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For Tim Sweeney, advancing Epic means racing into AR and VR

Epic Games chief Tim Sweeney sits down with Gamasutra in a wide-ranging conversation about everything from the Unreal Engine’s future focus on AR and VR to his own passion for land conservation. …


Gamasutra News

Wipeout Omega Collection Is Racing Toward PS4

During the PSX conference earlier today, Sony revealed that a new HD Wipeout collection would be coming to the PlayStation 4 next summer. 

Based on the trailer that Sony showed, the Omega Collection looks as blazing fast as the you remember. The whole package includes the tracks and ships from Wipeout HD, Fury, and 2048.

We'll post the trailer as soon as it's live.

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NASCAR Heat Evolution Review – The Return Of That Racing Spirit

A name can mean a lot in stock car racing. Earnhardt. Elliott. Petty. These are names that carry through the ages of NASCAR, speaking to the sports' love of tradition even as the tech and rulebook change from season to season. In the world of video game NASCAR, Monster Games has such equity. The makers of the NASCAR Heat series and Dirt to Daytona have been away from the sport for a while, but a racer never forgets how to compete. NASCAR Heat Evolution is a rebirth for the developer but it's not a reinvention. The game hits the ground running with a career mode and 40-car online multiplayer, among other amenities, but a few hiccups and omissions make it a good restart rather than a trip to victory lane.

While big name drivers and bankrolled teams usually do well on Sundays, stock car racing is ostensibly about giving the whole field the tools to compete. You get this sense when racing in the game, and it's one of the title's thrilling achievements. The A.I. takes different racing lines out on the track, and adeptly reacts to what's going on at any given moment so there's plenty of competition no matter where you are in the running order.

Sometimes the high line worked for me, and fellow travelers would join me going around the track up near the wall. Other times moving out of the race groove lower down at the inside of the track meant a three- or four-car freight train would blow by me, punishing me for my mistake. While sometimes there are just slower cars in your way,  the A.I. is good and racy without being stupidly aggressive.

In effect, the mix of hard-charging to the front and the gaining and losing of spots throughout a race is exactly what you want out of your Sunday races in real-life as well as in a video game – even if you don't always take first (depending on the difficulty/assist settings, of course). I like having to judge each corner and pack of cars individually, giving me something to think about each lap and race. Because, like in all racing, consistency is the key – and all it takes is one bad line through a corner before your rear view mirror is filled with someone else's hood.

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One way to get a great sense of the clawing and fighting each lap is to play Evolution's career mode. You start out with a car and organization hard-pressed to make it into the Chase, but the mode does a good job in awarding you enough sponsorship money even if you don't make it into the top 10 each race. You use this cash to improve various aspects of your team shop, thereby granting you a little more horsepower or downforce each step of the way. By the middle of my first season I felt I could put in consistent top-20 finishes and threaten for some wins every now and again. By the second I knew I was going to make the Chase.

Evolution does well with its gameplay and career mode, but both have their blemishes. I fiddled with the brake sensitivity setting but was never really comfortable on the brakes. When I wanted to rely on them at tracks like Richmond, Martinsville, or New Hampshire, I kept slowing down too much, smoking the tires, and then the camera would annoyingly pull back. In the end I learned to coast around corners more, which just isn't as fun and tense as using every part of your machine to survive a short track slugfest or road course epic.

The sponsorship/team facilities loop sustains the career mode, but more work is needed to make the career mode a destination. Customizable paint schemes, teammates, rule bending, and an upgradable crew chief and pit crew would make your team feel more personalized and not just a linear series of financial steps. Bolstering the game's so-so presentation would also help give it some more NASCAR feeling. Crashes aren't replayed or highlighted during races, the Chase and its buildup could have more gravitas, and driver personalities need to be tapped.

While the career mode does just enough, the online portion isn't as fleshed out. Stability was one of the developer's primary concern, and while at the time of this writing the experience is better than recent NASCAR titles (including 40-car racing if you can find it), there aren't leaderboards or a captivating meta-structure to create a true sense of accomplishment (although you gain Speed Points that unlock challenges elsewhere). Also, strangely, there's no way to separate those who want to race with the assisted physics versus simulation ones.

NASCAR Heat Evolution is a good first step for Monster Games as it reconnects with the sport and its own heritage. It's not an unqualified success, but it's the kind of points racing that gets the job done and which helps build toward that championship. It has that competitive spirit that a racer has to have, and that's not something that can be taught – it has to be inside of you the whole time.

This review pertains to the PS4 and PC versions of the game. It's also available on Xbox One. 

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‘Cunning Stunts’ Update Adds Over-The-Top Racing Action To GTA Online

GTA Online's next update arrives next week, transforming the streets (and skies) of Los Santos into a thrilling playground for stunt racers. The Cunning Stunts update arrives next week, and you can catch a glimpse of what's in store for you in an all-new trailer.

The clip below shows off some of the highlights, which include giant tubes to drive through, perilously high landings, and quite possibly the largest bowling pins you may have ever seen. Or crashed into. The Cunning Stunts update also adds new super cars, sports cars, motorcycles, and stunt-themed apparel. Look for it on July 12.

