Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

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Scrustle
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Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Scrustle » August 26th, 2019, 8:57 am

For a long time I've been lamenting the state of racing games as a genre, despite being a fan of them. A big part of that has been watching the Need for Speed series flounder about for well over a decade now, despite it still being one of the biggest names in the genre. And being a huge fan of the series in its mid 6th gen to early 7th gen era heyday, it's hard to look away and not long for a return to that.

And so along comes the new game that got announced lately; NFS: Heat. And to my surprise, this one actually looks like it might be alright. I'm still highly skeptical of it, as this isn't the first time a game in this series, or even from this current developer, which has looked good in footage but turned out to be a dud when you actually get to play it yourself. But from the footage I've seen of raw gameplay, it looks like they've actually come a decent way in fixing the problem that has plagued the series for so long now. The handling looks significantly more responsive and snappy than before, to the point where it at least seems like it might be good enough to get some fun racing action out of it. I also quite like the new visual style as well, taking the ultra high fidelity look of the 2015 game, but drenched in florescent neon glow, and with a day/night cycle too. Brings back memories of Underground and Carbon, but with its own Miami-flavoured twist. Although, still, I'm keeping a very critical eye on the game and trying not to get invested until I can know for sure. Ideally if I can get a chance to play it myself.

Then I made the mistake of seeing what other people online were saying about it. Comments on Reddit, Youtube, and other places. And big surprise, it's awful. While I share the position that this game has a lot to prove, and that at this point the series has earned a reputation for being guilty until proven otherwise, the way people are talking about it and the things they focus on are just so wrong-headed and frustrating to read. I suppose it's not exactly new, but when there is an entry in this series that looks like it's actually made some significant progress, it really highlights how shallow and misguided these criticisms are. So much of it is yet again focused on what type of game this is, and not on how well it executes what it's going for. There is so much hate out there for this game looking like it's "weightless" and that is has "automatic drifting" and things like that. A lot of it lines up with the same stale conversation about racing games where everything is boiled down to the simplistic binary of arcade vs. simulation, where people don't even really understand what those words mean, and the former is usually an insult. There's no acknowledgement that the Burnout style of handling with light, grippy cars and approachable drifting has any value or satisfaction to it. Frequently the conversation also focuses not on how well the game plays, but what features and content are in it too. Does it have customization? Does it have police chases? Does it have a day/night cycle and weather effects? Does it have real world cars/part? Do the cars have "weight"? Is it "realistic"? None of these questions are necessarily bad in themselves, but they are treated as more of a checklist that must be fulfilled, where one option is objectively better than the other, rather than them being appropriate for different contexts and design goals.

I'm starting to feel like this style of thinking about racing games has become a large factor in why the genre itself has been so disappointing for so long. When developers ask what their players want, this is the response they get, and the attitude they're trying to appeal to. When a game's success doesn't rely on how satisfying it feels to play, but how many box-ticking features it has. It's probably part of why a lot of them feel so bland and samey these days too, where true arcade racers are all but extinct. There's nothing wrong with this particular style of racing game, and it can be executed very well too, but when it comes at the cost of pretty much anything else, it makes the genre feel quite boring, and stunts evolution. And it definitely doesn't help when the few racing games that do try some more creative ideas tend to be flops. Although I have to wonder if a big part of that is because publishers expect this, and thus don't give the developers enough time and resources to properly polish the game to make sure they actually create something that feels good to play, and makes good on its ideas too. Games like Split/Second and Onrush come to mind.

