Fans are excited to see iRacing make its first NASCAR console game in 2025, but, it is important to keep expectations realistic. There are plenty of features that would be great to be in a NASCAR video game, but, they’re not realistic to be in the game immediately.
The Importance of Prioritizing
RealRadman recently made a video, which inspired this article, on 5 Gameplay features that NASCAR 25 NEEDS, not wants. At the beginning of the video, he talks about the difference between what the game needs and what consumers may want the game to have.
For a multitude of different reasons, certain gameplay features take time to fully develop. Sometimes it takes multiple games, and there are other features that just are not practical in NASCAR video games. With that in mind, it becomes vital for iRacing to prioritize.
The first game needs to get all of the base elements right before it can move on to the more complex features. With that in mind, here are a few features that are just not realistic for the first iRacing NASCAR video game.
A Full Owner Mode
While a driver career mode is an absolute must, including an owner mode may be a step too far too soon. When looking at other NASCAR gaming franchises throughout the years, an owner mode has never been included in the first game. It took until the third game of the NASCAR Heat Series for the mode to be implemented fully.
The EA Sports games got rid of the owner mode when they switched from the 6th to the 7th generation of video game consoles. Historically, it is not a feature that is included in early versions of a NASCAR game, and NASCAR 25 will be a brand-new game with brand-new developers. This is a feature that could certainly be implemented in future games, but, historically, it’s always been a bit before this feature is implemented.
iRacing Simulation-Style Driving Model
The driving model was one of the most highly criticized aspects of the NASCAR Heat series because of how “arcadey” and “unrealistic” it felt. However, iRacing also needs to be wary of going too far the other way. An iRacing driving model that is super realistic may be great for hardcore sim racers, but, for casual players, it is not the way to go.
Instead, iRacing will have to develop a “Simcade”. They need to make it realistic enough, but, they also need to make it easy enough to pick up and play. NASCAR The Game: Inside Line was a game that struck this balance quite well, and it is praised for how well its’ driving model was.
A Story Mode
RealRadman brought this up in his video, but, a NASCAR Story Mode would be very low on iRacing’s priority list. He brings up the point that once the story mode is done, there is nothing to bring the player back to it. Therefore, a mode like that should be very low on iRacing’s priority list.
It may be an interesting thing to have, and Formula One games have done it before with their story mode “Braking Point”. It can be done well, but just because it can be done does not mean it needs to be. This is especially true with the first game of a brand-new franchise.
NASCAR Ultimate Team
NASCAR Ultimate Team is, first off, not as practical in racing games as other sports games. As opposed to other sports where players can gather multiple players to build a team, only one driver can drive a race car at any given time. EA took a stab at an Ultimate Team-like mode with F1 World, but, it is not all the way there yet.
On top of that, iRacing needs to focus on just getting the online mode right. In order to build successful modes online, the actual online racing needs to be practical, fun, and compelling. Many people scowl at Ultimate Team because it is seen as, “Pay to Win”, but if iRacing finds a way to implement it in a way that is not “Pay to Win”, it could be an interesting mode.
Lower Racing Series
Putting lower racing series in a NASCAR video game is a feature that will certainly be implemented, but the first game may be a bit hasty. NASCAR 21: Igntion and NASCAR Heat Evolution both did not include the lower-tier series. It took until NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup for EA Sports to include the lower series.
This is a feature that should and will be included at some point. Of all the features on this list, it may be the most likely to be featured in NASCAR 25, but, precedent does not say it will be. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for it to be implemented.
Are there other features that NASCAR fans may have to wait for in the next NASCAR video game? Are there some features on this list that might actually end up in the next game?