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Xbox 720, PlayStation 4, and the return of the racing game

| May 1, 2012

Xbox 720, PlayStation 4, and the return of the racing game News PlayStation Xbox  Xbox 720 PS4 EA Activision

This generation saw one of its most renowned racing developers shuttered, when Activision closed Bizarre Studios.  The development house which was responsible for modern classics, like Project Gotham Racing, Geometry Wars, and most recently, Blur, saw problems with the extended life cycle of the current generation hardware.  Mainly, the extended time gives developers less room to innovate, and could be one of the main reasons that the once popular genre has suffered in recent years.  With the next generation on the horizon, the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 could bring about a renaissance period for the genre.

“We need a new console,” said a former staff member of the studio in a recent interview OXM.  “Racing games always do well when a new console comes out, and you do a new physics engine and improved graphics, but towards the end of a console cycle it’s always quite hard to push racing games, I think, because if you’ve DiRT 1 do you need DiRT 3?  If you’ve got PGR3 do you need PGR4?  I’m not so sure.  It really relies on technology, the racing genre.”

New physics engines, improved graphics, racing games always do well when a new console comes out“Moving from PGR2 to PGR3, I remember when we did the PGR3 launch, we invited all you journalist guys and we were playing it. We said, ‘and now we’re going to an in-car view,’ and it was a fully-modeled Ferrari dashboard and there was an intake of breath from all these cynical journalists. That would’ve been impossible on the previous hardware.” So with the next hardware we should be able to create features with another level of immersion and quality,” he continued. “We’re talking about simulation racers here – this game is a completely different racing experience but even so, there’s stuff we can do with this generation that we couldn’t before, and with the next we can make everything that bit more awesome. Racing games need that.”

Nintedo is set to lead off the next generation offerings with its Wii U this year, and with a whole new way to play, its tablet control scheme could definitely offer developers the much needed room for innovations.  After that though, the unannounced next generation consoles like the Xbox “720” and the PlayStation 4 look to be the next pit stop for the racing genre, and that’s not going to be for at least another year, and likely more.

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  • njb

    Its not always about having the best tech. The methods and how you code are more important. Devs r still pushin the current consoles by being clever. New methods and different techniques.

    Maybe because they cant be arsed to make a new engine from scratch. It is activision

    • Joe B

      “Clever coding” is actually “tons of extra man-hours”, which translates to greater production costs.

      The new systems need to come out so the developers have some more elbow room.  They need the ability to spend less resources (time and money) programing to exploit every little nook and cranny that the outdated hardware allows, so they can spend time creating new content instead.

      More importantly:
      PC gamers are suffering now because outdated consoles are setting a low benchmark.  Why would developers make games that they can’t sell on consoles too?

  • Boygenius

    Please stop referring to Wii-U as next-gen. It’s not. It’s an Xbox 360 with Nintendo on the front and a controller no one wants.

    • Guest

      The Wii-U is totally next gen your just too ignorant to see that. it has better processing power than the 360 and PS3, plus it has quite possibly the best controller ever designed for a console. Maybe your just one of those graphics whores that judges whether a next gen console is next gen by its graphics. I’m not a nintendo fanboy and I haven’t owned a nintendo console since the SNES but I’m really excited to see what Nintendo does with their next gen console the Wii U.

    • Randomperson

      It’s 2X as powerful as a 360.  Modern low-end hardware surpasses 7 year old hardware. Are you surprised?

      The Wii-U is more powerful.  Get over it, it’s new hardware (7 years newer) those old consoles are relics at this point.  They simply aren’t impressive anymore.  The Wii-U will be FAR more impressive than current Gen.  Will it keep up with the X and P’s next iteration of consoles?  Probably not.  Still, it’s a welcomed change of pace.  Wii-U will be fantastically better at 2x the performance (including RAM).

      • I476682

        Exactly. Then, Nintendo can upstage Sony and MS at the beginning of the next next generation…vs PS5 and Xbox 1440. They can come out to market 2-3 yrs ahead of them by then with something better than 720, PS4, or Wii U. : )

    • For some reason I was expecting some kind of genius from your comment.  Guess life is full of disappointments.

    • King

       @yahoo-2HGOVJINBNL26ISOR3KLO2YOYI:disqus Boygenius

      You know for someone that is named Boygenius you just made a really bad comment, the Wii U is next gen, stop being a troll/fanboy

  • Egg_Yellow89

    Im not sure if the pricetag will be “better” aswell. 

  • Joe

    Didn’t the writer even think about what he was writing and err quoting. The platform tech has nothing to do with the physics engine per se. That falls in the coding domain and how best to utilise whats available in the hardware and in particular the (in the case of Sony) PS3 architecture. The idea that racing games only do well on new tech is utter nonsense. The difficulty that the racing genre has faced has more to do with market trends and developers running out of ideas for keeping a game fresh and appealing, which is what determines whether you’ll buy the next PGR.

    As far as ”
    the extended time gives developers less room to innovate ” another bowl of garbage soup. Some of the best and innovative games on PS2 arrived at the end of its life cycle when finally devs managed to find clever ways to harness the awkward resource of the platform. Remember 
    God of War 2, 
    Shadow of the Colossus add your own here;Will developers welcome the arrival of Next Gen, of course, we all like new toys.. but PS4 in particular is promised a much easier dev environment and this will be welcomed by us devs!

  • Franciscobaeza

    i like cheese

  • this only justifies if you´re intending to sale a game like test drive unlimited 2 or forza (horizon in this case), where you´ll need people playing it for about 2 or 3 years away.

  • MedicalMoose

    May the Schwartz be with you… =D

  • Kegkeeler

    wii u controller is basically the ps vita more or less a rip off of sony!

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