I'm not entirely sure what the point of all this was. Partially just to vent I guess. I find it somewhat depressing that there is basically no thoughtful discussion about racing games online these days. And to ask, I'm not just taking crazy pills, am I? I know there are a lot of fellow Burnout fans here, who can back me up on how fun those games are to play, and how their style of handling is valid and very satisfying. Which also gets me thinking, I remember when Dangerous Driving came out and was the hot new thing on these forums for a bit, and it was brought up (by KSubzero I believe) that perhaps that game might have damaged Burnout's reputation because of how janky it was. But I think that NFS might actually be responsible for such a thing. Despite keeping a close eye on each series for ages, it somehow only recently occurred to me that for all the calls for EA to bring back Burnout, the current NFS games are already that. While I was always opposed to the idea, given how EA would surely ruin it, I realised that's already happened through NFS. They just changed the name because NFS sold more. But the same developers, and eventually just the driving style, was carried over to that series, in a form where gameplay was de-prioritised behind more frequent releases and better brand recognition. And loot boxes of course. But because of how poorly NFS has done the Burnout style of things, I wonder if people now simply associate that style of handling with this version of it, having completely forgotten what it was originally trying to emulate. And I suppose the purpose of this is also to ask if anyone else has thoughts on the game, if anyone else is paying attention to it.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Alex79uk » August 26th, 2019, 12:36 pm

I think part of the problem is that decent racing games shouldn't be on this relentless annual cycle, where the difference from one game to the next are so negligible, there's little point updating each year. I lost any interest in NFS many years ago, I think Underground 2 was the last one I put any time in to.

I'm not really a huge fan of arcade racers - with a few (older) notable exceptions, and I don't really like what I call 'dodging traffic' racers either, so NFS kind of loses me twice there.

I think the lack of discussion around racing games has a lot to do with the fact, in my opinion, there aren't really many games worth talking about. When was the last great racing game? Or even the last new racing game? Forza Horizon 4, incredible by all accounts but its a decade old series. Project Cars? It's good, but it's a Gran Turismo knock off. Dirt Rally? Yeah maybe actually. At least it's doing rallying properly and was a tremendous reboot for the series after years of piss poor 'awesome rad bro' Dirt games.

It is a shame, I'd love a new all-conquering racing game (or series) to hit the shelves.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Scrustle » August 26th, 2019, 4:00 pm

That's sort of similar to what I'm trying to say. This situation has perhaps created something of a feedback loop, where shallow criticisms of racing games leads to shallow responses.

But there absolutely is stuff to talk about with these games. While it's true that big innovations are rare, there's still a lot of room to talk about what is there. Talk about what exactly each franchise is trying to achieve, and how well it does that. Like what part of the fantasy of racing cars it is focusing on and why, and how that has been iterated on over time. That is the kind of thing that is missing, and that I think we need more of to really move things forward. Even if a lot of that discussion does come down to many franchises sticking too close to one idea or losing sight of what they were originally good at, that needs to be highlighted if we're going to move past just the feature checklist mode of thinking about them.

I could give some long-winded examples from specific games to demonstrate, but that might be a bit more than is needed to get the point across. But for a simple example, you could look at how Forza Horizon tries to create the "driving holiday" vibe that it goes for, and how it has evolved over time to be more of a perpetual service-based game rather than one with a more static structure. Or how Race Driver: Grid and NFS: Shift both attempted to recreate the raw and visceral feeling of real life motorsport, but through a handling model that wasn't trying to be an accurate simulation of that, instead focusing on audiovisual effects and gameplay feel. Your example of the Dirt games is also another one. Why did they go down those different paths with the series? What was the goal? Why did the Rally reboot series succeed while Showdown did not?

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by KissMammal » August 26th, 2019, 8:14 pm

This might be a little off topic, but I'm really surprised there hasn't been a renaissance of arcade racers yet - it seems like a 'dead' genre in the same way 2d metroidvania was a 'dead' genre until suddenly it wasn't.

I'm sure there is a tonne of nostalgia out there for games like Ridge Racer, Burn Out, OutRun, Virtua Racing etc just waiting to be tapped.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by KSubzero1000 » August 26th, 2019, 9:03 pm

I basically gave up on NFS after Carbon (although I made an exception for the 2010 Hot Pursuit) and have therefore not paid much attention to Heat and the discussion surrounding it, but I'll try to address the state of the genre in a more general fashion, if that's okay.

First of all, it's important to note that a lot of modern players and critics consider responsive old-school mechanical structures to be inherently juvenile and passé and think that gameplay should focus on elaborate animations, an immersive presentation and high-fidelity audiovisual feedback first and foremost. This automatically paints "arcade" racers as the inferior, outdated choice when compared to "simulation" racers. That and the critical and commercial failure of so many titles in recent years might explain why they've been more or less excised out of the conversation by now.

