Why you should care about the GRID games | The Traxion.GG Podcast, Season 2, Episode 11

Thomas Harrison-Lord
Why you should care about the GRID games

GRID Legends is a blockbuster new racing game from EA and Codemasters that centres around an extended reality story, but what came before this 2022 release?

Lots of other GRID games, of course!

In this episode of the Traxion Podcast, we run through the TOCA lineage of the GRID series, which of the main GRID games we think was the best and why you should care about the future of the franchise.

It’s a patchy history, filled with amazing ideas, lots of solid racers and one outstanding release. Here then, is why you should pay attention to GRID Legends and why we hope it’s a return to form.

Let us know in the comments which is your favourite GRID game!

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Below is the full transcript of this episode. It’s auto-generated, hence why it’s completely random…

Tom Harrison-Lord: (00:05)
Welcome to a brand new episode of the Traxion podcast, where we talk about racing games, sim racing and esports I’m Tom. And joining us today is Justin Sutton. How are you?

Justin Sutton: (00:15)
I am well, how are you?

Tom Harrison-Lord: (00:16)
Yeah, really good. Thanks. Today we are going to talk about GRID. And if you aren’t aware, you might’ve seen, GRID Legends trailer was announced recently, is the racing game that’s coming out in 2022, are you pumped for that Justin?

Justin Sutton: (00:30)
I’m definitely very interested. There’s a lot of hype around a lot of chatter. Obviously it’s something that, as Social Media Manager, at Traxion I’ve certainly, you know, had my eye on it. I’ve been covering it. I know some people, in the community who are especially excited about it as well, too. So, yeah, I’m very interested in it. It seems like it’s had a lot of production value behind it.

Justin Sutton: (00:56)
It seems like a lot of prep, a lot of work has gone into it. So I’m curious.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (01:01)
Yeah, it looks like a polished EA title in a way, even though it’s by Codemasters, this is their first sort of track or second track racing game after F1 21 under EA stewardship. And the second game, or actually, the first game kind of announced maybe on the EA you could argue.

Justin Sutton: (01:17)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (01:17)
So it could be a big deal. In fact, EA had a big press conference recently, and this was the first game they showed with a great detail, but we haven’t seen any full, raw gameplay yet. So early days we don’t know the release date. So we thought, okay, let’s discuss our hopes and dreams for GRID Legends. But for those who don’t know, that’s quickly run through the GRID series because there is a history and a legacy there.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (01:43)
I do believe not many people are fully up to speed with this. Cause I feel like, this could be very wrong, but these games were very popular in Europe or the UK not so popular in America or maybe not even in the Australia either. There are a few reasons, but I think back in the day Codemasters was very European centric with its marketing. And also a lot of the content in there was more, the legacy of the series is more about like British touring cars, for example.

Justin Sutton: (02:10)
Yes, tin-tops, sports cars. Yeah.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (02:15)
Which is not huge popular in America, although I’m sure there are some fans.

Justin Sutton: (02:18)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (02:18)
I mean, how many of these GRID games have you played Justin?

Justin Sutton: (02:21)
So I have played, I think one, I think, I can’t remember if I did play, GRID Autosport, was the one that I believe I dabbled in very, very briefly.

Justin Sutton: (02:35)
But it was very, very brief and yes, you’re right. It’s definitely a series that get, you know, we’re much more of a Need for Speed sort of country than we are a GRID country, which, you know, I would say is probably a fault, honestly, because objectively, it seems like, sort of at least in recent years, a little bit better of a video game, but I mean, we do, we certainly do get them over here. There’s a sort of medium to large sized streamer that I, that I’ve been following for a number of years here in America. Who does GRID? Not Autosport? I don’t remember which one it is. It might be GRID 2, yeah, I think it is GRID 2. I think he does GRID 2 with like, with his community sometimes not every time, not even every week, you know, maybe just once a month or something like that.

Justin Sutton: (03:25)
Something really pretty, pretty basic, but it does get over here, but yeah, you’re right. It’s, it’s a bit more of a hidden gem.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (03:31)
Yeah. We’re not saying that there’s no one in America played it.

Justin Sutton: (03:34)
RIght, at all.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (03:36)
It’s just a bit more niche.

