While technically the eleventh What I’m Waiting For, this is the tenth non-special volume of the series. There are three games I’m crossing off my Waiting For list, and three new ones being added to it, making this the largest What I’m Waiting For article since the series started. Hitting the double digits is kind of a big deal, after all. Although there is another reason for this.
With E3 looming near, it makes sense to clear a few of those games from the waiting for list before plenty more get added. See, with the E3 specials, there’s no crossing games off the list, so without doing this, it will be loaded. But you’re adding the same number of games that you’re crossing off, you might be thinking, but… you’ll see when we get there.
The first I’m crossing off the list is Watch Dogs: Legion, the fantastic rendition of London exploration game. Okay, okay, there’s more to it than that, but the map is the reason I was most looking forward to it. It’s fun to drive around the map, sneaking into places to find a few collectables, and using what you have at your disposal to cause mayhem. It might be limited compared to the previous game, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had in doing so.
The story, on the other hand… There’s fun to be had, I won’t lie about that. In doing story missions or even the recruitment missions, I’ve had fun. But there’s no connection to be felt with it. I’ve already talked in my first impressions about the discrepancy that comes in recruitment missions when bringing in family members, but the main story also has that lack of connection. Oh, it’s good, for sure, but it’s unlikely you’ll remember any of it after you’ve finished.
There’s a chapter called Family Business that involved a thought-provoking storyline about implanting human minds into robotics so that they could live forever, which I found to be moving. But when a few days had passed, I found I remembered very little of said story. Everything about it feels as though it’s happening around you, despite the fact you’re in the middle of it. That’s the lack of a connection I’m talking of.
For Star Wars Squadrons, I was excited to get into it, and I have enjoyed my time with it, but there’s no denying after that initial excitement my investment in it slid off a cliff. That one singular mode (technically two with dogfight) can only hold attention for so long. I’ve had my fill of it, and while I will have fun with it again whenever I return, I expect the investment time to be half of what I got out of it last time.
And then there’s DiRT 5, which has given a lot of great tracks to race around with an arcade feel to the driving. I’ve loved every part of this, with its variety of tracks each presenting their own feel. In particular, I enjoy the snow tracks just because it’s something that rarely is seen in most games (or at least the ones I’ve played). Sure, Forza Horizon’s seasons and GTA Online’s Snowfall event bring such, but not to this level.
The Playgrounds mode I’ve not really been playing as much as I thought I would have. It’s still a great mode to have full of community creations, but I’ve found myself enjoying the regular tracks too much to spare much thought for playing such. On the occasions I do, though, I find myself invested in trying out as much as I can, sometimes even setting myself time records to beat.
The first game added to the Waiting For list, then, follows on from DiRT 5. In fact, all of these additions do. They’re all racing games. Revealed last year in July, we’ve finally got a new Test Drive Unlimited releasing. Solar Crown is set to bring more high-end luxury car culture to a 1:1 scaled map. With the Solar Crown Championship making a return, there’ll be plenty of events to take part in, and building up your social status around… wherever it is we’ll be.
KT Racing are the developers behind this one, who I’m sure will deliver a game worthy of the Test Drive name. The WRC series has been going strong for many years with this team in control of it, and while yes, you could say a rally game is different to an open world driving game, I have confidence they can pull it off. We’ll all be able to see more of it come July, which is when the latest teaser confirmed we’d be getting more news.
With the first What I’m Waiting For, I had picked two franchises, and devised a few basic concepts for things I’d like to see. Future additions in the series took a more direct route in talking of already announced games, but for this tenth regular volume, I’m bringing such a thing back. E3 is close, meaning there probably won’t be long until we find out whether such concepts are close or wild fantasies.
The focus here is on the two of the big three I’m currently invested in. Microsoft and Nintendo. I’m not going deep with these concepts as they’re just meant to be basic ideas to think of. And for the first of each of them, I’ll be looking at something we’re very likely to get. For Microsoft, that’s the next Forza Horizon. With Nintendo, Mario Kart is the obvious choice.
The Forza series since 2012 has been rotating between a Motorsport and a Horizon title every year, until Horizon 4 released in 2018. Motorsport went on a hiatus, having missed its expected 2019 release, and then Horizon misses a 2020 release. The obvious reason for this is that titles are being readied for the current Series X|S consoles, and the announcement of a new Motorsport during 2020 confirmed such. All that’s needed is confirmation of a new Horizon.
This year seems like a great bet, but will it truly be next gen? Playground Games probably won’t have access to the next-gen ForzaTech engine, but it should still be. Or at least I hope it would be. Making the largest, most diverse map seen yet would be something of a next-gen challenge, after all. I’m not going to speculate on the where, but I’d like to see a location that brings a lot of beautiful landscapes while out in the open country.
For a wild concept, I’m picturing an on-foot racer. One that’s open and free. A Crackdown without the combat. Or at least not gun combat. Think how Crackdown is like. You’ve got superhero-like powers of super high jumping, air dashing, and quick running, and more, with a few time trials around each of the games. Spin such into its own game. Have a load of races within a map that has a lot of verticality through the buildings that make up a city.
But then, expand that out. Have more than just the city, making sure that the abilities of the racers can still be used to their full potential. The flow of the game needs to be free to get the right feel for such a game, with no rigidness present at all. If programming AI to be racers proves too difficult for such an open game, have such racers be ghosts of other players instead.
For Nintendo and Mario Kart, I’ve talked about ideas for such in various articles, but there’s still more I can mention with it. This one should improve on 8 Deluxe in all aspects. We’ve seen refinement across the board starting with Mario Kart Wii, with mechanics such as the new way of gaining boost from drifting, along with the addition of gliding, underwater driving, and anti-gravity. Now wouldn’t be a good time to throw all that away to reinvent itself again.
Expand the series in other ways. New ways to play being the obvious one. Race Battles – that I’ve talked of before – would easily give plenty of new chaotic rulesets to enjoy. Seeing the return of Mission Mode would give a lot of different ways a solo player can experience the mechanics of the game, and perhaps even allowing two player co-op challenges as well. Even just new ways of displaying races in a tournament and how the results are determined would add something to the game.
For the wild concept from Nintendo – MySims but with Miis. Specifically, MySims Racing. Crossed over with ModNation Racing, of course. MySims Racing offers the semi-open world style of the likes of Crash Team Racing and Diddy Kong Racing that people want to see from Mario Kart, while ModNation Racing brings the absolute wealth of customisation in kart, character, and even tracks. Miitopia has already shown one aspect of that with how Miis are handled within it, so bring that across to this game.
As for the tracks, people love creating. Give them room to make single races, but also their own mini world that links a maximum of five tracks together. Allow creators to go wild with it. While the space for creating such maps wouldn’t be too large, it would still give a lot of room for that space to be full of things that make it feel like a world you’d want to be exploring. If creators wanted, they could also make it so the tracks are part of that world as well.
Come E3, we’ll see whether the two safe bets are confirmed, and those two will be wiped off the Waiting For list in the second E3 special. Not because I’m no longer waiting for them, but because as soon as they’re announced, I’ll definitely be getting them. As for the two wild concepts, I’ll find the time to expand upon them in the future, as it is unlikely they’ll be featured at E3 (although I’ll be absolutely surprised if something like them are). What does get featured at E3 is sure to be good, with something for everyone.