The story of GRID 2--and why a racing game needs a story

Unlike most racing games, GRID 2 has a narrative that explains why you're driving these fancy cars--and why winning actually matters so much. But, Codemasters isn't trying to ape EA's Need for Speed: The Run.

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Unlike most racing games, GRID 2 has a narrative that explains why you're driving these fancy cars--and why winning actually matters so much. But, Codemasters isn't trying to ape EA's Need for Speed: The Run. Instead, GRID 2's story is more about creating a believable setting--one that explains the merger of the game's various racing disciplines.

At the heart of GRID 2 is "World Series Racing," a fictional racing league that's attempting to make a name for itself at the beginning of the game. Its goal is to be the MMA of racing: to see who is the best overall racer across multiple racing styles, whether it be street racing, formula racing, drag racing, etc.

The player's role is to make a name for WSR by becoming the star it needs. In GRID 2, fictional multimillionaire Patrick Callahan has tasked you with going around the world, recruiting car clubs and earning the support of sponsors. From the start of the game, you'll operate from your suburban home garage, with access to the game's first tier of cars.

The first season of racing will take place in America, as you and Callahan try to make a name on your home turf. ESPN takes notice, and chronicles the evolution of the WSR through live-action scripted sequences starring Sportscenter's Kevin Connors and motorsports analyst Toby Moody. Presented as a real ESPN telecast, these vignettes do a good job of making the experience that much more believable.

Success will eventually lead to taking the WSR internationally, giving an excuse for GRID 2 to jump across America, Europe, and eventually Asia. Along the way, players will have to master the different regional styles of racing. Eventually, as the WSR grows, the racing experience will drastically change. For example, in the first season of WSR, races are rather no-frill events. However, in latter seasons, you'll see everything plastered in (fictional) adverts, and the tracks will have hundreds of spectators on the side. You'll see flares and fireworks--all to emphasize the WSR's transformation into a big-budget spectacle. Even your garage will transform, moving from suburb to city, expanding with every trophy you collect.

While GRID 2's story mode may not be the greatest innovation in racing history, it does an excellent job of bringing together the disparate elements of Codemasters' game. And while the variety showcased in GRID 2 is commendable, there is a notable omission in an otherwise-comprehensive game. Unsurprisingly, off-road racing is nowhere to be seen in the WSR, because as Codemasters pointed out, that's territory reserved for Dirt.

GRID 2 will be available on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on May 28th.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 14, 2013 9:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, The story of GRID 2--and why a racing game needs a story.

    Unlike most racing games, GRID 2 has a narrative that explains why you're driving these fancy cars--and why winning actually matters so much. But, Codemasters isn't trying to ape EA's Need for Speed: The Run.

    • reply
      February 14, 2013 9:03 AM

      Does anyone actually care about a story in a racing title?

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        February 14, 2013 9:12 AM

        If I were playing a racing game like GRID 2 I think I'd want it to have a comparable story. This all sounds good.

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        February 14, 2013 9:13 AM

        Yes.

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        February 14, 2013 9:16 AM

        I don't, but I am not a story in games guy. I am a mechanics guy.

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        February 14, 2013 9:16 AM

        this shit better deliver something along the lines of the Iliad or i'm going to spend years irrationally hating codemasters.

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        February 14, 2013 9:24 AM

        NFS:underground was awesome sauce

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        February 14, 2013 9:26 AM

        [deleted]

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        February 14, 2013 9:39 AM

        Hell no. Well you could say I care in the sense I'm less likely to buy and play your racing game if there's a bullshit story forced on me.

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        February 14, 2013 9:45 AM

        Not yet, no.

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        February 14, 2013 11:57 AM

        Not at all and in fact all of the "personalities" in these racing games are usually unbelievably annoying and not at all necessary. Few would have missed DJ Atomika or anyone in Forza Horizon.

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          February 15, 2013 12:10 PM

          Still not annoying as the dude bro guy in the need for speed and burnout games that teaches you how to play a racing game for 20 minutes before you can start playing.

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        February 14, 2013 12:13 PM

        Why not? Star Wars Racer would have been awesome if it were a semi-open universe- contract chosing- racing game. Rub shoulders with Jedi Bounty, Bounty Hunter, ect. Except for once you aren't some bad ass killing savoir of the universe.

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      February 14, 2013 9:34 AM

      The story idea for GRID 2 makes a hell of a lot more sense than the street racing gang-undercover cop crap.

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      February 14, 2013 9:35 AM

      I don't really care about the story, but it'll be nice to have some sense of progression.

      More importantly, does the lack of rally-related shenanigans mean there's no irritating drifting to do?

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        February 14, 2013 10:14 AM

        There will be drifting competitions as well, which will begin appearing once your career moves to Asia.

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          February 14, 2013 10:30 AM

          Hopefully that aspect will be minimal (or entirely skippable) - I found them utterly infuriating in Grid.

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          February 14, 2013 10:31 AM

          Also, thanks for the info :)

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      February 14, 2013 10:46 AM

      I've never played a good racing game with a story. They're typically the crappier, big publisher ones which target the lowest-common-denominator.

      When I think of the greatest racing games ever made, I easily see how incorporating a story into them would have basically destroyed them. Need for Speed 2, 3 & 5, Richard Burns Rally, Flatout 1, DiRT 1, others...

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        February 14, 2013 11:15 AM

        Test Drive 3, Test Drive Unlimited 1

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