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Friday, December 20, 2019

What If: Porsche Unleashed Sequel?

John B. Marine | 11:13 PM | | |
The best thing Electronic Arts has ever done with the Porsche license was come up with "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed." This game was released in 2000 and came before the series moved in the direction "NFS: Underground" went. "NFS: Porsche Unleashed" was all about racing, collecting, and tuning Porsche models from the early days to the (then) modern times of 2000. At the time, I didn't appreciate Porsche all that much, speaking as a Ferrari fan. Playing it helped me to appreciate Porsche more than I ever have. Up until a few years ago, Electronic Arts had the exclusive rights to feature Porsche in their games. To quote Lady Gaga, EA and Porsche had themselves a "Bad Romance." Games since have seen "Gran Turismo SPORT" and "Project CARS 2" (among others) take advantage of Porsche in their games.

This blog post is a commentary piece regarding what would it take for there to be a sequel to Porsche Unleashed. Or maybe... what would make a great sequel (proper or spiritual) to Porsche Unleashed? This blog post will offer up my thoughts on this.

Before I Begin...

I will use the hypothetical name "Porsche Unleashed Sequel" to describe the sequel.






What If: Porsche Unleashed Sequel?


To understand what I am discussing, one must understand what "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" brought about. If you have no idea what game I am going to make reference to, here is a video giving you a look at the classic "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" (video provided for educationa purposes):


^ Old Games in 4K - Need For Speed : Porsche Unleashed

"Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" came at a time when the Need for Speed series was not about illegal street racing and Hollywood-style theatrics. This game brought about a number of Porsche models to introduce to automobile enthusiasts. It featured classic Porsches, modern (at their time) Porsches, and even some Porsche racing cars- including the infamous Porsche 932/70 (nicknamed "Moby Dick"). This game helped in the education of Porsche models. However, it didn't have the kind of depth in offering detailed statistics and history of Porsche models as older Need for Speed games have shown. Part of why I loved the earliest Need for Speed games was how they helped me to appreciate cars- not just blindly race them with no real history or information to draw upon. I often feel like I want to know WHY I am driving/racing/tuning cars.

"Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" had options for racing in single races and in tournaments. There was even a Porsche Factory Driver challenge. These Factory Driver events challenged you to complete certain tasks kind of like License Tests in Gran Turismo games. These events pushed your driving skills further than any regular race.


Building a Modern "Porsche Unleashed": Cars.

"Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" was a game released in 2000. Times have changed, and so has Porsche between then and 2019. We have a number of newer Porsche models that could be lovingly tuned and raced by dedicated racing game fans. The first order of business would be to find a handful of Porsche models after 2000 as well as take in Porsche models from 2000 and earlier.

What Porsche models would be good to consider in a Porsche Unleashed sequel? Here are a few suggestions of mine. Remember- this original game was released in 2000. So what you would see are Porsche models mostly after 2000.

Cayman Series
The Porsche Cayman is the cheapest current Porsche you can buy. With its starting price of $56,900 USD for the 718 Cayman, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to get into the Porsche ecosystem. That is saying a lot considering the more expensive cheapest-priced models from Ferrari and Lamborghini. After all... it is a Porsche. So therefore, you can enjoy Porsche quality handling and performance even if you can't afford any of the 911 Porsches. The Cayman series have appeared in later racing games such as "Need for Speed: Shift" and as downloadable content for "Assetto Corsa."

Panamera Series
If the thought of a four-door Porsche seemed far-fetched, most Porsche purists cringe at the notion of the Porsche Panamera. The Panamera has served as a great four-door Porsche. It maintains the sleek profile of Porsche models while allowing for a more comfortable package to allow rear seating than almost any Porsche sports car. Recent Porsche models have a rear wing that deploys in a very entertaining way after a certain amount of speed. The Panamera ranges in price from $80K USD to about $198K USD.

Cayenne Series
If the idea of a four-door Porsche makes people cringe, then the idea of a Porsche sport utility vehicle (SUV) makes a lot of Porsche enthusiasts cringe even more. Since 2003 or so, the Porsche Cayenne series has vastly become a best-seller for Porsche types. I personally even see at least one Cayenne driven on the road on most weekends. I always known the Cayennes of the past mostly suffering from overheating brakes. Since then, these have been stylish and capable machines. While I am not as sure about the off-road capabilities of the Cayenne, you can surely envision the Cayenne as a big, honking Porsche... that is more a sports car in an SUV body. Cayenne models range in price from $66.8K USD to $164K USD.

