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Racing games "need next generation" says Blur designer


Martin Bigg On May 5, 2012
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Former Design Manager Gareth Wilson from the defunct Bizarre Creations has spoken out about the current state of the racing genre, proclaiming that next generation hardware is needed for racing games to evolve. 

Speaking to OXM, Gareth, who previously worked on the Project Gotham series and is currently Chief Designer for Sumo Digital's Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, believes that "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. Maybe more than other genres."

Recalling his work on PGR3, he cites the revolution of fully rendered dashboards, a feat that was impossible for previous hardware at the time.



He also turns his attentions to the fledging arcade racing genre, referring to titles such as Blur and Split/Second which led to the closure of Bizarre Creations and Black Rock Studio due to lackluster sales. 

 

"Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations, the fundamentals of the racing genre have changed significantly. Although we made a substantial investment in creating a new IP, Blur, it did not find a commercial audience," he said.  

"The problem with Blur, Split Second or Motorstorm is they're probably just a bit too niche for the modern market. They'd probably do great as downloadable titles but the market just isn't there any more."

It's a crying shame that both Blur and Split/Second commercially flopped, as they were genuinely innovative titles that never got the spotlight they deserved in the racing genre. Ridge Racer Unbounded seems to have suffered the same fate sales-wise unfortunately, but the upcoming Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed shows that the arcade racing genre hasn't run out of innovation just yet. 

What are your thoughts on Gareth's views? Do you think the racing genre needs next generation hardware to be noticed again? Leave us a comment below, or you can comment on our Facebook page

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Comments

Travis Petrovic On 2013-01-14 02:59:04
Travis Petrovic

Blur was born from necessity and not the first choice of Bizarre Creations. The issue for Activision and Bizarre was Codemasters won the F1 licence from Activision. BC were bought on the hope they would recreate the magic that was Formula One and F1 '97, when the F1 licence disappeared, BC had to make something and the bods at Activision decided a car racing game with power-ups was given the go-ahead.

According to people who know ex-BC staff, Blur was largely developed by the corporate suits at Activision with an emphasis on COD perks and levelling up system. During this time, the staff turnover rate inside BC was at an all-time high. There are amny interesting articles about Bizarre Creations on websites such as Edge and other UK publications that chronicle the years of Activision ownership.

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Alan Boiston On 2012-05-06 19:08:02
Alan Boiston

I don't think the hardware was the issue with those games, instead a misdirection of focus from publishers and developers. Out of touch with their audience, they haven't been listening to the demands of that audience and hence paid the ultimate price.

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