A little while ago I wrote a document outlining a cool idea for a new racing game. At the time I was thinking of where the PGR franchise might go next, given that the original developers (and my previous employer) Bizarre Creations was now defunct. My thought was that it would be interesting to go into the near future, taking the same kind of street racing but making it a bit more interesting with the addition of high technology.
Near-Future Racing Outline
Thirty years from now, racing will have radically reinvented itself. Organised race sport has moved into the cities, providing the spectacle of Monaco every single weekend. Strict rules have been relaxed to provide maximum thrill for the huge crowds. Super secretive car manufacturers unveil their latest concept cars on the starting grid, and their drivers are some of the biggest celebrities on the planet.
You are a rookie driver on the city racing circuit. Join a team (Ferrari, Lotus, BMW) and drive their latest and greatest concept cars to victory. Tour the world of the future and race through both familiar cityscapes as well as newly developed districts. Drive your advanced vehicles to their limits, and become the greatest driver in the world.
- The present: Formula 1 is increasingly moving to cities, and is proving more popular than bespoke circuits.
- 5 years from now: Most of the F1 season takes place in city circuits
- 10 years from now: Radical rule changes lead to more street-based cars, with varied specs and capabilities. The era of all cars looking the same is over.
- 15 years from now: New racing leagues break away from F1, creating business rivalries and a change of attitude: entertainment is king.
- 30 years from now: The sport is almost unrecognisable from today, with various high-powered street cars racing around closed-off city circuits.
This game sits firmly between arcade and simulation. It has a detailed handling model and relatively realistic physics, but is set in a world of near-future fantasy. It can be summarised as “street racing in the year 2040”. All of the racing is grounded in reality (no rocket cars, no driving up walls, no powerups), and the game should catapult the player into a believable near-future world.
Location examples: London, New York, Shanghai, Delhi, Moscow, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Dubai, Johannesburg, Sydney, Seoul, Monaco, Tokyo.
The world’s most glamorous cities (and the best up-and-comings), all expanded and enhanced with the projected advances in architecture and technology over the next 30 years.
YES: next-generation skyscrapers; steel & glass, unusual shapes and designs, incredibly tall. Next generation roadways, realistically integrated into the existing street systems. New bridges and tunnels added. New high-capacity highways, possibly stacked on top of existing roads. Huge new elevated flyovers, drive-through “lobbies” of the largest commercial buildings and hotels. Extensive integration of new public transport systems (used to provide visual wow moments - trains flying past, passenger VTOLs overhead). Tracks are dressed with next-gen racification such as lasers, projections, very large banners, and video walls.
NO: loop-the-loops, corkscrews, or other unrealistic track configurations. Also no to spaceports or nuclear missile silos or any other unbelievable city construct.
Ideas for London Circuit:
The race starts alongside the River Thames at Westminster. Another London Eye wheel has been built next to the existing one. An elegant and futuristic double-decker bridge stretches over the river by the Houses of Parliament. Most noticeably, a huge new maglev train system has been built running along the river (it’s a high-speed link to the new Estuary Airport). As cars line up on the starting grid a train flies past at 400mph, blowing dust & paper over the racers. Enormous video walls dominate the riverside skyscrapers, advertising whatever technological marvel is an essential purchase this month. At one point the track dives underground into a new tube station unloading area (taxi rank?), with the platforms/tube trains visible through clear perspex walls.
Ideas for Honolulu (Hawaii) Circuit:
The race starts along the famous Waikiki beach. Immediately visible are several huge new hotel skyscrapers, some with completely transparent fronts to provide the best view of the beach. To avoid ruining the view the city planners haven’t widened the beach road, but instead built a completely new underground layer below it. There are several on-ramps to transfer between the levels, and when taken at speed these will propel race cars into the air. The track goes through the (expanded) Honolulu Airport, and onto one of the closed off runways. However, the rest of the airport is still open - it would be economic suicide to close all the runways during race weekend! As such, there are huge airliners landing and taking off during the race. Next-gen passenger VTOLs land right next to the track, ferrying their important passengers to their spectator positions. The track also visits Pearl Harbour (still home of the US Pacific Fleet of the future), where the racers get to glimpse the most advanced aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers in the world.
Ideas for Los Angeles Circuit:
In 2040 the LA city authority have finally realised that they need to build public transport, after their road traffic problem became unmanageable. Virtually every highway now houses at least one active Maglev track in the central reservation, and in many cases the actual path of the roadway has been compromised as a result. This makes LA a technically demanding course to drive, with roads dodging between train stations, helipads, pedestrianised zones, and new bus routes and shelters. The car isn’t king in LA anymore, but it has made the downtown area a much more interesting race track as a result.