KissMammal wrote:
August 26th, 2019, 8:14 pm
This might be a little off topic, but I'm really surprised there hasn't been a renaissance of arcade racers yet - it seems like a 'dead' genre in the same way 2d metroidvania was a 'dead' genre until suddenly it wasn't.

I'm sure there is a tonne of nostalgia out there for games like Ridge Racer, Burn Out, OutRun, Virtua Racing etc just waiting to be tapped.
That might be because even though they're basically facing the same cultural hurdles that shmups do and Metroidvanias did until recently, they absolutely require a solid AAA budget in order to fulfill their potential. Which means that they're getting the short end of the stick on every front and can't just find a new home in the indie scene unlike those other genres. A lot of indie shmups or Metroidvanias that have become cult classics were developed by very small teams (sometimes even a single person) with a shoestring budget. Horizon Chase Turbo being a notable exception, the same can't be applied to most arcade racers. 3D games are in a completely different ballpark. Nobody is going to design one of those in their garage on the weekend.

Scrustle wrote:
August 26th, 2019, 4:00 pm
I find it somewhat depressing that there is basically no thoughtful discussion about racing games online these days. And to ask, I'm not just taking crazy pills, am I?
You're not taking crazy pills. And yeah, it is unfortunate to see the current scope and state of the conversation surrounding racing games, although...
Scrustle wrote:
August 26th, 2019, 4:00 pm
But there absolutely is stuff to talk about with these games. While it's true that big innovations are rare, there's still a lot of room to talk about what is there. Talk about what exactly each franchise is trying to achieve, and how well it does that. Like what part of the fantasy of racing cars it is focusing on and why, and how that has been iterated on over time. That is the kind of thing that is missing, and that I think we need more of to really move things forward.
...I think this is a rare occurrence in which I might disagree with you, or at least a little. I do agree in the sense that I would also wish for a higher degree of mechanical literacy within video games criticism in general, but I also think that there are very tangible reasons why racing games are being so, for lack of a better word, "under-discussed":

Sim racers, by design, have a much more concrete ceiling of what they can aim toward with each new iteration. The sky isn't the limit, the limit will be when the in-game vehicles and tracks will be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, at which point the genre will have more or less plateau'd, to put it bluntly. Realism and creativity are often at odds with one another when it comes to game design. This year's Nürburgring is "only" a more detailed and higher-fidelity version of last year's Nürburgring, but it's still the same old Nürburgring. There isn't that much to talk about on that front, really. The overarching mission statement of a series like Forza or GT is definitely worth talking about, but once you've crossed that initial threshold, the minute differences between individual games probably aren't substantial enough to generate any in-depth conversations in the long run. I would imagine that a lot of players who enjoy buying and playing the latest Forza every year probably do so as a part of their established gaming routine but wouldn't have much to say about it.

But even arcade racers are more difficult to talk about than one might assume. My favorite (arcade) racing game of all times is F-Zero GX, and honestly, I'd be hard-pressed to write any full-fledged dissertation as to what makes it so great and unique beyond "it feels fantastic to play, the soundtrack is dope and the track design is excellent". There are a few advanced techniques worth mentioning of course, but for the most part, I think this is one of those games whose quality really needs to be experienced first-hand instead of being talked about. Much of the developers' creativity and ingenuity has been poured into aspects that aren't particularly well-suited to an hour-long YouTube analysis.

Even Mario Kart, arguably the closest thing gaming has to a universal critical consensus, is a very straight-forward affair. Each game follows the exact same design philosophy as all the others and tries to implement it in the most polished way possible. People play it and they have a lot of fun while doing so. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's also one of the last remaining genres that still puts no (or very little) focus on the narrative and/or characterization side of things, which limits things even further.

The peripheral elements (cultural significance, gaming landscape at the time of release, development trivia, etc...) tend to be reserved for standout legacy titles such as Outrun. And there aren't any dedicated (offline) arcade racing events and competitions to drum up any special interest either.

So if you combine all of these elements, then the current state of things doesn't really surprise me.


