Friday, January 8, 2010

Is the Wii Capable of a True Simulation Racer?

John Marine | 1/08/2010 02:45:00 AM | |
While Sony has Gran Turismo, Microsoft has Forza Motorsport, and PCs have... well, take your pick; there isn't yet a decent sim-type racing game for the Nintendo Wii. What you're reading is a blog entry concerning if there will ever be that true, standout sim racer exclusive to the Wii that can compete with Gran Turismo and Forza. I explain and envision what would be a great sim racing game CONCEPT for the Nintendo Wii. Could it ever happen? Or what would be the closest to the best sim-type racing game for the Nintendo Wii? I'm talking sim-style racing games, so I'm going to discredit titles like Mario Kart Wii (which I love) and even the Need for Speed games available for the Wii.

The best accessory for Wii racing is the Logitech Wii Speed Force, shown below. Read more about it by clicking on the image below:

The Wii does not have that kind of exclusive and great sim racing game. About the only game a bit close to a proper Nintendo-exclusive sim racer would be GT Pro Series, but GT Pro Series is very mediocre. I'm talking about if there will ever be that exclusive kind of killer app that gives the Wii a premier sim racing title.

NOTE: If you're going to think something like, "the Wii doesn't need a sim racing game. We already have Mario Kart Wii," then this is not the blog entry for you to read.

--- Wii Sim Racing Concept: Gran Turismo-Style Game ---
Nintendo hasn't had a Nintendo-exclusive simulation racing game series since the GT Advance games for the Game Boy Advance. My favorite Nintendo-exclusive sim racing game of all time is "F-1 World Grand Prix" for the Nintendo 64. Because Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport follow the same model with varying degrees of execution, someone would think that a Nintendo-exclusive sim in the realm of GT or Forza would be just another pretender.

Key elements of a Gran Turismo-style sim would be these:
* many cars of many manufacturers
* many types of cars from many manufacturers
* suites for customizing and tuning
* many tracks covering various disciplines of motorsport (road racing, oval racing, rally, drifting, etc.)

Many would feel that the gaming world doesn't need another Gran Turismo clone, but at least this one would be a model that would greatly suit Nintendo gamers. Such a game would connect people with real cars with as realistic of handling dynamics as possible. An advantage of racing with the Wii is that you could make precise left and right steering motions to turn the wheel, which is much more efficient than using an analog stick. The one thing I wonder is if you could have really long races or have lots of precision in steering and handling. That Logitech Wii wheel I mentioned earlier does look like it can handle some awesome racing.

--- Wii Sim Racing Concept: Multiple Motorsports ---
Games in this department of sim racing are very sim-oriented. While there isn't total concentration on one kind of racing, there are many kinds of racing types where the handling capabilities of each racing car is very realistic and purely unforgiving. Such games include the ToCA Race Driver series and the RACE games by SimBin.

Is this very likely for a true Wii contender? It would depend. There has to be a racing experience that can only be made possible for the Wii. Think of a game where you could do kart racing, rally racing, racing in single-seat formula cars, touring cars, and sportscar racing... all in one game. It would be a great concept for the Wii if only the Wii could be capable of a game that can harness a truly unique experience with the Wii's performance capabilities.

Also consider other racing sims, like motorcycle racing games, boat racing games, drag racing, and things like that. They can also play a role in a proper sim for the Wii.

--- Sim Concept: Specific Series ---
The concept of a specific-series sim is that there's only one or more specific kinds of racing and doesn't allow for other kinds of racing. Such an example would be a Formula One game, whereas you only race F1 race cars. While such games wouldn't allow you to race any other kinds of cars, the performance can be only so limited.

--- Other Considerations ---

Mii Support? It would be crazy, but imagine if you could use your Mii as it's visible in the car. Mii support would be a moot point if Mii models would be replaced with real models. A Mii in a properly-styled car would be very weird, don't you think?

Sensitivity? Because Wii motions are very precise, one has to wonder what it would be like to have control over how much steering input you make with racing machines in Wii racing games.

Translating PS3/XBOX 360/PC Racing Sim Quality to the Wii. Whatever the game would be, it would have to be a title that brings a quality experience the likes of real racing and real sim games to the Wii.

--- Likelihoods of a Wii Sim Racer ---

Two factors are at play here. Do you go for a racing sim that would put Gran Turismo and Forza to shame with amazing-quality cars and handling, or do you go for a simulation-type racing game that still exhibits the witty appeal of the Nintendo Wii? You could actually use your Mii in Mario Kart Wii once you get to access them.

My best guess would be (if you're using Mii) a game that still has the amazing appeal Wii games provide. Think of a game that has simulation-style dynamics, but all cartoonish-looking. Think of a Mii driving a Honda S2000 with the convertible top down on a race track. You'd have to set the proportions correctly for something like this to materialize successfully. It would be strange to imagine a Gran Turismo-style racing game for the Wii with the Wii's witty appeal, but it would be fun to see happen. Perhaps it could be cars vs. bikes like in Mario Kart Wii, only more sim-oriented for the Wii. That could also be possible. Imagine a Mii racing on a Honda CBR1000RR against another Mii on a Yamaha R1.

The chances of more serious racing sim with EVERYTHING realistic would depend on how game developers take advantage of the Wii's performance capabilities and build a complete racing game around it. I am not sure how the processor would fare for a game with enough visual detail and physics as rFactor, GTR, the RACE games from SimBin, and games like that.

Can you envision a proper Wii sim racer? Is there a good one already? What would be the best simulation racing game for the Nintendo Wii? Will there ever be a great sim racing title to meet or beat Gran Turismo or Forza (as far as console sims go)? Comment at will!
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