With announcements and rumours swirling around concerning new games, sim racing fans may have reason to get excited about the near future of the industry. Here are some exciting stories to whet your appetite.
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For a while now, the sim racing market has kept to the status quo. The same names continue to top the charts with very popular titles. But no-one is truly pushing the boundary of what’s possible in the industry.
The Formula One games cover their niche very well. Kunos continues to put out popular content for Assetto Corsa Competizione. iRacing provides a competitive platform for racers to go up against one another online. rFactor 2 is a haven for those looking for the most realistic driving physics around and Automobilista 2 does a fantastic job at immersing the player.
But what if a new title came along and forced everyone to up their game? Rennsport is attempting to do so. But, from what we have seen online in the ESL R1 competition, it doesn’t provide much of a new experience to racing fans.
This may all sound like a downer. But those looking for an all-new racing experience are sure to get excited by a few developments in recent weeks. Set to bring a pair of all-new and exciting titles to the market, these stories may prove game-changing for the sim racing industry.
First, Reiza has paired up with Straight 4 to help develop the new studio’s upcoming title. Second, inside sources have informed us of a new publisher with sim racing experience acquiring the license to so-called ‘endurance content.’ Here’s all you need to know and why you should get excited.
A Reiza-Straight 4 Sim Racing Game
On Friday, founder of Straight 4 Studios and man behind countless legendary sim racing titles Ian Bell announced that his team is partnering with Reiza Studios for an upcoming venture. For several months, the Straight 4 team has been growing and making moves in preparation for its current project. Bringing on the team behind AMS 2 is certainly another assertive step.
In the announcement post on Twitter, Reiza CEO Renato Simioni dubbed the partnership, “an easy decision for Reiza to sign up to a project we believe is going to be the next great sim racing title.” Ian Bell mentioned that this new project will be “fantastic news for the sim racing industry as a whole.”
Originally codenamed GTR Revival, Straight 4 Studios is seemingly on a path to continue in the footsteps of the team’s ancestors. In fact, many of the developers on this new project originally worked on the GTR series of the early 2000’s.
As yet, not much is known about the project. Over the past few months, we finally saw signs of seriousness coming from the development. The studio partnered with the PLAION group to handle the upcoming title’s production. PLAION is best known for being the parent company to Milestone, creators of the current selection of MotoGP games.
Simracing fans should certainly get excited for this project. Not only for the collaboration between Reiza and Straight 4, but also thanks to its attempts to involve the community. Earlier this year, the studio took to social media and its website to host a poll asking fans what series the upcoming title should focus on.
Four choices were available, each with great possibilities for the simracing community. A 1990’s Super Tourer BTCC game was the most modern of the quartet. But the final three all saw the developers go back in time to the 1960’s and 1970’s. These options included the Can-Am and Trans-Am series as well as the more specific 1973 World Sportscar Championship.
With Reiza Studios seemingly well-versed in historic content, this sounds like a marriage made in heaven. In fact, the teams’ relationship has been ongoing for almost two decades.
Reiza and Straight 4: Conjoined Studios
Throughout the last few years, the histories of Reiza and Straight 4 have been intertwined. The Brazilian studio has always stayed true to its aim of creating the ultimate Brazilian Stock Car simulation. Straight 4, however, emerged from the ashes of Slightly Mad Studios, which in turn is a formation of ex-SimBin employees.
Back in the days of the first rFactor title, several external development teams used its ISImotor game engine. Many of these teams created some of the best sim racing games around. Two that put out such projects were SimBin with the GTR series and Reiza with Game Stock Car and AMS.
As one would expect, working on two projects with such similar bases formed a close bond between the two teams. In fact, this bond has continued until today. After the demise of SimBin which later became Sector 3 studios, Ian Bell hired many of his old colleagues and formed Slightly Mad Studios. Whilst this venture also later fell into disrepair, it did give us a pair of revolutionary racing titles, Project Cars.
It’s upon the Madness engine, built specifically for Project Cars 2, that Automobilista 2 bases itself. Today, AMS 2 is a popular sim. Aside from its great variety of content, a lot of that is thanks to the SMS team. In fact, Ian Bell and his team reportedly helped Reiza work out the quirks of the Madness Engine during the game’s development.
Finally, Straight 4 Studios often uses Automobilista 2 to showcase its patented AI technology. Displaying the use of AI in race engineer scenarios and as commentators, sim racing fans got extremely excited when a selection of videos emerged of this revolutionary feature.
Clearly then, these two teams have a close bond. So a partnership between the two makes a great deal of sense.
An Endurance Title in the Works?
As mentioned above, this deal between Reiza Studios and Straight 4 isn’t the only major development taking place as we speak. According to sources within the sim racing industry, an as yet unnamed developer with experience in racing titles has just acquired the license to some ‘endurance content.’
At this time, we are unsure what this licensed content is. However, with the official FIA WEC and Le Mans 24 Hour license going the way of Motorsport Games, we can certainly rule that out. That being said, GT racing and other prototype series are very prominent around the world so there are plenty of series to choose from as the basis for an endurance simracing game.
Whatever this license ends up being, it will surely be fantastic for sim racing fans to get yet another alternative to the established names. Whilst some may worry about the market becoming saturated with so many titles, one can only be excited for the added competition set to elevate game quality all-round.
Does the prospect of new simracing games excite you? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!