Justin Sutton: (03:38)
Yes. Yeah. So you’re not going to see any adverts on the TV for it here.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (03:42)
Right. But now you see your might because as the might of EA behind it. They’re in the big press conference ahead of the Battlefield game and the skate games that they were talking about and the FIFA’s and the Madden’s. So clearly it’s worth paying attention to now more than ever, because a big American company is behind the marketing of it. But just for context, we’ll rattle through here now, sort of an abbreviated history. So actually starts back in sort of the PlayStation 1 era on PC as well. With the TOCA games, TOCA Touring Cars or TOCA, you might want to pronounce it different ways. These were two official games of the British Touring Car Championship. So it was singular focus. Okay, there were some unlockable cars, but very old fashioned games in the nineties. They were really good at the time. And very, okay, were simulators around then? Probably not, but they were very, very difficult and very authentic. Switch to sort of the PS2, Xbox era and that morphed into what’s called TOCA Race Driver, there were three of those games. TOCA Race Driver 3, John has a long play through series on our YouTube channel, which we’ve both watched. Right.

Justin Sutton: (04:49)
Episode 23 was last as of this recording, something like that.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (04:53)
Yeah. Up in the twenties, he’s nearly finished with those. So we’ll have to think of a game to replace it.

Justin Sutton: (04:59)
Maybe GRID.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (05:02)
Yeah maybe GRID. And only one of those games had British touring cars in and they sort of just changed it to like a melting pot of all sorts of different ideas. There was like monster trucks. There was IndyCar, there was Australian Supercars, all this stuff in there and that’s where these games get their name from. So there was TOCA Race Driver 3, following that there was Race Driver GRID and there’s the crossover point. So there was no TOCA in the name anymore, which was the organizing body of the British touring cars. It’s kind of weird how they had that, but they just sort of said, right it’s Race Driver and we’re going to call them GRID because it’s cool. And that was, 2008 and this was like height of 360, PS3 battling era.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (05:41)
Really popular game for me. I found some good friends play this game online a lot. I don’t know if you came across this game back in the day, but there was recently an article we have on our website explaining why it’s still arguably the best one.

Justin Sutton: (05:54)
Yes. And yes, I did read that article. It sounds very interesting to me in particular, the crash physics, you know, the damage model, that kind of stuff. There was mention of, running into things off the track at that would, you know, deform and stuff like that, which, I mean, that’s stuff that you don’t get in, in some racing games in 202.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (06:21)
Exactly. Exactly. It was really innovative for the time when it really felt like, oh, this is a whole new era for gaming. And it had a really lovely menu aesthetic and background music. I mean, F1 2010 had a similar theme as well. So there were lessons learned from GRID, I think. So, even though it was a different studio, there was certainly the Codemasters theme transfered across into that game and the damage modeling, It had good onboard cameras for the cars. The AI rivals would sometimes spontaneously spin off and have a crash. Which felt, I don’t know it was canned, but it didn’t do it in a obvious way. So they were really good and the graphics were amazing. And it was one of the first games that really played well online, I think. And that was kind of why It had a big audience.

Justin Sutton: (07:08)
It sounds like the physics were a bit off, not terrible.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (07:13)
They were. No they were.

Justin Sutton: (07:13)
Just a bit off from the article that I read.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (07:17)
It was kinda of fine for the time.

Justin Sutton: (07:19)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (07:19)
Cause there was no other real games.

Justin Sutton: (07:21)
It’s only in retrospect that it seems a bit odd.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (07:26)
Exaclty. That’s the part that doesn’t hold up, I don’t think.

Justin Sutton: (07:26)
Gotcha. Gotcha.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (07:27)
But then we’ve had this big blockbuster success game or certainly in Europe and it was five years till GRID 2, the race driver name is jettisoned. And I don’t know why, there was this long wait. And it came out, and on our Metacritic has got by an 80, I think, which is good.

Justin Sutton: (07:45)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (07:46)
But didn’t hold my attention. Certainly like the first one did and I was quite disappointed by, by a lot of it. They tried to have this feature called live routes. So the work basically the first game had a mixture of real and fictional circuits, more centered towards real circuits. GRID 2 was more focused about these fictional street circuits and stuff so that they could implement live routes, which was basically sometimes you’d go to a corner and it would be a right turn instead of a left to, they hyped it up.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (08:15)
But it was like, you’ll never know what’s coming next. You kind of did. I didn’t really. It didn’t really affect my game.

Justin Sutton: (08:23)
Right. It’s going to be a left or right. There’s only really two options. It’s not like it’s going to be a loop the loop or.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (08:31)
Exactly. It’s not the right game for it, I didn’t think.

Justin Sutton: (08:34)
Right. Right.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (08:36)
And there was, weirdly Chris Harris did some advertisements. I don’t know if you remember any of those.

Justin Sutton: (08:41)
That I do remember. I do remember seeing the Chris Harris video stuff, which was a combination of both interesting and a bit of cringe, I would say.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (08:50)
I would say so. Cause, he sort of say, he don’t say anything. But in those trailers he’s like driving around Brands Hatch, drifting a Bugatti. In the game, you not really doing that or It’s certainly not a realistic game in any way.

