Yesterday brought the surprise announcement that Milestone have acquired the licence to produce the official Superbike video game. The Italian developer also stated that they'll be working on the their first title in the series ahead of a July release date.
So, what does this mean for the series? And what kind of game can we expect in the Summer?
What is the Superbike championship?
The Superbike World Championship is one of the top motorcycle racing tournaments in the world. Superbikes are regulated by the FIM, the same body that does so for MotoGP too. While the Superbikes aren't as fast as those in MotoGP, they are very quick and are fun to ride.
In 2022, Superbikes will travel to 13 different venues around the world. These include circuits you'll be familiar with like Assen and Phillip Island, and some you might not be, such as the Autodrom Most and Estoril.
Each race weekend is split into three races. These include two full races which sandwich a "superpole" race. There are currently 25 riders competing for 17 teams.
Previous Superbike games
Milestone have actually produced Superbike games before, even if it has been a long time. Milestone developed the series up until 2011, and the series has since become a mobile exclusive. SBK 2022 though, should bring the series back to the home console.
Milestone's biking pedigree
To say Milestone have experience when it comes to motorbike games is a massive understatement. Milestone have a number of series current running, with most of them being two-wheeled racing games. Of course, MotoGP and Ride are the standouts, but there are a lot more to choose from.
The official MXGP and Supercross games are also developed by Milestone, and those too are great games. So, things look very positive for the next SBK title. Not least because SBK 22 (as we expect it to be titled) will be the first game in the series to be released on the next-gen consoles.
This also follows Milestone diversifying to a car game for a change, with the raging success that was Hot Wheels: Unleashed. Milestone will bring innovations to the SBK series. We could perhaps even get a Managerial Mode where we can form a new team and take them to the very top.
What a new SBK game under Milestone will look like
The top is where Milestone can take this series as well. While a mobile game is accessible and easier to develop, a fully-fledged console version is what SBK needs. 4K resolution, 60 fps and 3D sound will take SBK 22 to new heights.
Of course, the game will be officially licenced, with the teams, drivers, sponsors and circuits all appearing in the game as they do in real life. We'd expect SBK 22 to be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and PC. It's possible that it could also launch on PS4, the One and Switch, but it depends which systems MotoGP 22 is on.
In short, we expect a game that is similar to the MotoGP series but with Superbikes in. That might sound like a bit of a cop-out, but it's what fans of Superbikes and bike racing gamers would want for their beloved series.