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LONG BLOG

Dear developers: this is why the racing genre is dying

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Yesterday, Grim posted an article about Black Rock Studios saying that the racing genre is dying. I don't disagree, but I can offer an idea as to one of the possible reasons behind it.

See that image above? Four different racing games, developed by three different studios. One features ATVs. One revolves around rally racing. One has more traditional street racing. One has not been released yet. The problem? I had to look up all of that information, because off the top of my head, they are all indistinguishable from one another.

Somebody, somewhere though it'd be a good idea to give a racing game a curt, four letter title. It's short, it's uncomplicated, and it'll stick in the consumers' minds. Unless, I don't know, all the other racing games out there do the exact same thing.

What's worse is that most of them don't really imply racing, and half of them don't really make sense at all. Fuel, I'll concede, makes some sense. It takes fuel to drive a car. Got it. DiRT makes sense if you already know the game is about rally racing, and the box art conveys that just fine, but the title itself could easily be on an ant simulator. But Pure? Pure what? Pure could mean anything. Grid might actually be the worst of the bunch; as it conjures an image of a slow-paced strategy game, rather than the street racing actually involved.

When I think of non-Mario Kart racing games, the two that come to mind first are Project Gotham Racing and Forza Motorsport. Now, I can't say much for how much sense either of those two titles make (Project Gotham had me thinking I'd be driving the Batmobile and I don't even know what a Forza is), but at least they let me know what I'm getting into. Racing. Motorsports. All right, got it. And more importantly, the titles can't be confused with one another, or with anything else.

So my message to racing game developers is this: please stop with the single-word four-letter titles for your games. I have already ignored these four and I lump them all together in my brain despite that they are all presumably different from one another. What about you guys, have you gotten any of these confused?
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About Darren Nakamuraone of us since 2:29 AM on 11.06.2006

Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011.

While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strategy, and rhythm games, he takes particular interest in independent games. He produced the Zero Cool Podcast for about four years, and he plays board games quite a bit when he can find willing companions.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Darren Nakamura knows several people in the video game industry, most of whom are Destructoid alumni. These include:

Anthony Burch, former writer for Gearbox Software
Ashly Burch, notable voice actor
Nick Chester, publicist for Harmonix Music Systems
Chad Concelmo, writer for Golin Harris
Aaron Linde, writer for Gearbox Software
Jayson Napolitano, publicist for Scarlet Moon Productions
Brad Nicholson, former publicist for Uber Entertainment
Alex Ryan, publicist for Kalypso Media
Jim Sterling, notable voice actor

Darren backs a lot of Kickstarter campaigns! If you want to see what he has backed, you can go here. If he ever reviews a game that he backed, that will be explicitly disclosed in the review.

Darren invested in Psychonauts 2 on Fig.
Xbox LIVE:Dexter345
PSN ID:Dexter345
Steam ID:http://steamcommunity.com/profil
Mii code:1257 7687 3747 6405


 

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