Justin Sutton: (09:04)
Right. They almost treat it like a simulator or something like, I remember they were, they were almost talking like it was, like a training tool to help you get faster. The real life Brands Hatch and it’s like, eh, I’m not so sure about that. I mean, it’s certainly not in, you know, a console game, certainly not.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (09:24)
Yeah. And for me, the handling got worse between this and the first, which was a real surprise.

Justin Sutton: (09:29)
Well, that was mentioned in the article too, as well on our website.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (09:33)
Yeah. That’s just a personal opinion, but it was like.

Justin Sutton: (09:36)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (09:37)
All right. We’ve waited five years and this is a regression, so I don’t know what was going on there. So then, the next one came up just a year later, so it’s like, oh wow, we’ve had five years. And then we’ve had two. I don’t know what they’ll try to do there. You know, how like, DiRT 5 is like an arcadey off road brash thing. And DiRT Rally 2 is more of a SIM. I’m wondering if they were kind of trying to do that. The next one is called GRID Autosport, the clue is kind of in the name. And it was all focused about real tracks and real motorsport, as opposed to GRID 2, which was like street tracks. They’re going to change the route all the time and GRID Autosport had a load more real race tracks, which is great and it had more touring cars, which I love. Handling was still kind of, I just think by this point other games had improved that element. So you had like the serious facade, but arcadey handling, didn’t really work for me really. I don’t know if you remember any part of this game.

Justin Sutton: (10:35)
So, GRID Autosport weirdly. The thing that I remember most about it, is that, so that one came out and I was into F1 games at the time. So at that stage, I was starting to get back into racing games. So, when GRID 2 came out, I was into, I was in, I was playing F1 in 2012, 2013 and GRID 2 came out and I was like, mm, no, that’s just, it doesn’t seem like it’s for me, GRID Autosport then came out though, F1 2014 was very lackluster. It was the last of the generation. And, so I was just, I was interested in, you know, seeing what else was available in 2014 in terms of racing games.

Justin Sutton: (11:16)
And I remember looking into GRID Autosport. I think I may have played it at a friend’s house now that I’m thinking of it or something like that. Cause again, I definitely don’t own it in my Steam library, but I have a very distinct memory of driving a kind of Formula Renault 3.5, single seater type car around Dubai. I want to tell say? Like the Dubai Autodrome was like a really big track on that one. Or maybe it was the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (11:49)
Both were in there.

Justin Sutton: (11:49)
They were both in there. Okay. Yeah. So again, I’m pretty sure I drove it at some point, but I think I didn’t buy it. So it was one of those games that I think I ended up giving, giving it a go, but I ended up in the end not actually purchasing it, but I remember at the time, I had recently upgraded to dual monitors and I remember GRID Autosport had this function where you could have, you could play the game on your main monitor and you can have all of the HUD elements on your side monitor, which left your main monitor free of clutter.

Justin Sutton: (12:18)
So you could really focus on the racing and stuff like that. And then when you needed to glance over and have a look at the track map or what position you’re in or your lap times or whatever, you know, you could just do that, could have a quick glance over. And it’s something that has never been replicated to my knowledge. And it’s just, I’ve always thought it’s very, very strange. Cause I think I don’t actually have any figures to back this up. I wish I had looked this up now before we started recording, but, I would love to know the percent of like PC gamers, for example, that have two monitors. It’s probably a lot higher than we think a lot of them.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (12:53)
It seems to be a default set up, doesn’t it?

Justin Sutton: (12:53)
Yeah, it really does. Two monitors seems to be hugely popular, you know, one for one for gaming, one for other stuff for your Spotify or whatever, you know, for your chat rooms and stuff like that.

Justin Sutton: (13:03)
And I thought it was super cool that that GRID Autosport was thinking about that kind of stuff. And I thought for sure, which I think you kind of mentioned earlier, you’re like, surely this is, this is going to be a change. And that was what I thought. I was like, oh, this is it. You know, every racing game from here on out is now going to have dual monitor support and the exact opposite happened. None of them had dual mode. It never was replicated. And it, to my knowledge anyway, we have games that support triple monitor, but nothing what, like what Autosport did where you specifically have a main monitor and then a monitor just for data and stuff like that. A triple monitor support I think is widely supported by racing games, dual monitor support, not so much.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (13:51)
Yeah. And I think that is a perfect, that encapsulates actually the weirdness with this game series is there’s a lot of good ideas and not all of them are sort of carried on or pushed upon or built upon. And then there are some slightly weird ideas as well. So I’m not entirely sure it’s entirely hard, a clear direction and positioning in the market. If you actually look through each one and we’re not quite finished, the catch-up, they’ve all got like a different shtick. It’s kind of a bit weird. But I would also just like to retouch upon, yes, I’ve forgotten, of course, F1 2014, missed the, at the time next gen jump to new PC hardware and console hardware. And the same was for GRID Autosport and a lots of GRID Autosport was a rehash of old content unfortunately, just in a more serious way.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (14:39)
And so it left me feeling a bit flat. I also, unfortunately the career was quite lengthy and I suffered from three game safe corruptions, which was a known bug at the time and I gave up at that point. But interestingly, the game recently came back out again on Switch. This was maybe Ooh, 18 months to a couple of years ago. It came out and Switch, quite recent, which is very surprising. And I’m maybe the gameplay suited that more handheld platform a bit better where you can, get away with not having a realistic handling model, for example, you know.

