Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed chief designer Gareth Wilson says that next-gen consoles are needed to breathe new life into the racing genre. Wilson, formerly of Bizarre Creations and currently with Sumo Digital, has had a hand in Project Gotham Racing 3, Project Gotham Racing 4, and Blur. He understands the difficulty in releasing racing titles into the marketplace and he believes a technology jump is necessary.
"We need a new console," he told OXM. "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."
"Moving from PGR2 to PGR3, I remember when we did the PGR3 launch, we invited all you journalist guys and we were playing it. We said, 'and now we're going to an in-car view,' and it was a fully-modeled Ferrari dashboard and there was an intake of breath from all these cynical journalists. That would've been impossible on the previous hardware."
Kart racing games need less graphical tech than a simulation racer, but Wilson insists they can still benefit from a next-gen boost.
"So with the next hardware we should be able to create features with another level of immersion and quality. We're talking about simulation racers here - this game is a completely different racing experience but even so, there's stuff we can do with this generation that we couldn't before, and with the next we can make everything that bit more awesome. Racing games need that."
Wilson says that titles like Blur and Motorstorm are a niche now, and would probably do better as download-only games.
"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."