Now let's say (for the sake of argument) that a true GOAT-material successor to Burnout or F-Zero were to come out tomorrow. I'm sure you and I would be ecstatic about it in the same way that we celebrated DMCV being such a rejuvenation and tribute of the genre, but I have trouble imagining it going much further than niche enthusiasm. In comparison, look at a game like Breath of the Wild that can be tackled from so many different angles, keeps so many of its delicate qualities hidden from the player to be discovered over the course of their 60+ hour playthrough and appeals to so many different types of players valuing all sorts of different things. A game like that is always going to make a much more significant impact on gaming culture as a whole than what is ultimately a very niche product aimed at a very specific target audience.

Scrustle wrote:
August 26th, 2019, 4:00 pm
This situation has perhaps created something of a feedback loop, where shallow criticisms of racing games leads to shallow responses.
This on the other hand I completely agree with. Racing games are indeed stuck in a bit of a sad feedback loop. Personally, I would love nothing more than to see them break out of it and fulfill their potential, although I've learned to keep my hopes and expectations in check on that front.


PS: It's getting a bit late and I don't know if all of that answers your question or if I got sidetracked on a dumb rant again. Hope this is at least somewhat relevant! :lol:

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by clippa » August 26th, 2019, 9:11 pm

Shut up about cars and get in the bloody shmups thread already, we're all starving! If you don't choose I'll just go over the road and get us all maggot kebabs from that one star hygiene rated manky pizza shop.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Stanshall » August 26th, 2019, 9:13 pm

I'm pretty sure the recent M2 port of Virtua Racing on the Switch did well. Maybe I just inhabit the kind of echo chambers where it's likely to be celebrated but I only saw people raving about it.

As for the sleeping giant nature of the genre, I can't really understand it either but I can only assume that the games don't sell any more. There's an argument that Forza Horizon simultaneously killed arcade racers and 'open world' racers by doing both extremely well, with unparalleled resources, and increasingly so. Nobody else can or will compete with the scale or graphical heft or the licences, and it continues to be a damn good fun arcadey driving game, albeit one that is a little too realistic and unfocused to really scratch that arcade itch.

I would put DriveClub there or thereabouts, though again it's just a little too close to sim to really be classed as an arcade racer. Other than that, I agree with Alex that Dirt Rally was the last exciting racing game that felt genuinely different but again, way too hardcore to be called an arcade racer. I personally miss Wipeout, with 2097 being one of my all-time faves but that subgenre is simply dead outside of a few indie titles which feel a bit half-baked to me, perhaps they just don't have the resources or QA to refine the handling enough.

One game I've heard and seen a bit of is Distance, kind of Blade Runner mixed with stunt car racer kind of thing. Might be worth a look for PC players. Seems a bit different.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Flabyo » August 27th, 2019, 7:08 am

The current state of racing games is down pretty much entirely to one thing: the last bunch of companies to really go for arcade racing games all died because the games didn’t sell.

Now I can’t speak as to why that was, I didn’t really play Split Second or any of the others of that period, but for some reason then audience didn’t want to play them in sufficient numbers to have paid for the development of them.

There’s clearly a very strong audience for the genre still, even the most bereft of seaside arcade still has a bunch of Outrun 2, Sega Rally 3, Mario Kart etc... cabs on the go. But finding a way to make that kind of game that people actually want to play at home is harder. Some of the viscera is lost without a wheel and pedals (Burnout 2 is near transcendental when played with a wheel, compared to on pad), and those are probably less common than even fightsticks (can you even get official wheels for the XBO and PS4?)

The industry is always cyclical, and once popular genres do often find their way back, but I’m not sure what I’d do myself if I was tasked with designing one at the moment.

(I’d actually quite like to do something with the ‘street racing gang’ setup of Road Rash, but have the other drivers work off some sort of Mordor style Nemesis System, where they have strengths and weaknesses and you build up a personal rivalry, but that’s probably not the kind of thing you’re thinking of)

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Suits » August 27th, 2019, 7:28 am

Flabyo wrote:
August 27th, 2019, 7:08 am
I’d actually quite like to do something with the ‘street racing gang’ setup of Road Rash, but have the other drivers work off some sort of Mordor style Nemesis System, where they have strengths and weaknesses and you build up a personal rivalry, but that’s probably not the kind of thing you’re thinking of.
Road Redemption was cool and fun and had some the things you mention above but lost me after a few hours sadly due to its Rouge Like gameplay.