Justin Sutton: (15:15)
I could see that working.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (15:16)
Yeah, it works. And then the weird game was it came back again, the series, with a game just called GRID. This is 2019. This is recent.

Justin Sutton: (15:25)
That was the thing in the 2010s that people, you know, like Battlefield decided to call their new game Battlefield 1 and the Xbox One was called that, you know, like, oh my God guys, just give it another, just call it GRID 3. Come on please.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (15:39)
I know. So we’ve just got GRID, which was the last game ever received on a physical disc for review.

Justin Sutton: (15:45)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (15:46)
Old school. I was a bit let down by it I think, because it looked much better than the previous GRID games. Most of the cars and tracks were in previous games. There was a lot of stuff carried over from Autosport, just ups buffed, if that’s a term.

Justin Sutton: (16:06)
And this was the one that had like, this had Fernando Alonzo in it and stuff like that. Right?

Tom Harrison-Lord: (16:11)
Correct. So Jimmy Chadwick’s in there. I forgot about that. Fernando Alonzo’s there and Fernando Alonzo did a lot of the marketing for the game or not a lot of, but it was the figurehead for the game. In fact, recently there was a weird Logitech advert for the steering wheel and he’s playing this version, this GRID with it. I’m going to say, now this is not an appropriate game to play with a wheel. It works not very well.

Justin Sutton: (16:33)
That’s funny, that is funny.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (16:34)
The thing, I think that my problem with this game is it stuck between either be an outlandish arcade racing game, which is great, fine. I’d love it. Or be a more serious game, authentic level, or even a sim it’s it’s none of those three sectors.

Justin Sutton: (16:51)
It’s like the, it’s almost like the, in my mind or what my mind is going to. It’s like the opposite of, like the Forza games, like the Forza games have found the perfect balance between sim and arcade and GRID 2019.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (17:03)
Doesn’t hit that balance.

Justin Sutton: (17:05)
Right, yeah. It somehow found all the worst parts of sim and arcade rather than the best parts.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (17:11)
It just doesn’t, it’s all about the vehicle handling at the end of the day. For me, it makes a good racing experience, whether that is accessible or not. I don’t mind. We’re not saying it has to be the same, but it has to be enjoyable and make you come back for more and the gameplay mechanics has to be rewarding and also just overly, it just, it just felt like I’ve played all this content before in the previous ones. So it’s there, it’s a thing.

Justin Sutton: (17:34)
It looked pretty. I remember looking at it like pre-release and stuff and being like, wow, it looks really good. It almost looked like a precursor to DiRT 5 in terms of like visuals and stuff like that. It was like the initial and actually, wasn’t that around the time of OnRush coming out from Codemasters. Yeah. So I, I feel like that one had a lot of like, smoke flares on the side of the racetrack and like strobing lights and lasers going off in the background.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (18:05)
It did, if you were racing at night, had some cool visual effects. And that was, that was quite nice.

Justin Sutton: (18:11)
Bright colors.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (18:12)
So the track designs when you’re doing the street circuits for me were not great. And again, I think a lot of those were based on the stuff in a GRID 2.

Justin Sutton: (18:20)
I remember that was the, was the niche thing for that one or the, the, cause you mentioned each one has their own kind of like little quirk about them was that when the AI, cause I remember the AI, like each individual person, like had a specific personality or something like that.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (18:37)
Correct. Ooh. That is a good memory, I had forgotten until you mentioned it. Yes. If you smashed into someone twice, if it couldn’t be a rival and they became more aggressive.

Justin Sutton: (18:44)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (18:48)
I’m not saying it’s bad game. It just, it was just a bit underwhelming. There was some good ideas. I just felt like it was a dev team working very hard with the content that they had to try.

Justin Sutton: (18:57)
Good ingredients may be in the bad measurements, something like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s one of those funny things. That’s hard to put your finger on, but yeah, it’s just the, the end product just ended up being. And I remember that too, cause I was working in social media. I don’t know if I should say who at the time, when the game came out and I was mildly involved in promoting it, as part of Fernando Alonzo’s esports team and with him being involved in it. So I was, I had that little bit, so I was excited about it coming out and then it came out and everyone I talked to you was like, it’s a bit c**p.

