NASCAR is going portable once more with the announcement of its newest official video game for the series, NASCAR Rivals, coming to the Nintendo Switch on 14th October 2022.
Motorsport Games confirmed or clarified most of what was already out there in leaked Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart website postings on Wednesday (17th August 2022) and dropped some official details about the upcoming Rivals title.
This is the second NASCAR game that will be released for the Nintendo Switch, and will be the first full game release for Motorsport Games since last year’s Switch title NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+. While there will be 2022 updates for existing titles, this will be the only new NASCAR game from the company this year.
THE SERIES AND DRIVERS
NASCAR Rivals will feature the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, incorporating the schedule and roster of drivers and teams.
This continues the trend seen in both the company’s PC and home console NASCAR 21: Ignition game, and the 2021 content in last year’s Switch title, with only the Cup Series included.
We were able to confirm that all tracks that host a points-paying event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule will be included in the game. Unfortunately, the season-opening L.A. Clash at the Coliseum track, a non-points paying event in 2022, will not be included. These are the expected tracks:
- Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oval) (new and updated in 2022)
- Auto Club Speedway (Oval) (Returned to the schedule in 2022)
- Bristol Motor Speedway (Concrete Oval)
- Bristol Motor Speedway (Dirt Oval)
- Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oval)
- Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL (Road Course)
- Circuit Of The Americas (Road Course)
- Darlington Raceway (Oval)
- Daytona International Speedway (Oval)
- Dover Motor Speedway (Oval)
- Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oval)
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course)
- Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oval)
- Kansas Speedway (Oval)
- Martinsville Speedway (Oval)
- Michigan International Speedway (Oval)
- Nashville Superspeedway (Oval)
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Oval)
- Phoenix Raceway (Oval)
- Pocono Raceway (Oval)
- Richmond Raceway (Oval)
- Road America (Road Course)
- Sonoma Raceway (Road Course)
- Talladega Superspeedway (Oval)
- Texas Motor Speedway (Oval)
- Watkins Glen International (Road Course)
- World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Oval) (new venue on schedule in 2022)
The game will also feature the current official teams, drivers and cars. The expected lineup should include the following 36 chartered teams:
- #1 TrackHouse Racing Chevrolet – Ross Chastain
- #2 Team Penske Ford – Austin Cindric
- #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevy – Austin Dillon
- #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – Kevin Harvick
- #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy – Kyle Larson
- #6 RFK Racing Ford – Brad Keselowski
- #7 Spire Motorsports Chevy – Corey LaJoie
- #8 Richard Childress Racing Chevy – Tyler Reddick
- #9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy – Chase Elliott
- #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – Aric Almirola
- #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – Denny Hamlin
- #12 Team Penske Ford – Ryan Blaney
- #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – Chase Briscoe
- #15 Rick Ware Racing Ford – Various (Garrett Smithley, Joey Hand, Parker Kligerman, David Ragan)
- #16 Kaulig Racing Chevy – Various (AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric)
- #17 RFK Racing Ford – Christopher Buescher
- #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – Kyle Busch
- #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – Martin Truex Jr
- #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – Christopher Bell
- #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford – Harrison Burton
- #22 Team Penske Ford – Joey Logano
- #23 23XI Racing Toyota – Bubba Wallace
- #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy – William Byron
- #31 Kaulig Racing Chevy – Justin Haley
- #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford – Michael McDowell
- #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford – Todd Gilliland
- #41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – Cole Custer
- #42 Petty GMS Chevy – Ty Dillon
- #43 Petty GMS Chevy – Erik Jones
- #45 23XI Racing Toyota – Kurt Busch
- #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevy – Ricky Stenhouse Jr
- #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy – Alex Bowman
- #51 Rick Ware Racing Ford – Cody Ware
- #77 Spire Motorsports Chevy – Various (Josh Bilicki, Justin Allgaier, Landon Cassill)
- #78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford – BJ McLeod
- #99 TrackHouse Racing Chevy – Daniel Suarez
Some non-chartered teams also made starts throughout the season, but it’s unknown if those teams will make an appearance in the new game at this stage. Those cars and teams include:
- #26 Team Hezeberg – Daniil Kyvat
- #27 Team Hezeberg – Jacques Villeneuve
- #44 NY Racing Team – Greg Biffle
- #50 The Money Team – Kaz Grala
- #55 MBM Motorsports – JJ Yeley
- #62 Beard Motorsports – Noah Gragson
- #66 MBM Motorsports – Timmy Hill
- #91 TrackHouse Racing Project 91 – Kimi Raikkonen
MAIN GAME MODES
There will be five primary sections to the game, a combination of different racing modes, single and multiplayer, as well as a way to customize your player.