Honestly, I think there’s just too many options nowadays.

There’s too many subgenre’s and split ideas across the racing games. Which means people have the option to pick the exact type of racer that they want - which means too thin of a spread.

Dirt Rally was an excellent Rally sim, the best there ever was.

GT Sport impressed me with its focused driving and very well designed circuits, which allowed you to learn the tracks and really get to know the game and it’s racing design.

Forza Horizon was just an open world game that gave you a car to flop about it collecting things - the most least of a racing game I can think off. Which seemed to be what a lot of people wanted.

Then you’ve got the Asseto Corsa games, which when used with a proper rig (my mate has £2000 seat and Thrustmaster) can be really engaging but a fuss to set up and play - and physically knackering 😄.

Project Cars was a good in-between game on console but was totally destroyed by appalling controls that broke the game for anyone coming to that game for simulation - which was everyone really.

Then there’s Mario Kart, which is a drift game, which is cool but not really a racer - joe can it be 😄 !!

Racing games for me need to be focused, with well designed tracks that encourage pace and track positioning, that make you learn the principles and appreciation of motorsport. I understand that I’m in the minority here.

Anything else is just lost in that large ocean of ideas and design - for me anyway.

I don’t suppose I’m complaining as such, just sort of laying down my opinion on racing games as I see them at the moment and why I fail to get generally excited by them - as racing games.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Scrustle » August 27th, 2019, 8:45 pm

KSubzero1000 wrote:
August 26th, 2019, 9:03 pm
KissMammal wrote:
August 26th, 2019, 8:14 pm
This might be a little off topic, but I'm really surprised there hasn't been a renaissance of arcade racers yet - it seems like a 'dead' genre in the same way 2d metroidvania was a 'dead' genre until suddenly it wasn't.

I'm sure there is a tonne of nostalgia out there for games like Ridge Racer, Burn Out, OutRun, Virtua Racing etc just waiting to be tapped.
That might be because even though they're basically facing the same cultural hurdles that shmups do and Metroidvanias did until recently, they absolutely require a solid AAA budget in order to fulfill their potential. Which means that they're getting the short end of the stick on every front and can't just find a new home in the indie scene unlike those other genres. A lot of indie shmups or Metroidvanias that have become cult classics were developed by very small teams (sometimes even a single person) with a shoestring budget. Horizon Chase Turbo being a notable exception, the same can't be applied to most arcade racers. 3D games are in a completely different ballpark. Nobody is going to design one of those in their garage on the weekend.
This is something I've thought about too. It does seem like creating 3D racing games it a lot harder than creating other types of smaller games that there is a nostalgic desire to go back to. I think just getting the handling feel right is something that a lot of them might find too much of an ask for such a small team, given how even a lot of AAA devs seem to struggle with it as well. It looks like it's way harder than it seems.

But a few have tried. I happened to be a backer for Drift Stage when that was on Kickstarter many years ago now. It's since become vapourware (although it might be getting a second lease of life soon) but it started off as a really satisfying but simple alpha demo. When it was still being developed, most of the backer builds were focused on simply trying to recreate the handling model, presumably trying to make it a bit more complex and versatile. For a long time it was a mess that wasn't fun to play at all, and only in the very last few builds did it even start to come close to how that alpha demo felt. So I can only assume it was very hard to do, even when you're trying to remake something you've already made.