Justin Sutton: (19:34)
And I was like, oh, well maybe I won’t buy it. Then like I was, I was actually thinking like, I’m going to buy this one. And then everyone was like, I don’t recommend it. So yeah.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (19:44)
I would like to clarify again, I do sound very down on it. I just think, unfortunately the, for me, the first one is a high watermark of the series still, and maybe there’s a rose tinted spectacles element to that.

Justin Sutton: (19:57)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (19:58)
But it just didn’t give me the same energy and feeling that those games did, but Hey, that’s the GRID seems that the minute you can pick it up really, really cheap of a sale. If you want to try and get up to speed for GRID Legends, this’ll give you a good taste. I think of what that will, that will be. And that kind of leads us onto the, to the new one and our hopes and dreams from that.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (20:21)
Although just before then, I do believe GRID from 2019 is going to be part of EA play.

Justin Sutton: (20:27)
Oh, right, right, right. Yeah. We just, yeah, we just recently, well, or maybe, I don’t know, it’s a bit confusing, but yes. Once again, there is an article on Traxion.gg, for anybody that missed it, who isn’t following the social media and reading every single word that I put up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (20:46)
Which you should do.

Justin Sutton: (20:46)
Exactly. But yeah, it sounds like, yeah. The 2019 one is potentially coming to EA Play. There’s a bit of confusion around what exactly is coming to EA Play.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (20:56)
It’s a mess when you add in game pass levels and tiers and stuff.

Justin Sutton: (21:00)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (21:00)
But it might be on yes. That we’ll leave out of that.

Justin Sutton: (21:05)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (21:05)
But this month, if you have a sense of scripture to some service, you might be able to play it for no additional charge. So if you want to get, feel for GRID Legends, then there’s that. Although it’s been like £3 in sales many times before, so.

Justin Sutton: (21:17)
Do you think it’s going to carry over? Like, do you think the physics, because that is a pretty short time, that’s only two years away and we’ve had coronavirus in the meantime. So I’m going to assume the physics and the handling are going to be pretty similar.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (21:27)
Yeah. So let’s jump to GRID Legends. And I feel, it looks very promising. We’ll cover that in a second, but I am, I am, my concern is this what you’ve mentioned there and the physics and how it’s going to feel. Yeah. And in the brief gameplay or trailer snippets, we’ve seen, there’s nothing to say that anything has changed other than it looks shinier and sharper again. And so, I’m not sure one thing that is in GRID Legends, isn’t in GRID, this is so confusing with the names is drifting. And that indicates to me that maybe they are trying to refine the mechanics a bit.

Justin Sutton: (22:06)
Yeah. Yeah. I noticed that that was a, that was a part of it. Certainly our resident drifter Arrow was, was made aware of it as well, too, but he had the exact same thought. He was like, Hmm, let’s see how it plays.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (22:19)
Yeah. I mean, for a series thats probably known for its origins in touring cars and stuff, most of the GRID games actually have had a drift mode in particular GRID Autosport, how to a strand of the career, which means to run drifting only. I think.

Justin Sutton: (22:36)
I did not know that actually I didn’t get that far into it.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (22:39)
Yeah there was, there was also, there was endurance as well, which has eight lap races, oooh that’s not really endurance is it. But there were, I quite enjoyed the drifting in GRID Autosport because the handling wasn’t very serious, but when you’re sliding around, it was like, it was quite good at that. So, but then the other element about GRID Legends, when, if you read the press material and there is an article on the Traxion website again. They talk about some new tracks through the streets of London, I think, but then it also mentions the total number of cars and tracks. And to me straight away that says, right. That’s everything that was in GRID for 2019 rehashed again. Cause that was a rehash to start with with a load of new stuff on top. So I’m not concerned, but I would like to see more to know what’s being changed and we’ll, hear more in subsequent months, I’m sure about that.

Justin Sutton: (23:34)
Gotcha. Gotcha.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (23:35)
But the main thing, the main focus was a story by the looks things.

Justin Sutton: (23:40)
Yes. Yeah. I think that is worth talking about, early on because yeah, there’s, people who have watched the trailer and I I’m assuming anybody who’s listening or watching this podcast has probably seen the trailer at this stage, but, it’s very cinematic. There’s a lot of real people or what appears to be real people there, there are times even in the trailer where I go, am I watching a real life person or is this CGI? And, I have old man eyes, I know that I’m on the wrong side of 35, unfortunately.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (24:11)
Well, same with the eyes. Yeah.

