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MotorStorm Could Learn A Lot From Forza Horizon 5

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift absolutely stunned teenage me. The PS3 was a relatively new console and we were only just finding out how much juice it could squeeze out of a game. Seeing the mud and water splash onto the screen as drum ‘n’ bass blared out my TV speakers while big rigs crashed into monster trucks blew my tiny little mind. I knew taking part in these over-the-top island races would get me killed, so I was fine just playing it all virtually, but man, I really wanted to be a part of that festival on a repurposed aircraft carrier. I didn’t think it would be possible to properly integrate that into a MotorStorm game until I played Forza Horizon 5.

I love festivals. Throughout high school and uni I went to them every year. The atmosphere is electric and communal, and each has its own special identity for you to become a part of. There’s a mythos to the festival that isn’t explored in the MotorStorm games. A group of daredevils and adrenaline junkies somehow got a military aircraft carrier and turned it into a sick transport for their cars and racing gear, but beyond that we don’t know much. It plays a big role in the menu cinematics in Pacific Rift and the cutscenes in Apocalypse, but it’s conspicuously absent in the gameplay.

Having minigames aboard it would be a no-brainer. The menu scenes show the organisers using the jump jet launcher to send cars flying into the ocean at a target made of floating flares – like bowls but more scrapyard and less upper class. Having a level that involved the coast and jumping onto it and rocketing off the front via those same launchers would also be wicked.

Anyway, that’s not what this article is about, it’s about the wider festival itself. Like I said, there’s a mythos behind the game that isn’t discussed much. In Apocalypse we get a glimpse at the lives of those taking part, but the next Motorstorm could go even further.

I was obsessed with Forza Horizon 5 when it launched. I was completing seasonal objectives like it was my job and having a blast unlocking all the various festival sites around the map. I’m not sure MotorStorm should pivot to an open-world game, as it’s already a saturated genre, even within the racing subcategories, and MotorStorm’s appeal lies in its brilliantly hand-crafted tracks, but having a story mode that peers into the setup of a MotorStorm festival would be intriguing.

In Forza, you drive to a festival site and help the chief organiser get things off the ground. It normally takes the form of a short drive with some added steps like a time trial, but the conversations and exploration of the area give each subset of races their own identity. Imagine hauling up the Caldera Ridge to bring material for the Air Zones, or mud plugging upstream to get the Water Zone hub started. Racing around an active volcano to set up cool spots for the Fire Zone or plowing through some trees to make space for the Earth Zone would have been fantastic ways to add some variety to the arcade races and given Pacific Rim a bit more story.

MotorStorm could also go the full open world route, and although I have my reservations, if any racing series can meaningfully fill a world, it’s MotorStorm. Destructive minigames, raving, stunts, and races are all par for the course. Starting off from the carrier and setting the festival up from scratch, or arriving as a newbie and discovering everything the organisers had planned out would be equally thrilling.

At this point, I’d even take a complete spin-off game where instead of racing you just enjoy the festival as a spectator. Going to raves and watching as foolhardy drivers explode themselves into little pieces would be awesome. Turn it into a dating sim and call it a day. Billion dollar idea right there for the taking – who’s hiring?

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