A few days ago during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo general manager Shinya Takahashi mentioned that Nintendo had not abandoned “realistic” style games when questioned about working on games like 1080 Snowboarding and Wave Race 64. A pretty standard comment by all accounts but one that got me thinking – what would a Wave Race game be like on the Nintendo Switch? Well pretty friggin’ awesome apparently, especially if these ideas (wild as they may be) make it into the game). So on this hot (at least where I’m sitting) day, lets head to the beach and remember what made Wace Race so great and why Nintendo needs to bring it back.
At its core Wave Race is a pretty standard, arcade-style racing game. You going around a circle (or other shape) enough times and if you are ahead of everyone else then you win! What sets it apart though is its excellent use of physics, namely water mechanics. Even back on the Nintendo 64 the game was able to emulate “realistic” water effects giving you the feeling of actually bobbing up and down through a tropical bay or lagoon. These physics not only added to the game’s ‘realistic’ gameplay but also allowed the track to morph into something new almost every time. Want to catch some mad air? Then make sure to hit that wave just right! Or avoid it entirely to shave some seconds off your time, the choice was all yours. And that’s a big part of what made Wave Race 64 and Blue Storm on the GameCube so special.
So how can the Nintendo Switch help bring new life into the series? Well apart from things like HD graphics (it would look great), online multiplayer (that would be fun) and the ability to play the game anywhere (even the real beach!)? Well for one thing the added power of the Switch could lend itself to more realistic wave physics, allowing for truly dynamic and even procedurally generated race courses. I even have this idea that you could sync the game to real world weather patterns in lets say surf-happy places like Australia and Brazil and play the game with the same types of waves that you would find if you were actually physically there.
Now, I know I’ve spent two whole paragraphs talking about how great the wave physics are in Wave Race (and they are!) but there’s another element that could really help the game stand out among its peers (of which I realize there aren’t that many…). The Nintendo Switch’s default controllers, the Joy-Cons offer both motion controls and HD Rumble, two features that could be inserted perfectly into a new Wave Race title. For one, similarly to how in Wii Sports: Resort you could hold one Joy-Con in each hand acting like the jet-ski’s throttle and break and the HD Rumble could be used to simulate all sorts of things like water splashing, an engine revving or a wipeout into the waves. Really, there’s so many possibilities to how these controllers could be used in Wave Race that it almost makes no sense for Nintendo not to make it for the Switch.
I realize this article may seem like a bunch of ‘fantasies’ about what a new Wave Race could bring to the Nintendo Switch and that none of them might come to pass but I really, really hope we do see a new game in the series, especially with some enhancements brought on by the new hardware. Well I’ve said my bit so what about you? Do you want to see a new Wave Race? And if so what features would you like to see the game use? Let us know in the comments below!