Is the NASCAR licence changing hands?
Image credit: Motorsport Games

Rumour: Is the NASCAR licence Changing Hands?

Rumours suggest that Motorsport Games’ exclusive NASCAR licence could be coming to an early end and several studios are looking to create their own title. Which studios would make the best NASCAR games? Here are our picks.

Last night, a clip of Insider Gaming reporter Mike Straw talking about Motorsport Games emerged. During the clip, he mentions that he is aware of a number of game studios are in talks with NASCAR with the aim of producing officially licenced games.

Indeed, Straw goes on to suggest that Motorsport Games’ exclusive licence deal is set to come to a very early end. The major development company took over 704 Games – and with it, the NASCAR exclusive licence – in 2018. Since then, an exclusive deal for official NASCAR games been signed until 2030.

But, according to Straw, it seems NASCAR itself is looking elsewhere, with an announcement looming if Straw’s claims are to be believed.

Whilst unconfirmed, the story has got us thinking. Which game studios would we most like to see put together a NASCAR title? Well, we’ve come up with a short list of top candidates.

Codemasters NASCAR Career Mode

An incredibly important, and yet sometimes overlooked, element of racing games is the offline playability. Introducing game modes that will entertain those not looking for hyper-competitive online sessions is key. With its fantastic career modes, this is something Codemasters – and now EA – does very well.

Indeed, one of the main attractions to recent F1 games is the My Team mode which sees players not only compete as a driver in the World Championship, but also run their own team. This would surely translate brilliantly into NASCAR where teams are often far smaller than their status would indicate. They rarely feature manufacturer ties and money comes from marketing, a mechanic that would fit well in an official NASCAR game.

Elsewhere, Codemasters has long been very good at putting together titles that feel fun both on a pad, and on a wheel. Nailing this compromise if often a key selling point for console racing games. As a result, we can certainly see the Codies/EA conglomerate working on a NASCAR game with an official licence.

Visual Concepts NASCAR Game

Back in the early 2000’s, NASCAR didn’t feature an exclusive licence with any studio. Instead, almost any team could ask the series for its blessing and put out its own game. It’s fair to say this lead to some interesting concepts. The most outlandish of which was NASCAR Rumble.

Whilst developed by EA Sports, this was a title that set itself apart from any title the developer produced at the time. With shortcuts, power-ups, action-packed races and many fantasy circuits that did not feature on the real world calendar. Indeed, it performed most like an arcade kart racer akin to Mario Kart or Lego 2K Drive.

With that in mind, Visual Concepts, the team behind Lego 2K Drive may well be the perfect studio to create a fun, arcade NASCAR title. Sure, NASCAR Arcade Rush was recently announced as a similar style. But add in the modularity of car construction featuring in the Lego game and you may manage an impressive creation.

Of course, one wouldn’t use Lego pieces to create cars in a NASCAR game. But include car parts both internal and visual from the entire history of the sport and allow players to create anything from a mix-and-match monstrosity to a work of art and they are sure to have a ball. The online possibilities for showcasing creations and racing with friends are endless.

iRacing/Monster Games NASCAR Licence?

Last but certainly not least on this list of studios we would like to see making a potential NASCAR game is iRacing and Monster Games. Indeed, the former took over the latter early last year and the pairing has already put out a brilliant title, World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing.

Bringing the thrills of short track dirt racing to consoles, it does a great job of blending simulation physics with console gamepad playability. Not only is it a fun game to drive on, it also has numerous features that make it worth playing again and again. The career mode is certainly great, resembling that of Codies’ F1 games. But the AI models is what really makes us want a NASCAR equivalent.

Much like the AI system in iRacing, the game features several statistics for each in-game AI driver. It simulates the effects of age, one’s aggression, reactions, consistency, speed and many more attributes. Put together, this provides a great sense of immersion that would really work well in a NASCAR title.

Overall, the more title the merrier. In no way do we want to see Motorsport Games lose its licence completely. If the team can pull off another title simulating the championship, we would be very happy. Providing more choice to us, the fans, additional games will only force the industry to elevate its quality.

Next week, MSG is hosting its Investor’s Call covering Earnings in Q2 of this year. Hopefully then, we will find out more about these as yet unconfirmed rumours.

What do you make of NASCAR licence rumours? Which studios would you like to see make a NASCAR game? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

Passionate about motorsport, simracing is my perfect escape, a way of forgetting the world around me and pretending to be battling out on-track. Writing has always been a love of mine and when I am sharing my passion with the wider world, I am truly happy.