’s seriously holding back the gameplay experience.

dulltrack

Does that excite you? It looks like one of the throw-away tracks used in Story Mode in F-Zero GX. Sure, the 90 people who have driven here in real life will say “wow, it’s like driving in real life!” but this is a game selling to 10 million people. Before you say this is important to racing enthusiasts, I’ve done thousands of laps of Monza and Suzuka in 12 different games. It’s always the same damn thing, give me GT6 and I guarantee I’ll be up to speed within 3 laps. The braking points are ingrained into my head and I would like to get them out, because it’s a very unproductive way of thinking.

Putting so much attention into a single track has a knock-on effect of keeping it for every game. Monza, Suzuka, Spa, Nordschleife are all returning in GT6 because they can’t throw away all that data right? Especially Nordschleife with its 7 minutes of bland trees and high-speed corners that all feel the same. As a result of this content backing up, Polyphony has hinted that some of the 5 new tracks will actually be DLC and not even on the disc.

“I’m not buying this game if it doesn’t have Nordschleife!” – nobody, ever

Here’s a sight for sore eyes!

mk8fun

Mario Kart doesn’t get nearly enough credit for having 16 brand new tracks in every game. I’ve never been to Moo Moo Farm or driven around Peaches Castle, so I don’t know how realistically modeled they are; but they are extremely stimulating, fun to drive on, fun to learn, and looking at them makes me happy.

“It’s easier because they just make shit up. Mario Kart isn’t authentic!”

Creating something new is easier than copying something inch-by-inch? Maybe it is, because the thought of a brand new track doesn’t make me want to kill myself. Both Gran Turismo 6 and Mario Kart 8 share something in common, they’re both videogames I am playing from my living room. I’m not in outer space or at Willow Springs on a track day. I love motorsport with an obsessive passion, but that’s exactly why I want to drive on new tracks. In the real world, these tracks are only the same year-after-year because they are 5km long and half of them are made up of public roads. If you could place a giant race track into the ground with the click of a mouse, I’m sure that would be done quite a lot. Videogames can do this, but developers like Polyphony Digital ignore their own capabilities.

By the way, this article only exists because I structured the entire thing in my head while playing Ferrari Racing Legends, doing laps of Mugello. I still won the race even though I wasn’t even thinking about it. I’m done with grinding in these games and I’d really like something new to think about. Realism is being used as an excuse, when the reality is we can do so much more now.

How important is it for you to drive on tracks you already know? This article isn’t about the cars, or other aspects of racing simulators. I’m fine with Gran Turismo being Pokemon for cars, even though I will never drive all 1200 cars. However, I feel like these games are being held to a different standard in terms of design, when they shouldn’t be because at the end of the day we’re sitting down playing them. I want to be stimulated enough to not write another crappy article.

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