Where the MotoGP games come close to reality
Moto GP 21

Where the MotoGP games come close to reality

Three reasons why MotoGP is the most realistic motorcycle game on the market – and where it needs improvement.

Photo credit: MotoGP 21 / Milestone S.r.l.

Let’s be honest: The MotoGP games won’t ever be as close to reality as games such as iRacing or the Formula 1 franchise. Players of car racing games will always be able to create a deep immersion through their hardware setup with wheels and pedals. They basically use the same instruments as in real life, so no other simulation can come close to this level of real-life replication.

MotoGP is no exception and is limited to the gamepad as the main input device. But even with that precondition, developer Milestone S.r.l. has put a lot of effort into creating a game that comes as close to real motorcycle racing as possible. Here’s how the MotoGP games do a good job at delivering the spirit of their real-world counterpart – plus a few areas where improvement is still needed.

Detailed, life-like physics

First off, a racing game stands and falls with its driving physics. While developers of other bike racing games tended to make steering the bike with your gamepad very easy and accessible, Milestone went the other way around.

Over the years, the studio worked on bringing the physics as close to the real world as possible. In MotoGP 21 for example, a new tyre wear and fuel management system will challenge the riders. During the 2020 Virtual Grands Prix, several real-world MotoGP riders were surprised how close the game actually comes to reality. Even though it is played with a gamepad.

However, there is still room for improvement. Pro rider Christian ‘Williams_Christian’ Montenegro Sanchez recently explained to OverTake how in MotoGP 20, some riding styles were far stronger than others. He hopes that the balance will be better in the upcoming instalment, and so do we.

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They are hard to master

Whoever joins the MotoGP franchise as a player realizes one thing very quickly: these games are very, very challenging. Especially those who come from casual (car) racing games might stumble upon the difficult mechanics of the game. Just a small error on throttle or brake are enough to throw you off your bike. The steering and leaning system need time to be learned, and even more time to be truly mastered.

The detailed driving physics, combined with the limited inputs a gamepad provides, make a mix that is unique in esports racing. The players need to be on the edge for their entire ride and the margin for error is far smaller than in a lot of other racing esports. MotoGP players might not be able to replicate reality through their equipment like iRacing or F1 players can. But the level of challenge and competition certainly is as hard as it is in real life.

More realism off the track

However, a racing game is not all about the physics. MotoGP is a big circus, and the races are just a part of it. For those who do not only appreciate the riding, but everything else that defines MotoGP, Milestone has been adding more and more features over the years. From developing the bike to analysing the data of the past races: MotoGP’s career mode tries to be more than just a quick skip from one race weekend to another. The technical development of the bikes and good management have become more and more important.

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But there is still room for improvement here since the career mode is not as detailed as it is in other games. We would love to see something like F1’s My Team in MotoGP as well. And there are several other aspects where MotoGP can still step up.

Problems to overcome

Moto GP is not the perfect replication of reality yet. The games still have some big issues which we hope will be fixed in MotoGP 21. First off, the AI does not feel natural. In single player, you often get unseated from your bike because an opponent wouldn’t change their racing line. Overall, the AI still rides rather recklessly, and the racing does not feel very smooth at some points. A smarter artificial intelligence would make the game considerably more enjoyable and realistic.

Also, MotoGP looks great during the races. But once you get to cutscenes or race previews, you might start to wonder if you’re still playing the same game. To round out the overall experience, the developers should give this part of the game some love and a polish.

Over the years, Milestone have put a lot of effort into making the MotoGP games mimic the real-world as much as possible. Besides physics, and the incredible challenge, the game also benefits from its superb graphics and the official licenses, which add a cool flair. MotoGP has been the pinnacle of motorcycle racing for years and hopefully will address its flaws to deliver a realistic riding experience in the future.

Do you think that the MotoGP games are realistic than ever before? Tweet us your opinion over @overtake_gg or leave us a comment down below!