Ideas for Monaco Circuit:
Built around the roads of the legendary Formula 1 circuit, this track is still the jewel in the crown of the racing world. The Monaco road planners are less concerned with practicality, and lean more toward providing a spectacle to the race-going public. Large sections of the harbour are now filled with the latest playboy craze: floating casinos. These stunning buildings are built in the style of the grand casinos of old, but using cutting-edge materials to give them a neo-contemporary feel. Huge next-gen pleasure boats sit in the harbour, with private helicopters and VTOLs constantly landing and taking off from their decks. The most noticeable addition to Monaco is a vast new bridge over the harbour, built for high-speed traffic to bypass the inadequate cobbled streets of the city itself. The bridge is a spectacle in it’s own right though; it is built entirely from transparent material! Driving over the bridge is experience enough as you peer down into the water below, but racing at 250mph across it is something else entirely…
Ideas for San Francisco Circuit:
There is always a need for traffic to cross the San Francisco bay from the city to Oakland. At present the two bridges - the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge - are constantly choked with traffic. Perhaps in the future there has been a breakthrough in materials technology, and now it is possible for tunnels to be laid down on the seabed underneath the bay. This would solve many of the cities traffic problems (multiple new, high-speed roadways) as well as providing an amazing area to race in. The materials themselves could even be translucent (like a scaled up version of the walkways you see at aquariums), revealing the shadows of boats on the surface above. You’d catch glimpses of the silhouette of the Golden Gate bridge from beneath the waves, and then blast out onto the surface and double back to cross over the famous landmark itself.
An organised sport, with huge fanbase and international appeal. Everything is believable and grounded in reality.
YES: player joins a race team (manufacturer or corporate sponsored), season-based racing format (and single player career mode). Each race is a huge cultural event for that city/area. Driving model is realistic, but exaggerated to account for future technology. “Powerups” can be utilised in certain cars, i.e. advanced KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) in the BMW E3. However, these “powerups” are always technology-based, grounded, and believable.
NO: destroying opponents, fatalities, smack talk between racers, projectile weaponry.
Manufacturer examples: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes, BMW, Lotus, Bugatti, Maserati, Pagani, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini.
Imagine the next generation of cutting-edge concept cars; the vehicles our children will dream about. They should be realistic (no rockets or jet engines), insanely desirable, and have a clear development path from present day production vehicles.
YES: KERS devices, advanced wings/spoilers, electric or hydrogen powered engines, airbrakes, next-generation airbag systems (internal and external?), computer-assisted steering & braking, next-generation ABS systems, next-gen cooling systems (and associated big intake valves), coloured carbon fibre, movable parts (to assist high-speed driving or cornering), super-strong transparent materials (“bubble” domes?), advanced hazard detection on windshield, detailed paint jobs and liveries.
NO: flying cars, jet engines, driving upside down, unbelievable acceleration/braking/top speeds, energy shields, missiles or offensive weaponry.
Car idea: Ferrari FZ65
The grandchild of the Ferrari FXX project, this angular and aggressive-looking race car was built for the track. It’s front scoops and tiny headlights are reminiscent of the FXX, as is the boxy rear section. The most striking addition to the car is a comprehensive computer-controlled airbrake system. 55 movable panels slide away from the bodywork independently; all helping the car to corner. Under heavy braking (i.e. at the end of a straight) all of the panels automatically flip open, giving huge braking capacity and making the car look like a giant red puffer fish! As this car is driven around the track there is an audible CLICK CLICK CLICK as the flaps deploy and retract under instruction from the computer. The entire surface of the car appeals to move and ripple, and in bright sunshine the reflections give it a beautiful glimmering appearance.
Car idea: Lotus Esperante
A logical progression from popular two-seater sports cars like the Exige, the Esperante improves on the classic design with an automated spoiler system. When the vehicle drives over a certain speed the onboard computer unfolds an additional two rear-spoilers. These flaps curl open like an exotic plant, taking 1.5 seconds to fully deploy. Once open, the spoilers provide additional down force for cornering as well as an impressive visual spectacle. The most talented drivers will take manual control of the spoiler system, constantly opening and closing the flaps to achieve grip through corners, whilst minimising drag on the straights.
Car idea: BMW E3
The latest and greatest electric car from the master engineers at BMW. Not only does the E3 boast the most efficient drive on the circuit, it also recycles spent braking energy in it’s next-generation KERS system. This impressive speed boost can take an experienced driver from middle of the pack into pole position. The only downside of this impressively high-tech system is the amount of heat generated, leading to large and distinctive air intake fans on the front of the vehicle. The KERS battery is charged under braking, but drivers must manually activate the enormous cooling fans several seconds in advance to achieve an optimal boost.
Car idea: Bugatti Uberon
Desperate to get back to their world-beating glory days of the Veyron, Bugatti have spent recent years in private testing away from the race circuit. The result of this extensive R&D period is the B7 internal combustion engine; perhaps the pinnacle of fossil fuel based engine design. It’s also one of the noisiest and most powerful machines on the planet. The Uberon is built entirely around this engine, and has the greatest top speed of any road car in existence (326mph). It looks the part too, with huge fuel tanks and thunderous exhausts protruding from it’s streamlined bodywork.
Car idea: Lamborghini Cavallo
Resembling the stealth fighters of yesteryear more than a sportscar of 2040, the Cavallo is the ultimate example of style and speed in one well-engineered package. New for this year’s model is a complete carbon-fibre bodywork, coloured in the traditional Lamborghini yellow. The angular faces and sharp edges make this vehicle look both intimidating and hugely capable in the right hands. Advanced manufacturing techniques have allowed the entire bodywork and frame to be created from one solid piece of carbon fibre, ensuring superior strength as well as a visual appearance which is sure to turn heads.