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Screenshot:: UniqueGames Publishing GmbH

Just before the new year World Racing 2: Champion Edition — a remake of the 2005 racing game from defunct German developer Synetic — has made its way to Steam. Available low, low price of $10, it was never going to set the shop window on fire. But still, it’s a very important re-release because it shows how classic racers, often buried in chains of expired licenses, can make a comeback in the same way that games in other genres do. It’s really that simple: patch licenses.

This was one of many changes implemented when UniqueGames, the current rights holder, re-listed WR2: returned to Steam a few weeks ago. The original title included over 40 cars from real brands. For Champion editionThe car models have been kept mostly unchanged with a little editing to remove badges and make the vehicles look so slightly different from their actual models.

A screenshot of the yellow supercar on the road in World Racing 2: Champion Edition.

Screenshot:: UniqueGames Publishing GmbH

A four-person conversion team also performed a number of other improvements and bug fixes, including support for modern game consoles, Steam Workshop modding, and remote play (so friends can play split-screen-style over the Internet without each owning the game). WR2 Photo mode has been added and now there are even achievements. It’s nice to see a classic racer getting this kind of love, ensuring it will be available to play easily on modern PCs for many years to come.

Now I must say clearly. I don’t like this game. I have been provided with a code number WR2: C.E by the publisher, and I’ve delved into it a few times over the past few weeks. The controls are weird, the AI ​​is disgusting, the career is boring and also pointless, and the music is bad. There are no memories of the original game in my brain, so the benign lens of nostalgia can’t save it here. I wasn’t one to shout WR2: escape licensing hell though there are some retro racers I would sacrifice a year or two of my life to see it go back.

The AI ​​in this game really struggles with corners and traffic, which is a problem because its tracks tend to have a lot of corners and a lot of traffic.
Gif:: Adam Ismail

However, I to do love to see old racing games listed for sale no matter how bad they are. Too many own actual cars, so they are never reworked or reworked so that the publisher has to pay the automakers a second time. The only exception that comes to mind is Criterion Need For Speed ​​​​Hot Pursuitwhich was originally released in 2010 and ported to modern platforms by Stellar Entertainment in 2020. It’s just missing Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 and Stirling Moss, but the rest of the roster was remarkably intact, badges and all.

Indeed, it is not always possible to delete licenses from old games. I would never have tried to do that in the old days Gran Turismo for example; There are so many makes and models it would be silly, and the franchise’s entire raison d’être is real-world accuracy. But you can get away with it Sega Rally Championship, which originally had two low poly vehicles. Or 1986? Out Run:. In fact, Sega has done just that Out Run: several times, most recently for the Nintendo Switch version of Sega Ages, which ported the M2.

A screenshot of the rally cars on the gravel road in World Racing 2: Champion Edition.

Screenshot:: UniqueGames Publishing GmbH

In other words, while World Race 2 It’s not a racing game I personally would have chosen to get this thorough treatment, however I’m glad it happened for preservation’s sake. Ideally, it is far from the last. if anything, let’s hope this forgotten racer starts a trend.



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