Justin Sutton: (24:15)
Right, right, right. Yeah. In fact, we’re probably on a similar sort of level when it comes to that, but, yeah. So I’m looking at it and I’m just like, I don’t know if this is real life and I’m hugely impressed by it though. And I have to say the acting that’s going on. Cause let’s be honest, it’s acting whether it’s CGI or not, it’s acting, is quite good. Like really good. Like shockingly good. Like better than some TV shows I’ve seen recently kind of good. Like, it seemed and I touched on this, on my personal Twitter account, when the trailer, when the trailer first came out, I was like, I’m super confused about why I seem to like this, why this seems so interesting to me because if you had told me like, oh, we’re going to make a GRID game, but with live action, cut scenes and stuff. Cause I’m one of those gamers that’s like, skip, skip, just go to the, I just want to get to the race. I do not care about the storyline or what any of these people have to say and that’s for racing games, RPG, you know, it doesn’t matter what genre of game I’m playing. I’m just generally, unless it’s something like a cyberpunk or something like that, I’m very uninterested in this story.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (25:27)
I’m kinda with you on that.

Justin Sutton: (25:27)
But this, I don’t know, this seems like something where it’s almost worth playing just for the story.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (25:35)
Yeah. I feel that that is what they’re aiming for with the reveal, but the focus is so much on that.

Justin Sutton: (25:41)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (25:41)
Then I would hope that the game, that’s the main part of the game in a way I know that if I’m really into Sim racing and stuff, I might be like, well, why is there a story in a racing game? But if that’s the main focus and the whole game is going okay we’re not even going to try and say we’re even realistic in any way, we’re going to be this big bombastic explosive game with this big, crazy Hollywood style story that isn’t that just a fun distraction. Isn’t that more focused GRID game than potentially other GRID games.

Justin Sutton: (26:14)
And I have to say, I really hope it’s an open-ended story, which is not something that you and I talked about before this call at all. But I did want to mention that I have high, high, high hopes that it’s an open, you know, because if it’s the same cut scenes, every play through for every person, I think that’s going to get a bit boring, a bit stale rather quickly. If, you know, if I were to find out that I’m having the same experiences as everyone else who’s playing the game, that would diminish the experience that I’m having. You know what I mean? I would, you know, if that veil was pulled back to reveal that really it’s just the same story for absolutely everybody. I think that would actually, you know, totally ruin it for me or it would really hurt it.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (27:02)
It would be lessen the anticipation.

Justin Sutton: (27:05)
I would love it if there was like five different endings for the game, you know what I mean? That sort of thing like that would be amazing.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (27:13)
That I would agree that that is amazing because I’ve just come off the back of playing breaking point in Formula 1 2021.

Justin Sutton: (27:18)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (27:19)
Also by Codemasters, different studio. But, I really enjoyed it for what it is, but it isn’t, but that game is not mainly about that.

Justin Sutton: (27:29)

Tom Harrison-Lord: (27:29)
If that makes sense. So that’s fine that it’s not necessarily, like a branching thing or, you know, it’s about six hours long or something and I’ve really enjoyed it. And I thought it really added to the game, but this feels like from this trailer, that there’s a much greater emphasis on this story. So therefore, maybe it has to be a bit longer and adding complex elements like branchy storylines, but then at the same time, I’m thinking oh my word, the work involved to do that must be insane.

Justin Sutton: (27:57)
Enormous. Yeah.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (27:58)
Yeah. But just quickly on the visuals, it’s using extended reality, which I believe is what the Mandalorian used to solve, capture its style. I think it is real actors, but it’s somehow made to look kind of like a video game.

Justin Sutton: (28:10)
But, and I have to say all the actors seem really good. I don’t remember everybody’s names and all that kinda stuff.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (28:16)
Ncuti Gatwa, I think that’s pronounced correctly. He was in the Sex Education Netflix. So that’s good, well-known acting talent on that part. And so there’s clearly investment there.

Justin Sutton: (28:28)
Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, it seems like everybody, really was, you know, and, and that’s in my experience as an avid TV and movie watcher, which I am very much into my TV shows and movies. A lot of times thats down to direction, when everybody is a good actor on your show or movie, then that’s probably because you’ve got a good director and I don’t know anything about the creation of this new GRID Legends game. I have no idea how that’s, how that’s being approached. But I do think it’s kind of funny that, it seems to have better CGI and acting than Codemasters flagship title with the officially licensed, global Motorsport.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (29:09)

Justin Sutton: (29:11)
And then they’ve got this weird GRID game coming out two years after the last GRID game. And it seems to have better CGI and acting and writing and directing then F1 2021,

Tom Harrison-Lord: (29:24)
It’s like they’ve not worked in parallel there, which is a bit weird. Yeah, cause breaking point is like in game engine, this is using some different system kind of odd, I guess they’re aiming at different audiences potentially though as well, right?