Sim racers, by design, have a much more concrete ceiling of what they can aim toward with each new iteration. The sky isn't the limit, the limit will be when the in-game vehicles and tracks will be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, at which point the genre will have more or less plateau'd, to put it bluntly. Realism and creativity are often at odds with one another when it comes to game design. This year's Nürburgring is "only" a more detailed and higher-fidelity version of last year's Nürburgring, but it's still the same old Nürburgring. There isn't that much to talk about on that front, really. The overarching mission statement of a series like Forza or GT is definitely worth talking about, but once you've crossed that initial threshold, the minute differences between individual games probably aren't substantial enough to generate any in-depth conversations in the long run. I would imagine that a lot of players who enjoy buying and playing the latest Forza every year probably do so as a part of their established gaming routine but wouldn't have much to say about it.
Sim racers is another thing I've been thinking about, but I didn't really mention it since this was mostly about arcade racers. But yeah, they do have their own problems and limitations. Although I think they generally have it better than arcade racers right now. There are a handful of decent examples, and the subgenre seems to have carved out quite a successful little niche for itself. But the problem is that they all sort of feel like they're converging on the same design blueprint. More box-ticking I suppose. But a different set of boxes, and they're better at doing it than arcade racers. But once you've found one franchise that you like, none of the others feel like they offer anything unique. You only need one sim these days.

---
Stanshall wrote:
August 26th, 2019, 9:13 pm
I'm pretty sure the recent M2 port of Virtua Racing on the Switch did well. Maybe I just inhabit the kind of echo chambers where it's likely to be celebrated but I only saw people raving about it.
As far as I can remember, I've only seen that port mentioned in two places. Here on these forums, and the Digital Foundry videos talking about it. Everything said about it is glowing with praise, but that's it.
One game I've heard and seen a bit of is Distance, kind of Blade Runner mixed with stunt car racer kind of thing. Might be worth a look for PC players. Seems a bit different.
Distance is an odd one. There are people who rave about it, but it's in a very small niche within a niche of indie arcade racers that I feel somewhat bad for not being interested in. They are racers with really creative ideas that try to reinterpret what you do in racing games in a completely new way. That sounds cool on paper, but honestly, it's just not what I want. These games feel sort of gimmicky to me, and like they're taking the focus away from actually driving the car, towards something that basically has nothing to do with it. I can see how that makes me just as bad as the people who demand all racing games to be X and Y, but eh. I can respect Distance, but I want to race/drive cars, not fly them.

---
Flabyo wrote:
August 27th, 2019, 7:08 am
(can you even get official wheels for the XBO and PS4?)
You absolutely can. There's a small cottage industry around them. Except they are very expensive and focused towards the simulation crowd. Like £300-400 as a starting point for something decent.
(I’d actually quite like to do something with the ‘street racing gang’ setup of Road Rash, but have the other drivers work off some sort of Mordor style Nemesis System, where they have strengths and weaknesses and you build up a personal rivalry, but that’s probably not the kind of thing you’re thinking of)
That's a really cool idea! It would work well in Need for Speed too. With how some of the older games had you going up a named list of street racer characters to defeat, they could bring that idea back with the Nemesis System. With the awful green screen effects and dumb hammy acting too!

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by KissMammal » August 28th, 2019, 4:18 pm

That might be because even though they're basically facing the same cultural hurdles that shmups do and Metroidvanias did until recently, they absolutely require a solid AAA budget in order to fulfill their potential. Which means that they're getting the short end of the stick on every front and can't just find a new home in the indie scene unlike those other genres. A lot of indie shmups or Metroidvanias that have become cult classics were developed by very small teams (sometimes even a single person) with a shoestring budget. Horizon Chase Turbo being a notable exception, the same can't be applied to most arcade racers. 3D games are in a completely different ballpark. Nobody is going to design one of those in their garage on the weekend.
Makes sense I suppose. Such a shame though. I would have thought there would be more racing games on Kickstarter - can't think of many outside of Drift Stage.

I really, really miss arcade racing games as a genre, and I have so much affection for the PS1-era Ridge Racer games in particular - the dayglo colour palettes, the vivid cartoonish holiday locales, the cheesy Japanese techno soundtracks, the absurdly grippy handling and addictive drifting mechanics.... I would kill for an HD Ridge Racer compilation on the Switch.

Leon talks about this a lot on the podcast, but I agree that there's something magical about only having a very limited number of really memorable and well designed tracks and really memorising each and every bend. I always much preferred that over having dozens of very similar tracks.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Magical_Isopod » September 7th, 2019, 4:00 am

There's one kind of racing game I want, and that's one where I can drive shitty consumer cars and modify them to be less shitty. Like imagine a Kia Sedona racing with a Ford Tempo and a Pontiac Aztec. And you can give it a Hemi V8. Or raise it like a monster truck. And they all work accurate to the real thing.

