Gamers have got a lot to look forward to this year, especially when it comes to titles that focus on auto racing. From the simple fun of arcade-style driving games to sims that put realism at the top of the agenda, here are six upcoming options to ignite your interest.
Touring car games have been a staple of mainstream interactive entertainment since Codemasters made waves with the TOCA series in the 1990s. Two decades later, players will be able to sink their teeth into convincingly rendered action courtesy of GTR 3 from British outfit SimBin.
While this is very much going to be built to reflect the real world track racing experience, with an advanced physics engine making the cars handle and respond as pros might expect, it will not be entirely confusing for newcomers. Less rigorously realistic modes will be available to lower the barrier to entry, while glorious audio effects will bring the cars to life in combination with the crisp visuals.
Rather than forcing players to stick to a specific type of vehicle, Onrush is aiming to open things up and offer a more varied roster than typical driving games. With dirt bikes, buggies and ATVs of all flavors on offer, it will provide over-the-top nitrous oxide-powered action where thrills and spills come thick and fast.
The experienced team at Codemasters are handling development of this game. And winning will not only be about crossing the finish line ahead of the competition but doing so in style. Performing stunts, shunting rivals into obstacles and generally indulging in high-octane automotive mayhem will be the name of the game.
Onrush is set to arrive on both the PS4 and Xbox One later this year, with a PC port also planned. There is no solid release date yet, but this frenetic-looking racer should touch down before the end of 2018.
Set to release in February this year, Gravel is a game that goes off the beaten track with its off-road courses and sturdy selection of heavily modified, fully licensed cars. From mud-choked woodland trails to sun-blasted desert sands, it promises to offer various grueling environments and hundreds of different events for players to tackle.
It may sound serious and have a no-nonsense name, but the developer Milestone has softened the edges of the gameplay itself to make Gravel more accessible than its earlier efforts. That means the controls should be straightforward to master and even casual fans of driving games should be able to jump in without running straight into a punishing learning curve.
Some driving games aim to cover every type of competitive racing experience, which can dilute the quality of individual motorsport events. Drift 19 stands out from the crowd by honing in on one thing and one thing alone; drifting. In fact, it claims to be the first title of its kind to deal solely with this flamboyant pastime.
This is no half-baked homage to the third Fast & Furious movie. It is an in-depth drifting simulator that allows players to tweak and tune every aspect of a virtual vehicle to optimize its ability to go around corners sideways. The announcement trailer, released last year, shows the impressive extent of its component-tinkering ambitions. Currently scheduled to go live on PC gaming platform Steam in November this year, it may have niche appeal written all over it but could build a healthy hardcore audience over time, given the popularity of the drifting scene.
The Crew 2
This straight sequel to the 2014 original is set to follow the same formula that fans have come to expect, albeit with a cavalcade of tweaks and improvements to make its open world racing experience more streamlined and enjoyable.
Sports cars are just part of the story this time around, as many more new vehicle types have been added to the mix. Players will be able to hop aboard speedboats to blast across the open waters or jump in the cockpit of a jet to take to the skies for aerial adventures.
All of this plays into the innate freedom that The Crew 2’s design embraces. Online play and social interactions will once again let people get together and work for common goals, not just battle to the end for individual glory.
TT Isle of Man: Ride On The Edge
If watching calm country scenery turn to a blur as you power past at 200 miles per hour is your idea of fun, then this intense sim will let you experience the terror and exhilaration of the Isle of Man TT without putting your life on the line.
Most of the biggest names from the real world event are included in this game, along with the bikes they pilot and the teams they represent. With every single inch of the actual course painstakingly recreated in the game, it will definitely help with fantasy fulfillment.
**Katie Green is a game designer with a big passion for writing about the video games industry. She is obsessed with cars, planes, and starships and really hopes that someday life on Earth will look like life in the Star Trek saga.**