Gamescom opens its doors to the media tomorrow, August 21. While it doesn’t offer quite the mountain of racing titles as last year’s show, there’s certainly some quality pickings here. Plus, this year’s crop of racers covers a wide spectrum, from sim to arcade, and even Nintendo’s Switch.
We’ve rounded up the best the European gaming expo will have for racing game fans this year. Have your own list? Sound off in the comments!
More Forza Horizon 4 Info
Playground Games’ fourth Forza title — and first wholly under the Microsoft Studios umbrella — is set to be the biggest racing title of the year. It follows one of the highest-rated games this generation, 2016’s Forza Horizon 3. That game was a hit with players too, recently hitting a massive nine-million player count.
Set in the United Kingdom, FH4 will introduce changing seasons to the franchise. That should make mastering the 450+ cars in the game that much more of an undertaking.
Speaking of the cars, we’ve got a good idea of the list, as the game has been the target of multiple leaks over the summer. The latest ones showed off plenty of interesting cars new and old, while Bond cars seem to be part of the package too. The Halo Warthog will return, possibly with its own mission.
Despite these leaks, we’re more excited for the game, not less. With a little over a month remaining until launch, we’re hoping Playground Games officially confirms at least some of that huge list. Word of a demo could really capitalize on the hype, too.
Horizon 4 will be up for an award at the show: It’ll be going up against F1 2018 in the Racing Game category. Why’s Codemaster’s latest not on our list? Easy: we’ve already got our hands on it, so expect our review very, very soon. In the meantime, read our interview with game director Lee Mather.
GTR 3 Hands-On Previews
This was one of the biggest — and most welcome — surprises leading up to this week. An errant tweet confirmed the game would be on the show floor, and it was the first we had even heard of GTR 3 in 18 months!
Even more exciting, it sounds like GTR 3 could be recreating the World Endurance Championship. The original announcement suggested as much, though perhaps worringly, Catalyst has since deleted it, replacing it with a shortened tweet without any WEC mention.
Either way, GTR 3 will feature time-of-day transitions courtesy of Unreal Engine 4. It’s expected to lean heavily onto the sim side of the genre. Its predecessor, despite being over a decade old at this point, is still remembered as a high-water mark by many sim racers. This time, it won’t be PC-exclusive either: GTR 3 will be a multi-platform title, whenever it does release.
We’ve got high hopes for SimBin’s latest, and can’t wait to see it in action.
Ford’s Not-So-Secret New Vehicle — But For Which Game?
Oh, Ford. Last week, the Blue Oval teased the first-ever car reveal at Gamescom. It wouldn’t name the vehicle in question, but there was a honking big image of the new Ranger Raptor jumping a ramp at Goodwood tied to the press release. Really subtle, guys.
If that isn’t a huge red herring, the question then becomes which game will feature the new baby Raptor. Ford said it’s coming to a “forthcoming racing video game,” which rules out the current crop of racers. The easiest answer would be Forza Horizon 4: Turn 10 has a good relationship with Ford, featuring the GT and F-150 Raptor on the covers of FM6 and FH3, respectively.
But there’s a snag: the press release states the digital version of the new vehicle will enable “gamers to push the vehicle to its limits on virtual racetracks.” Maybe we’re taking that too literally, but Motorsport is the series with the race tracks…
Gear.Club Gets a Switch-Only Sequel
Like the GTR 3 news, this caught us by surprise. The original Gear.Club Unlimited only arrived on Switch last winter, and we weren’t exactly enamoured by it in our review.
Nonetheless, Eden Games is back in the saddle for the sequel. It promises over 1800 miles of track for players to explore, and GCU2 will naturally add new cars to the mix as well. Most notable so far is the inclusion of Porsche — remember when it was the rarest of marques in racing games, instead of Toyota? How far we’ve come in two years.
Gear.Club Unlimited 2 will only be available at Gamescom during the media days, so expect more info on it in the early half of the week. The game will launch, only on Switch, before the end of the year.
It wouldn’t be a gaming convention without some unexpected showings. We’re not expecting a new Gran Turismo or a brace of new systems, but that doesn’t mean there’s no potential here.
For sim racers, 505 Games will be present at Gamescom this year. That’s the publisher behind Assetto Corsa Competizione, which enters Steam Early Access September 12. Given the proximity to that date, we think 505 will be eager to show off its gorgeous new racer in motorsport-friendly Europe.
Meanwhile on consoles, there’s been a lot of rumors lately surrounding Microsoft’s Elite controller. The original is three years old at this point, and while it’s a niche product, it’s a very satisfying one. If your the type of racer that flits between genres and therefore finds themselves occasionally on a pad, you could do a lot worse than an Elite.
Gamescom opens its doors to the press on Tuesday, August 21. General admission is from Wednesday through to Saturday, August 25.