I know Gran Turismo is supposed to resemble that, but it still focuses heavily on supercars. I want a game based completely around sleepers and ludicrous mods.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Suits » September 7th, 2019, 9:53 am

Magical_Isopod wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 4:00 am
Like imagine a Kia Sedona racing with a Ford Tempo and a Pontiac Aztec. And you can give it a Hemi V8. Or raise it like a monster truck. And they all work accurate to the real thing.
What, with colossal understeer and messed up weight distribution, that'll be accurate to the real thing - sounds bloody awful to me, just bouncing off the armco.

Racing games are all about balance, like real motorsport.

Often what you think you want, you don't actually do.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Scrustle » September 8th, 2019, 1:12 pm

Ghost Games has put out a blog talking about their approach to the handling model of NFS: Heat, touching on some of the common criticisms that I mentioned.

https://www.ea.com/games/need-for-speed ... lized=true

I'm not really sure what to make of it. It doesn't seem to really commit to much, instead trying to paint this image of the game catering to everyone's demands. But I think that might just result in the same kinds of problems recurring, without a clear vision of exactly the kind of experience they want to make. This isn't the first time they've tried to do something like this either.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by KSubzero1000 » September 8th, 2019, 1:21 pm

Scrustle wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:12 pm
It doesn't seem to really commit to much, instead trying to paint this image of the game catering to everyone's demands.
Deliberately trying to make a 'Jack of all trades, Master of none' type of game that is meant to tick all the boxes pretty much ensures that everybody will have forgotten about it two years after its initial release, in my opinion.

This medium in general (and this genre in particular) is in dire need of strong directorial visions.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by KissMammal » September 10th, 2019, 4:51 pm

Magical_Isopod wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 4:00 am
There's one kind of racing game I want, and that's one where I can drive shitty consumer cars and modify them to be less shitty. Like imagine a Kia Sedona racing with a Ford Tempo and a Pontiac Aztec. And you can give it a Hemi V8. Or raise it like a monster truck. And they all work accurate to the real thing.

I know Gran Turismo is supposed to resemble that, but it still focuses heavily on supercars. I want a game based completely around sleepers and ludicrous mods.
You know what, I'm actually with you on that - have such fond memories of buying a crummy compact in the original Gran Turismo and souping it up to the nines,

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Stanshall
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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Stanshall » September 14th, 2019, 10:57 am

You can do that in Forza Horizon 4, kind of. I got my own car and then tooled it up and drove off a bridge and the like. Great fun.

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Alex79uk » September 14th, 2019, 7:07 pm

You could definitely do that in the earlier Gran Turismo games. It's only really the recent ones that focus on supercars. I remember Forza Motorsport 2 on the 360 being good for that, too. I bought a clapped out Lancia and turboed the shit out of it, and painted a massive Pacman on the side. I used to take it online and leave people standing on the start line, and everyone was always 'WTF WAS THAT!?" :lol:

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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by clippa » September 16th, 2019, 8:17 am

Finally got round to trying out Slipstream, very much like outrun where you let go of accelerate and tap the brakes to start drifting. Feels really nice.

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Scrustle
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Re: Need for Speed: Heat and the Conversation Around Racing Games

Post by Scrustle » November 8th, 2019, 10:54 am

Not sure if it's really worth resurrecting this thread again, but this is pretty relevant I suppose. NFS Heat is coming out very soon and Giant Bomb did a Quick Look on it.



And it looks... fine? Better than the other entries this generation, and with a couple of potentially interesting ideas and a nice visual style. But while the handling does look to be improved, it still looks like it has some of that stodginess from not really knowing what it's trying to be. And an overall a lack of soul and direction, obnoxious dialogue, and an awful soundtrack.

So maybe one to pick up on sale at some point, but still pretty meh. It's not the series finally breaking free of the quagmire its been stuck in, but just a slightly better version of that.

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