Eight great ideas the racing game genre stole from first-person shooters
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5) The immersive first-person view
First-person shooters have become more and more immersive thanks to little touches like carefully-animated hands, gun recoil, shaky camera, and more. Racing games seem to be getting in line, quickly adopting many of the same touches to create more immersive experiences. From the subtle first-person touches of the Shift series to the detailed interiors of Forza cars, the classic viewpoint of shooters is getting even better in racing games. Now if only I had my own Oculus Rift…
6) Capture the Flag / Team Games
Online multiplayer racers have some issues, whether they’re arcade games or simulators. As a result, many of these games have introduced clever takes on first-person shooter gametypes like capture the flag and king of the hill, giving players a way to get all the crashing and burning out of their systems. Does that stop most players from using the car in front of them as a makeshift emergency brake? Not at all, but it’s a nice diversion.
7) An entire game engine
Battlefield 3’s Frostbite engine was so sexy when it was first released that other developers within EA started using it for their own games. As a result, we got Need for Speed: The Run, which often looked like a racing game on a Battlefield map. The “Destruction 2.0” even showed up in scripted events like avalanches. The real DICE stamp of approval on The Run was that it even featured BF3’s washed out color palette. Remember when every Unreal Engine game looked exactly the same? Now we just need a Plants vs. Zombies game on the Frostbite Engine... Oh, wait.
8) Single-player, Multiplayer, it’s all the same!
Upcoming first-person shooters like Titanfall, Destiny, and The Division are blurring the lines between single-player story and multiplayer action. The Crew, a next-gen racing game from Ubisoft Reflections, is poised to offer a similar experience, putting the single-player campaign and multiplayer racing into the same massive, open world. But the truth is, this concept more likely found its roots in racing games after all, with Test Drive Unlimited’s blend of open world driving and seamless multiplayer. Unfortunately, TDU didn’t make much of a splash, so it doesn’t get much credit.
When developers all look to their genre peers for ideas, the resulting homogenization leads to stagnant sequels and me-too clones. We saw it in racing games, where every racer strove to deliver realism and a boring, dry sequence of events. We’re seeing it now, where every FPS insists on the same old Call of Duty progression system. Developers in the racing genre smartly started looking elsewhere for ideas, and, as a result, the games aren’t nearly as dull and ubiquitous as they used to be. That’s a lesson any game franchise can take to heart.
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