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Running for a niche: Why and how I made a horse racing game

“Having worked at EA and Zynga and seeing how aggressive big companies can be when you compete with them, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with any business that they would be interested in.” …


Gamasutra News

Game Freak’s Pocket Card Jockey Blends Solitaire, Horse Racing, And Animal Husbandry

Pokémon developer Game Freak is reminding fans it isn’t a one-trick pony. The studio released Tembo the Badass Elephant last year, and it has something galloping to 3DS in May.

Pocket Card Jockey is a blend of solitaire and horse racing. As players clear cards from the board, they’ll give their thoroughbred a burst of speed.

Horses will level up and, eventually, you’ll want to retire them to a farm. Once you have a couple of aging racers, you can breed them to continue the winning lineage.

Pocket Card Jockey is coming in May for 3DS.

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Codemasters Talks Hardcore Rally Racing In Dev Diary

DiRT Rally has been out on PC for a few months, and Codemasters is now moving towards their console release of the game. In a brand new developer diary released today, the team discusses the gritty details of bringing back hardcore rallycross simulation.

In the video, which you can watch below, Codemasters goes over the process of making a focused and challenging rally racer in the vein of their earlier Colin McRae titles. It further shows how input from the DiRT community helped shape the core ideas behind the game, and how it tries to emulate the concentration and endurance that real rally racers need to win.

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The stages in DiRT Rally are recreations of real-world roads, and were individually photographed on-site to imitate the terrain, curvature and weather conditions of each track in the game. Members of the real-life rally racing circuit also informed the design of the cars and the way they feel during gameplay.

The game's successful run on Early Access lead to its full release on PC in December of last year. It is now coming to PS4 and Xbox One on April 5.

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Mario Kart Collides With Star War For The Ultimate Racing Game

If Nintendo is looking for a new direction for its next Mario Kart game, I wouldn't be apposed to this.

Check out this fun video from Dark Pixel that envisions Mario Kart with Star Wars ships. If you like this, watch someone beat Super Mario Galaxy using DDR Dance Pad, and then read our list of the strangest kart racing games of all time.

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Why racing games aren’t winning on mobile

“Need for Speed: No Limits is stuck in its low spot on the top 100 grossing chart, with only occasional bumps to top 50, which are driven by in-game events and sales.” …


Gamasutra News

The 8 Strangest Kart Racing Games

Some games are so ripe with potential and innovation that it's inevitable that they lead to a neverending chain of clones. You know the ones. Doom. Civilization. Zork. Grand Theft Auto III. Final Fantasy. Mario Kart. Wait what?

I mean, I know Mario Kart is a great, classic series but it just doesn't seem like the kind of game that developers everywhere would be attempting to shamelessly copy,  but there have been a lot of Mario Kart clones, y'all. And some of them are really, really weird (but not Crash Team Racing because Crash Team Racing is sacred). Let's check out the strangest ones, shall we?

Woody Woodpecker Racing

Oh hey yeah! A kart racing game based around Woody the Woodpecker. Everybody knows that guy! And the memorable supporting cast of characters. Chilly Willy!  And Buzz…uh….Buzzard (I'm sensing a pattern here). Woody Woodpecker Racing debuted in 2000 to lukewarm reviews, probably because it was more of a churned out marketing product than an enjoyable racing game, which is sadly the case with a lot of kart racing games.

Muppet RaceMania


The Muppets never had much luck with their video games, but one of the more enjoyable outings was this kart racing game. It doesn't do anything radically different from Mario Kart, but it's fun zooming around as Kermit or Miss Piggy. Still weird though.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing


The All-Stars Racing series isn't bad at all. In fact, Racing Transformed is pretty great. Still, for those who grew up playing Sonic (hi, me) both seeing and playing the blue hedgehog as he drives a car is a bit odd considering he's freakin' Sonic.

Inspector Gadget Racing


Released in 2002 for the Gameboy Advance, Inspector Gadget Racing wasn't half bad! It played well and looked nice and colorful on the GBA's screen. Definitely an odd property to turn into a kart racing game though. But the best games often come from the strangest places, I guess.

Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing


You knew this was going to be on here, didn't you? How could it not? After the genuinely great Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, Bombad Racing turned out to be a goofy disaster that wasn't enjoyable in the slightest. Also, Big Head Amidala is scariest thing to ever appear in the Star Wars universe.

Smurf Racer


Yep. The Smurfs had a kart racing game. Like most of the stuff on here, it wasn't very good. Oh well. One day we'll get our interactive masterpiece about little blue people. It'll probably be a MOBA.

Konami Krazy Racers


Ever wanted to race around a track as a small version of Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid or Dracula from Castlevania? Krazy Racers is the game for you then. Released for Gameboy Advance in 2001, this is actually one of the better portable racing games out there. If you've got a Wii-U and you missed out on this back when it was released, you can grab the game off the Virtual Console now.

Garfield Kart


As if poor Garfield hadn't had enough merchandise-related woes fall
upon his furry head in recent years, here comes this odd,
mediocre-at-best iOS game released in 2013 that was, for whatever
reason, ported to both 3DS and PC in 2015. That's nearly a decade since
the last Garfield movie! Who is this game even for!?

Did I leave any weirdddd contenders off? Let me know in the coments!

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