Former Bizarre dev: next gen can save the racing genre

New tech will add "another level of immersion and quality".

A new round of console hardware can help bring the spluttering racing genre back to life, so says former Bizarre Creation design manager Gareth Wilson.

Speaking in an interview with OXM, Wilson - now in charge of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed at Sumo Digital - argued that racing games are often more reliant on cutting edge tech to impress potential customers than other genres are.

"We need a new console. Racing games always do well when a new console comes out, and you do a new physics engine and improved graphics," he explained.

"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," he continued.

"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.

"So with the next hardware we should be able to create features with another level of immersion and quality."

Elsewhere in the interview, Wilson also suggested that underperforming racers like Bizarre's Blur or Black Rock's Split/Second - which both contributed to their respective studio's downfalls - should now be considered niche titles. As such, he argued, they would have sold better if they were released as downloads.

"Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations, the fundamentals of the racing genre have changed significantly. Although we made a substantial investment in creating a new IP, Blur, it did not find a commercial audience," he said.

"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."

For more on Wilson's current project, head on over to our Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed preview.

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