5 greatest racing game franchises of all time
Racing games are some of the most played video games generally enjoyed by everyone, including casual gamers. There are thousands of racing titles out there available to be played, however, only a few franchises have stood the test of time and have continued to deliver hit racing titles after another.
Here are some legendary racing franchises that have never ceased to amaze gamers with their racing games.
Note: This article reflects the author's opinion
5 best racing game franchises that stand out from the rest
1) Forza Horizon
- Developers: Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios, Sumo Digital
- First release date: October 2012
- Number of titles: 5
- Best title: Forza Horizon 5
When it comes to open-world racing titles, Forza Horizon has taken the racing game genre to new heights. As a matter of fact, there are no open-world racing game franchises out there that manage to offer a rich catalog of cars coupled with in-depth driving mechanics like the Forza Horizon does.
In each and every open-world, be it Forza Horizon 3, 4, or 5, the level of detail put into it is mammoth and all of it makes it look gorgeous. The open-world of Forza Horizon 4 and 5 is especially brimmed with enough PR stunts and Racing Challenges to keep one engaged for many months.
If one is bored by taking part in competitive race events, they can simply roam around trying out different wheels ranging from the retro classics of the 70’s to some of the fastest modern day supercars in the gorgeous landscapes of Forza Horizon games.
2) Need for Speed
- Developers: EA
- First release date: 1994
- Number of titles: 24
- Best title: NFS Most Wanted (2012)
The Need for Speed is not a series of racing games rather it’s an entire emotion. The sheer volume and variety of racing titles ranging from Hot Pursuit to Most Wanted and Underground produced by the Need for Speed franchise over the last two decades is commendable. While not all NFS titles may have been perfect, the NFS series nonetheless, has managed to produce some ingenious gameplay mechanics that make them stand apart from other racing titles.
The Need for Speed titles are fun to play along with thanks to their creative storylines. Some of the titles do manage to offer near accurate driving mechanics and a ton of cars to choose from with an assortment of customization options.
3) Burnout Series
- Developers: Criterion Games, EA
- First release date: September 2002
- Number of titles: 8
- Best title: Burnout Paradise Remastered
For many racing enthusiasts, the Burnout series is a cut above all other racing game titles. Burnout games offer a mix of everything right from modern supercars and heavy-drift driving physics to excellent soundtracks.
Burnout series’ fanatical, action-packed, car-smashing races have a cult following of their own, and the series easily dominated the 2000s decade in the racing games genre. It’s a tragedy that the Burnout Series seems to have gone out of gas in recent times. The last title was released way back in 2011, and it’s high time that this legendary racing game franchise revives itself.
4) Gran Turismo
- Developers: Polyphony Digital, Gameloft, Sony Interactive Entertainment
- First release date: 1997
- Number of titles: 8
- Best title: Gran Turismo 7
Exclusively available on PlayStation, Gran Turismo is a series of racing games known for their incredible graphics and authentic driving mechanics. Gran Turismo games are an online phenomenon among PlayStation players, and it is Sony’s highest selling franchise by a long margin.
This particular racing franchise has dozens of race tracks, hundreds of cars to pick, and an extremely polished career mode as well. When it comes to accurate driving mechanics, Gran Turismo can easily give the Forza games a run for their money. Although Gran Turismo games are only available on the PlayStation platform, they still have to go down as one of the most accurate series of racing titles when it comes to driving mechanics.
5) Mario Kart
- Developers: Nintendo, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Velan Studios, Retro Studios
- First release date: 1992
- Number of titles: 14
- Best title: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
With a whopping sales figure of 15.8 million units sold, Mario Kart games are not only the highest-selling racing game of all time, but it’s also the oldest surviving racing game franchise that is still globally popular. Mario Kart games deviate from the games mentioned in the list and are not serious racing titles at all. Rather, Mario Kart games are popular for their fun-filled races that have the potential to bolster friendship between gamers with just a single race.
Mario Kart editions almost every year end up in the top 10 highest selling games list. Mario Kart games can be played by people across all ages, are very easy to play, and yet, manage to deliver endless fun with their addictive race tracks and power moves.