With 2023 now firmly in the history books — and you can read our summary of the year if you need your memory jogging — it’s time to look forward to what 2024 should be serving up for racing game fans.
There’s a fair bit coming along in the next 12 months, with some new entries in long-running series set to land (although not exactly, in one case, at the first time of asking) as well as — hopefully — a new name on the block too.
We’ll all be saying goodbye to an old friend that’s perhaps looked on more fondly now than when it launched, while big-name active titles will be scurrying to provide us with more new content than we know what to do with.
On top of all that, there’s continuing suggestions that the console hardware market is about to get a whole lot more interesting too…
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Gran Turismo World Series
The 2020s somewhat robbed the Gran Turismo World Series of its momentum. 2019 had six live events, and going into the Sydney World Tour in February 2020, Polyphony Digital had plans to continue that. Indeed Sydney broke new ground and it was the earliest that a GT live event has ever taken place.
Of course none of that came to pass, for pretty obvious reasons that affected far more besides. The remainder of 2020’s competition was online only, as was the whole of 2021, but 2022 saw a cautious return. The closed-doors Showdown event in July 2022 was followed by a relatively normal Monaco final, and 2023 brought live audiences back in Amsterdam and last month’s Barcelona final.
It’s pretty likely then that these successful events pave the way for PD’s plans for the World Series in 2024 to pick up where 2019 left off with more live events. How many, where, and when isn’t known yet — although Italy has been mooted by Yamauchi himself — but it could be as many as the six staged in 2019 and (to our understanding) originally planned for 2020.
As for the series’ FIA status, the two parties remain in communication (with the FIA’s representatives in attendance in both 2023’s events) and seemingly open to a return to official certification of the event.
Gran Turismo Sport End of Life
One thing slightly less joyous will the the shutdown of Gran Turismo Sport’s online services — although that’s a double-edged sword, as it may make the game more playable for some.
In essence the game’s servers will be switched off, taking anything that requires a connection down with it. That will obviously shutter the multiplayer mode, but also the mileage exchange, and the livery editor.
However the core single-player game will remain accessible and you’ll be able to save progress — which is a step up from how Sport currently plays if you have no internet access…
Assetto Corsa 2
Arguably the biggest thing in the general sim racing sphere in 2024 will be the arrival of Assetto Corsa 2, a little under a decade on from the original title’s full launch.
It’s actually something we’ve known about for more than two and a half years at this point, so it’s to Kunos Simulazioni and 505 Games’ credit that this launch window remains the same — unlike some other titles in this article — even if it has moved from “2024” to “Spring 2024” and now “Q2 2024”. On PC at least.
However in terms of content we’re still in the dark somewhat. We know that Kunos has developed its own engine again for AC2 — as “a technology provider” which “‘accidentally’ we also make racing games” — and that the base title will be at least as good “as AC modded to the heavens”.
What cars, tracks and features the game will contain — and even if it has a career mode — for now remains a mystery…
Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown
Hopefully this will be the final time that we put the third Test Drive Unlimited title in an article predicting the year ahead, as the last two times haven’t been entirely successful…
Originally placed as a 2022 launch title, Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown was initially postponed to 2023 before being pushed back even further to 2024. The good news here is that seems to be Nacon’s final answer now and we can all look forward to racing around a 1:1 recreation of Hong Kong Island pretty soon.
Nacon has recently stepped up the pre-launch information push, and at this point we know pretty much everything except how the game itself plays. Luckily there’s a closed beta coming soon too.
Fans of ultra-hardcore racing simulators should have more options coming in 2024, although the status of Rennsport is presently still unknown.
The title had been originally planned for a full launch towards the end of 2023, but it missed all of its milestones last year and is still in a closed beta phase — although it’s not particularly closed, as beta codes are thrown about like confetti. It has had a relatively successful first year for its Saudi-backed official esports venture, ESL R1.
However the title itself at present contains only eight cars (five of which are Porsche models) and eight tracks. That eighth circuit is a fictional track mod originally created for Assetto Corsa, showcasing in part Rennsport’s modding ambitions…
PlayStation 5 Pro
A hopped-up version of the PlayStation 5 console is the rumor that just won’t go away, helped along by the appearance of the PlayStation 5 “Slim” — once subject to similar rumors — in late 2023.
It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see a PS5 Pro, following in the footsteps of the PS4 Pro console launched in 2016. With the semiconductor shortages that plagued 2020-2022 (among other things) now in the rear-view mirror and the PS5 setting sales records, the timing is certainly right.
However it remains to be seen who or what the console would be for if it does materialize. Various specifications and capabilities have been touted, and while it’s pretty much certain that a “Pro” unit would have considerably more power for existing features — such as 8K, 120fps, real-time ray tracing — the PS4 Pro brought new capabilities rather than just more power.
Annual Releases to Continue… Mostly
As yet we’ve heard little about plans for 2024 from the usual annual-release titles, but you can almost certainly pencil in some dates for ’24 versions of some ’23 games.
Among the most likely will be the rebranded EA SPORTS F1 24, bringing the cars, tracks, and drivers of what’s hopefully a more exciting year in the sport (although to be fair 2nd-20th was pretty engaging most races) including the return of the Shanghai circuit.
Its management sim sibling F1 Manager has a less clear future after a swathe of job losses at UK-based developer Frontier. Indeed Frontier only stated that as far as F1M is concerned it is “developing … plans for 2024” in its recent FY23 financial statement
The one that has us scratching our heads is EA SPORTS WRC. Launching without a number in the name muddies the waters somewhat, as to whether EA plans to keep the 13-year tradition of annual titles or if WRC will be a GAAS platform instead.
More DLC & Expansions
Our two most-popular track racing titles look to be enjoying continued support in 2024 too, with some of the year’s content already confirmed.
Gran Turismo 7 is set for an update this month which will bring the Genesis X Gran Berlinetta Vision Gran Turismo to the game following its launch at the World Final in December. A second Vision car, from high-end jeweler Bulgari, is due to follow at an unknown time too.
Meanwhile the Nurburgring Nordschleife is on its way to two titles this year. Forza Motorsport is set to see the circuit arrive in an update some time in the spring, and we’re likely to see others too as Turn 10 continues to support the game with new cars every month and — thus far — new tracks every other month.
The track — or at least most of it — is also coming to Assetto Corsa Competizione as an improbable turn of events have resulted in the N24 becoming part of a jointly organised calendar between Germany’s ADAC and the SRO to put it onto the Intercontinental GT Challenge rota.
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