If I’m driving home from Tennessee or Virginia, I have to come down the mountains and pass those super-dramatic run-off pits for trucks that don’t have no brakes. I have alwayswanted to see one, uh, get used. Like, nobody gets hurt, but a big horn-blaring mofo goes full blast into the trench while your terrified Mom instinctively flings her right arm across your chest. Where was I.
Oh yeah, there’s apparently an FIA-sanctioned truck racing series, and it looks nothing like NASCAR’s Camping World Trucks series (or, before you mention it, the shit-tacular Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing). Those are pickup trucks on an oval. These are unholstered 5-ton Optimus Primes running around an actual F1 course (Hungaroring and Nurburgring are on this year’s eight-race schedule). Which means the wrecks must be fan-tastic. And there’s a video game for this!
FIA European Truck Racing Championship (developer: N-Racing) is the latest flier Bigben Interactive has taken on real professional sports that have missed the mainstream video game bus. It’s coming sometime this month, too, for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. I assume that whole European thing means it’s just where the suckers run, not that I can’t buy it in a digital storefront here in the land where big rigs were invented. (I’m making that up, I have no idea.)
The latest video, from Friday, is above. It shows a lap around the Slovakiaring, before everyone pulls into a Flying J for some beef jerky and syphilis. Hell yes, I am definitely putting the brake assist ON for this thing. Check it out at 2:30 when the truck makes a sound like a wounded Godzilla and actually drifts. Somehow B.J. McKay there manages to save it. Players will have to be as mindful of tire (sorry, tyre) wear and brake temperature as they are their racing line, to say nothing of their center of gravity whipping around those hairpins like a Peterbilt on a cloverleaf exit.
If you’re scratching your head at why everyone’s being so polite and moving out of the way for the player, all I can say is, sounds like the ETRC is a stickler for courteous and safe driving. That, or the mutually assured destruction that would come with trading paint keeps everyone honest in real life. In online multiplayer (there are five modes) I bet it’ll be a clown fiesta.
I’ve complained that licensed sports video games have contracted as a genre and, though what’s left is stocked with bells and whistles, there’s still at least a sameness problem year-to-year like no other category. But give it to Bigben for consistently stepping up with something different. The FIA’s World Rally Championship license is probably the biggest brand they publish (five games since 2013), but they’ve also put out games for handball, rugby (from The Golf Club’s HB Studios), Tennis World Tour in 2018, and Spike Volleyball back in February. All of these on consoles, too.
No specific date for FIA European Truck Racing Championship other than this month. When I hear a firm date I’ll get on the CB and tell everyone where the big 10-50 is, other than at my place.