This is going to be quick and stupid, but here it goes.
Most racing games do not need a story.
There, I said it!
You know it’s true! I have no idea why companies like EA and Ubisoft waste money on things like voice actors and mo-cap for stories that are just basic revenge plots that you can see coming from a mile away. Oh, Mr. Totally not the villian was the villian all along! Shocking! A big police chase out of nowhere! How orginal!
What happened to just trying to be the best racer in the world- you know, the main focus of what should be 99% of the genre?
Here, let’s do a test. Name your favoirte racing game. It could a realstic sim, or an arcade racer, or even a mascot kart game like Mario Kart. Does this game have a story of some sorts? No? I rest my case.
What do most of these stories boil down to any way? I came up with three main ones
This is the most basic plot in a racing game anymore- last years NFS: Payback and Ubisoft’s The Crew both had a revenge ploy for their racing games- and they did not need them! NFS in particular was fine up until Most Wanted 05- to be fair, it was good cheesy b-movie fun. However, over the years its gotten both ridiculous and pointless- especially NFS 2015 cringe-worthy Sega CD tier live action cutscenes. Like I said earlier, just a waste of resources that could of have been put to actually making a good racing game!
Oh, and don’t get me started on The Crew’s sorry excuse for a story. All I want is to drive across America, Ubisoft- I don’t want to watch a s@#tty poorly-written crime drama starring hipster Gordon Freeman- that’s what prime time television is for!
2. Generic Racing Competition– Another one I see all the time is the generic “High Stakes Racing Championship” plot. This could be seen in games like Test Drive (PS2) (Am I the only one who remembers that game?) and Test Drive Unlimited 2 (which has some of the worst voice acting ever). This usually goes how you expect- you rivals, and spats and what not. Near the end, someone gets hurt, and you think its RIVAL when it was actually FRIEND! DUN DUN DUN!
3. Undercover cop with an axe to grind!– Ironically, a game I just mentioned- The Crew- is pretty much this. However, there have been games like NFS: Undercover where your character is, *SPOILERS* an undercover cop!(shocking, I know!). The Undercover cop trys to buddy up with all sorts of hoodlums and such, who are always split into color coded groups with their own kinds of racing style (Sport, Drag, Drift, etc.) Of course, their are many twists and turns, and we find out at the end of the day, that your player was just two short people in an overcoat. Shocking!
That’s all I have to say about stories in racing games. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some good examples of good racing games stories, like the aforementioned Most Wanted, F-Zero GX and it’s insane story, and who can forget Choro-Q’s insane final chapter?
For the most part, however, I think you don’t really need a story to make a racing good- I think most people like me would just prefer a racing game with solid racing mechanics, excellent track or open world designs, good soundtracks, multiple vehicles to chose from, lots of things to unlock, maybe a track editor thrown in. In other words, the last thing on my mind is a generic revenge plot about some guy I don’t care about, or live action cut scenes full of unfunny jokes that don’t land by actors who couldn’t act to save their lives. Sometimes I just want to drive a car I’ll never own down a highway at midnight- not listen to some street racing crew rattle on and on about the establishment, or whatever.
Can’t you people just shut up so I can drive?
What do you think? Do racing games need stories, or do they actually add something to the game as a whole? Please let me know in the comments!