GRID Legends: What the upcoming racer needs to do to be great

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GRID Legends was announced at last month's EA Play Live, much to many people's surprise. Most were expecting a new Dirt Rally or Need for Speed to be confirmed, but it was a new GRID that we got an exclusive look at.

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So, what does GRID Legend have to do to be the great racing title that it deserves to be? Here's our take!

Table of Contents

Strike the right balance

For the first time in the series' history, GRID will include beautifully detailed cutscenes and a full story mode. There's not a lot known about the plot nor the racing within the story mode, but Codemasters have emphasised that over the racing so far.

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GRID Legends race 3
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ON-TRACK IS KING: What happens on the circuit needs to take priority over the story off it

GRID Legends won't be released until next year, so there's plenty of time to show off the gameplay. However, Codies need to ensure that they don't place too much of their time and effort on purely the off-track action. If that's the case, then Codies may as well just make movies rather than video games.

Getting actors of the calibre of Ncuti Gatwa and using XR to capture the cutscenes is all well and good, but if you don't have solid gameplay to back it up, Legends won't be legendary. Legends will be GRID's debut on the next-gen consoles, so we're expecting a marked leap up in performance over 2019's GRID.

We're sure we'll get a gameplay trailer before too long, but the reveal trailer ironically revealed nothing on this front.

More than anything, Legends needs to be fun

GRID Legends won't have the best handling model in racing gaming, nor will it have the largest range of cars. Legends also won't have a real-life racing series to back it up, like the Formula 1 games do. What Legends needs to be, to be a success is that it has to be fun and enjoyable to play.

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GRID Legends race 4
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OUTRAGEOUS: There are some vehicles you don't expect to see racing in Legends

Good racing is key and GRID Legends needs to fun and enjoyable on-track to be a success. GRID 2019 was for the racing purists, your AI rivals were the closest we got to actual characters. The Nemesis game mechanic was probably the best there was in 2019's GRID, but it's doubtful this will return for Legends.

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Story modes aren't essential to make a good racing game, but they add another element and make it more fun.

Codemasters know this, as Dirt 5's story mode is integral to the game and included both Troy Baker and Nolan North, two of video gaming's top actors. F1 2021's Braking Point was also the series' biggest and best story mode in the series' history. GRID needs to be Dirt but on track, and the EA-Codies partnership appears to recognise this.

Multi-class racing could be key

Aside from the GRID World Series taking on a bigger meaning in GRID Legends, multi-class racing was one of the few new gameplay elements revealed in the EA Play presentation. This means that you can race any vehicles in the game against each other. Yes, that does include trucks all the way to supercars.

GRID Legends drift
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DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH: Multi-class racing could be huge in Legends

How will this work though? Won't the supercars blow the field away? Well, Codies haven't revealed how this will be handled, but the vehicles will presumably have to be weighted so that they all have a similar performance. This could be a similar system to F1 2021's multiplayer, where every car has the performance of the fastest team in the game.

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That works in Formula 1, where all of the cars are extremely quick, but the performance difference between a Pagani and a Mini Cooper is massive. We could see Renault Clio's managing 200 mph (320 kph) on the straights, which is ridiculous, but will anybody actually complain about that?

Multiplayer could be organised madness, there's definitely huge potential for GRID Legends to crack the racing multiplayer market. Again, there is nothing confirmed on this front, but we can speculate about what could be introduced.

If there's a similar system to Dirt 5 for Legends, then online could be huge. Plus, modes like Playgrounds coming in would be very welcome, and this is for both single and multiplayer.