Justin Sutton: (29:37)
Yes, yes. Yeah certainly. Although I would be curious to see who the older audience is. I wonder if GRID is being pushed to a slightly older audience. Certainly I would assume that it would be an older audience, you know, when you’ve got like, I know one of the screenshots is a whole GRID of Shelby, cobras racing each other and stuff. I would definitely say that’s probably more of like an old man thing rather than a young kid thing. So yeah, maybe, this one is meant to be more for, you know, young adults and full on adults like ourselves and stuff like that.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (30:13)

Justin Sutton: (30:13)
I’m not entirely sure. I do know, that I have a good friend, who works in social media, who is absolutely obsessed with the Nathan McCain character, absolutely obsessed with Nathan McCain. And I have to say, I do like his livery, his livery looks cool.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (30:31)
Yeah. Well, yeah, that’s an interesting point. So Nathan McCain is actually a returning character and he’s in every GRID game, but he’s never, I don’t think he’s ever spoken. He’s basically just,

Justin Sutton: (30:44)
He’s just given like written lines or yeah,

Tom Harrison-Lord: (30:47)
No, I don’t think he’s even got a voice.

Justin Sutton: (30:48)
Not even, not even written lines okay.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (30:50)
I don’t think, I mean, I’ll have to go back now and play the old games

Justin Sutton: (30:52)
He’s just a rival on the track,

Tom Harrison-Lord: (30:53)
But he’s just basically a rival on the track. And basically the livery is Ravenwest, is it Motorsport it’s Ravenwest Motorsport. Yeah. And in the screenshots, there’s one of a Aston Martin Valkyrie of racing variant as well. It’s like black with red on there. It says Ravenwest in that cobra screenshot, one of them is in that livery as well. So there’s actually a squad, but Nathan McCain is the most prominent and he’s the only returning character in this series of games. And like I said, don’t think he’s ever really had a voice. He’s certainly never been on screen. And so now he’s the main antagonist in, GRID Legends. He’s got a face, he’s got a voice he’s acting and he’s having a brawl. So that’s a big departure, but it’s also, if you are into GRID lore, if that’s the thing, I dont think it is, he is a recurring character, basically he’s always been your main rival, whenever you get to the end.

Justin Sutton: (31:42)
There are people into GRID Lore I can guarantee it’s a wide colorful world out there. And I guarantee there is a GRID Wikipedia out there and people are furiously updating it every time new footage comes out. And I salute them because they’re true heroes.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (32:04)
I don’t doubt it. Yeah. I should have checked that before. But whatever happens, like when you get sort of, either the main goal is to beat Ravenwestand Nathan McCain or the end race would be against them. I think in the 2019 GRID, it kind of sets up a little light rivalry at the start, but then there’s literally nothing else in the rest of the game. So this is much more in depth. But that will be, I just don’t think most people care about him. They won’t know him and that’s kind of fine if he’s a good character in this story. So,

Justin Sutton: (32:37)
Who does though? I mean, yeah maybe, you know, the game will do amazing and he will end up becoming, you know, a bit of a household name when it comes to a racing game.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (32:48)
The next Devon Butler.

Justin Sutton: (32:48)
Exactly, exactly. I mean, who knew that Devon Butler was going to be such a well-known name who knew that he was trying to get,

Tom Harrison-Lord: (32:56)
He’s got his own Twitter account now and everyting.

Justin Sutton: (32:56)
Exactly, he’s got an article on our website about him and he doesn’t even actually exist. So I mean, certainly it is possible. And I have to say, a long time ago we did a podcast and I talked about, Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Zero and kind of like the story aspect of that and how you know, develop your way up through the underground world of racing and, you know, there’s people’s names and they have like icon, you know, like there’s a guy with a Viper. He’s just the guy with the Viper, you know, I probably knew his name at the time when I was playing the game, but I liked that. I liked that the new GRID game is going to have, you know, like,

Tom Harrison-Lord: (33:35)
A rivalry,

Justin Sutton: (33:36)
Exactly. Somebody that you can get upset, upset about and stuff like that. I, and, and also it does seem hugely it’s, it’s got a huge variety to it as well.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (33:46)
Yes that’s I was going to say, yeah, it’s all over the shop.

Justin Sutton: (33:47)
The cars that we’ve seen, or even trucks that we’ve seen, because there are racing trucks in the game as well, too, with you know, drifting and classic muscle cars and the Valkyrie and so on and so forth. And just knowing the history of GRID, which we literally just talked about, certainly it’s easy to imagine a smorgasbord of cars being available and we’ve already seen a lot already. So yeah, I think it could be, it could be really good. It certainly looks really good. But again, as you touched on kind of at the very beginning, we haven’t seen gameplay yet, and it’s only been two years since the last one, you know, so.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (34:26)
Plus with the track and car list beimg so big, I’m just suspecting that a lot of its carried over from the previous one. I’m kinda worried about that.