For those looking to get right into the action, Race Now will allow players to get into their favorite driver or team’s car from the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and race at any track which hosts points-paying racing on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
A Career Mode is also included in the game, which will give players the chance to join or create a team and race to become a NASCAR Cup Series champion. Driver customization is included in this part of the game.
If you’re looking for something a little different, scenarios have been created and included in the ‘challenges’ section of the game. These challenges are said to be ‘inspired by’ real-world occurrences, possibly from the past season or in the general history of NASCAR.
If you’re looking to play with others, there are several multiplayer options for both local and over-the-internet racing.
Online play will be up to 16 players, who match up and play with a membership to Nintendo Switch Online. The best news is that these lobbies can be controlled, it’s not the hopper system like Ignition had, it’s more akin to the NASCAR Heat 5 lobbies.
Paint Booth and Character Creator
There will be a Paint Booth with a multitude of customization options included with the ability to create the custom NASCAR NEXT Gen car of your dreams. Well, possibly my dreams, that is. The booth includes various decals, number designs, shapes and more.
There is also a separate Character Creator outside of the career, where you can customize your appearance from head to toe. There are updated sponsor logos available to place on your custom fire suit as well.
Whether or not these are restricted to single-player or can be used online is yet to be confirmed.
For playing with friends nearby, there is a Split Screen mode to play two players on the same Nintendo Switch – popping off the Joy-Cons and using the kickstand like the NBC footage earlier this year.
Also, local multiplayer will allow eight friends to link up and race together on a shared Bluetooth network.
You will be able to play using the Joy-Con Wheel, which utilizes the built-in gyroscope to simulate turning a wireless wheel, something that’s seen in other racing titles such as Mario Kart. The Nintendo Pro Controller is also supported.
UPDATED FOR 2022
Seemingly an evolution from the 2021 Nintendo Switch title released around the same time last year, NASCAR Rivals will have updated graphics and UI for 2022.
In screenshots, we can see that there will be a track map, a leaderboard, a minimalistic RPM and speed gauge, a lap counter and a position tracker. On top of that, a Day 1 patch will also include a rear-view mirror.
The new game should sound better too. The audio for the NASCAR NEXT Gen cars is captured at the source, both at the track and in engine dynos.
The soundtrack will be a bit more enhanced as well, featuring artists such as You Know Who, X Ambassadors, Allister X, Leap, Kris Kiss, Phantom Passenger, Milo Le Miche, Whiskey Myers and Renze.
NASCAR Spotter Freddie Kraft will be the voice of the in-game spotter, letting you know what’s going on during the race event. Motor Racing Network’s Alex Hayden will provide his voice to various cutscenes.
THE RIVALS THEME
With the name of the game being NASCAR Rivals, it makes sense that the AI opponents will have some aspect of this while playing. Not much different than how it was in NASCAR Heat, opponents will have one of the following feelings towards you depending on how you race them on the track:
If you make friends, they’ll be likely to give you plenty of room on the track. Conversely, if you make a rival angry, they probably won’t be cutting you any breaks.
NASCAR RIVALS RELEASE DATE
NASCAR Rivals will release exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on 14th October 2022. It retails for $49.99 and will be sold both physically and digitally.
Pre-orders begin on 24th August, which is when the first gameplay footage is set to be revealed.
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