Slim pickings for racing game fans at The Game Awards 2021

Thomas Harrison-Lord
Slim pickings for racing game fans at The Game Awards 2021

Each year, The Game Awards celebrates the best this industry has to offer across a wide range of genres – but there’s always a recurring theme, a lack of racing game representation.

Now, driving cars and motorcycles does have its own category, except, it also doesn’t.

Our favourites are lumped in with any form of sports release in the Best Sports/ Racing section. This year, three excellent racing titles are in this category alongside the action sports title Riders Republic and football/soccer juggernaut FIFA 22.

It raises the question once more that do racing games and simulators deserve their own category?

At least racing releases dominate this category

Best Sports/Racing game nominees

The full list of five games for this Game Awards category is:

  • F1 2021
  • FIFA 22
  • Forza Horizon 5
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed
  • Riders Republic

F1, Forza and Hot Wheels are all superb games in our eyes – you may have different opinions, and that’s fine by us.

Best Sports Racing game nominees The Game Awards 2021

Of F1 2021, we said: “The big new features are all sure-fire hits. Braking Point has a better plot than most summer blockbuster movies, the facelifted practice sessions, car development and two-player Driver Career add fresh incentive to dip back in and unlike in 2014, the Codemasters team has managed to deliver the game on both old-gen and new-gen hardware upon launch. Bravo

Meanwhile, Forza Horizon 5‘s “appeal is far from ephemeral, something that could be said of previous franchise instalments. There’s a sumptuous world, an abundance of shiny automobiles and a seemingly unending stream of tasks to complete.”

Hot Wheels Unleashed was a breakout hit for Milanese studio Milestone, and justifiably makes it their first-ever Game Awards nomination. Well done!

We said: “By far the best game made by Milestone to date and just good, old-fashioned, sideways fun for all ages. If I were ten years old right now I think I would be jumping up and down in excitement for this game to arrive and in some ways, that takes me back to my own early years.

Hot Wheels Unleashed Bone Shaker

Other categories

Racing titles have cropped up in other categories too, but really, it’s tokenistic at best as it’s only one title – Forza Horizon 5 is also nominated for Innovation in Accessibility and Best Audio Design.

But Best Ongoing (Wreckfest), Best Indie (Rush Rally Origins), Best Mobile Game (F1 Mobile Racing), Best Community Support (Forza Horizon), Best Family (Cuis’n Blast), Best Multiplayer (Forza Horizon 5), Most Anticipated Game (Gran Turismo 7), Best Esports Game (iRacing), Best Esports Athlete (ahem) and Best Esports Teams (several) do not have a single racing game, sim or racing esports representative.

Sad, but true (those are just some suggestions, but don’t bite).

However – on the flip side, it can be very difficult to narrow down games, especially with such a broach church as the entire industry. So, this isn’t a rant, just highlighting a few potential gaps.

Forza Horizon 5 Ford Racing Escort MK1 1967

How to vote

Once the nominees have been selected, you can vote for your favourite across 30 different categories by registering on The Game Awards website. The winners are decided by a blended vote between the voting jury (90%) and public fan voting (10%).

The final wards show will be broadcast live online on Thursday 9th December 2021 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

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