Justin Sutton: (34:32)
It is quantity over qualities these days with a lot of games, I feel, you know, like, I follow some people on Twitter. I follow over a thousand people, so no surprise I have a story for almost everything. Yep, but I follow some people on Twitter that are like, you know, responding to the Forza Horizon 5 news, sorry to go completely off topic, but they’re like, oh, more cars, yay, just what Forza Horizon needed. It’s like, that’s not the problem with your game. And you know, sometimes I worry things like a list of manufacturers or a list of cars or a list of locations is just a bandaid to cover up, you know, what is inherent problems with with the game?

Tom Harrison-Lord: (35:13)
But we hope that’s not the case with this one.

Justin Sutton: (35:15)
Yes high hopes, high hopes for this one.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (35:17)
The weird thing as well I’d like to touch on before we wrap up about the gameplay, there’s eliminator races. And there’s a bit of a clip of that, now we know tha tin the trailer where there’s a big racing truck and he smashes a Formula Ford. So there’s multi class races, when you dig into, I think it might only be in the eliminator races, which reminds Wreckfest in a way because you’ve just gotta smash people out and how that fits into a story about real racing. I don’t know. So I’m wondering if it’s like a side mode, online mode in which case. Brilliant. That’s good fun. But if they try to integrate that into the story of real racers, and doing this thing.

Justin Sutton: (35:53)
Maybe its Nathan McCain playing esports in the game.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (35:58)
Oh, that’s far to meta, its hurting my head. Yeah, so we’ll have to see yeah. It, it’s also coming to next gen consoles and if you’ve got PC it will be on the next level of graphics cards. But again, don’t know if it’s running a new engine, it looks like the old game upgraded again to me.

Justin Sutton: (36:18)
But that was a new engine is worth pointing out. You know what I mean? GRID 2019 was like brand new from the ground up sort of situation. So honestly, I would say there is every chance in the world that they’ve refined that into something that rules, you know what I mean? Like there’s every chance. Absolutely. Again Tom and I.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (36:40)
It has to look slick.

Justin Sutton: (36:40)
Exactly. We’re all optimistic, butslightly concerned and all that kinda stuff, but at the same time, you know, certainly I’m well aware. There is every, every chance that this game could be incredible, you know, who knows this could be the racing game of the decade. It’s certainly from what we’ve seen so far has potential, we just need to get more details, you know?

Tom Harrison-Lord: (37:01)
Yeah. Yeah. I think basically what we’re trying to say is the GRID series has a lot of potential, lots of good ideas.

Justin Sutton: (37:10)
Yes, historically.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (37:11)
So it’s important to know the context before going into this because I did see a lot, some social media comments and stuff of, oh, there’s a story and a racing game. What is this? Put it in the bin. But for me, if this game is not trying to even be authentic, it’s just going for this engrossing story experience. It’s just a fun ride. And sometimes it’s okay to put away the steering wheel and play something that’s just going to drag you along and enthrall you. So that’s what I’m hoping for personally. And I don’t know, I feel like there’s no release date yet, but it feels to me like it’s quite soonish.

Speaker 1: (37:44)
So, stay tuned to Traxion and we’ll have all the details. I just suppose that the end result is, listen, you might have some rough opinions about this game, but I think we’re all excited. It’s another type of racing game on the world needs these new types of racing game to push the genre on.

Justin Sutton: (38:02)
Yeah, I hate to be really boring at the end of this podcast, but I agree with everything you say, we had a great thing going for a while there, but I agree with everything there.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (38:13)
That’s all right. That’s all right. Well, listen, if you’re listening, or watching on YouTube and you don’t agree, that’s fine. Put your comment on the website or on the YouTube below let us know your initial raw impressions of GRID Legends. And also if you’ve ever played or heard of the GRID series in the past, because we want to know then what sort of articles should we write or produce or videos about the series so you can get speed, you know, should we do a history of GRID for example?

Justin Sutton: (38:41)
Nathan McCain.

Tom Harrison-Lord: (38:41)
Or Nathan McCain, the backstory, which is kind of non-existent but alright, fine. So, on that note, thank you very much for listening. Please do follow us, subscribe on your audio platform of choice because it really does help out the podcast. And if you’re watching on YouTube, please just give us a comment or a subscription. That will be really good. Don’t forget to visit traxion.gg on a daily basis for the latest news, especially if you wanted to stay up to speed with GRID Legends, cause I’m sure we’ll have some more stuff about that very, very soon and follow @traxiongg on social media where Justin and the social media team do a great job. Okay. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

Justin Sutton: (39:17)

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