Macan Series
The Porsche Macan is the cheapest Porsche you can buy. As of December 21, 2019; a base-level Macan will cost you about $50,900 USD. The Macan seems a lot more like a sports car in an SUV body considering it is not as heavy as its bigger brother Cayenne range. The Macan range as of the time of this initial blog post goes from $50.9K USD up to $83.6K USD.

Carrera GT
One of the most beautiful cars of the 2000s was the Carrera GT. Its sleek lines and elegant profile make it a stunning beauty. It goes as fast as it looks as well. There is no denying this machine stuns even today. While it never got a racing version, it surely is a Porsche that could lovingly be taken at full speed.

918 Spyder
Today's jaw-dropping halo car for Porsche is the 918 Spyder. This hypercar has four-wheel drive and makes upwards of 900+ horsepower. One might even say the 918 Spyder is the 2010s decades' Carrera GT.

RS Spyder
Porsche is been no stranger to top-level sportscar racing. The company has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright a number of times in their history. Many motorsports fans know of either or both of the Porsche 917 or even the Group C beast known as the Porsche 962C. While their RS Spyder was not at the level of prototypes like the Audi R8 LMP and the Panoz LMP Roadster at the time, the RS Spyder held its own for sure as a potent prototype. Maybe the most famous of the RS Spyders are usually that of the Porsche RS Spyder adorned in yellow/red DHL livery.

919 Hybrid
While not the prettiest Porsche, it surely did its job by ruling top-level sportscar racing. Maybe one of the most infamous moments in motorsports history with Porsche was when Toyota was going to win Le Mans outright... until Porsche finally found some last minute, last moment magic to win outright.

919 Hybrid Evo
The Porsche may just be the ultimate race car Porsche ever conceived. It famously smashed a lap record at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit among other places.
I feel this car could probably be a car you can unlock upon completion of the game or of a certain game mode.

959 Dakar
Many Porsche purists regard the 959 as one of the greatest Porsches ever created. The thought of a 959 in rally raid, however, seemed a far-fetched concept. Porsche did test their mettle in the Paris-Dakar Rally back in the 1980s. Before the 959 Dakar, there was the 953 Dakar. More Porsche fans probably know the 959 more including its various iterations.

Porsche March Indy
When I played Broderbund's "Stunts"/"4D Sports Driving," I learned of an Indy car powered by a Porsche engine that raced back in 1990 or so. This would be an interesting Porsche to look at.


I have one real consideration in regards to featuring Porsches. I would be very okay if there was some of showcase or museum style deal which highlights on each Porsche model. The reason why I loved past NFS games was because you actually felt like you can learn about each car instead of randomly racing it. Things such as history, performance figures, statistics, and more would make the Porsche experience better.


Building a Modern "Porsche Unleashed": Locations.

"Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" had locations pretty much across Europe. Just about all of the courses were mostly either country roads or city street circuits. You also have to account for the different zones for the Porsche Factory Driver events. It may be okay not to ruin this formula. However, it won't hurt to change things up. It is also worth nothing that all of the races take place in Europe, and primarily continental Europe. Such a sequel could benefit from more of a world tour to tour the world in Porsches. Some off-road locations in North America or mainland Asia can be great for doing some Porsche off-roading. It would also be a plus if you could get licensing to some real racing facilities to push Porsches in their natural habitat- the race track. "Real Racing 3" had you race around Porsche's test track. That would be as beneficial to a Porsche-themed game as Fiorano for a Ferrari-themed game. It would also be interesting if the venues included a number of different locations in the United Kingdom, Africa, or even Australia.


Building a Modern "Porsche Unleashed": Events.

Anyone who played any classic "Need for Speed" games may know of the different kinds of races. You have your Single Race against a pack of drivers or head-to-head races. You can compete in Time Trials to try to land the fastest time. There are Knockout events where you don't need to be first all the time, but you don't want to finish last. Tournaments engage you in a series of races where you are to trying to become champion. If you're feeling above or below the law, you can engage in Pursuits. This classic formula could be implemented into a Porsche Unleashed sequel.

Since you are racing Porsches exclusively, this can open the door for some unique challenges. To my knowledge, there has never been a Porsche Cup game outside of mods for sim racing games that feature Porsche. Being able to compete in a Porsche Cup would be a nice way to get indulged with Porsche. The only issue, though, is that I think you would need some Formula 1 support or licensing since a lot of Porsche Cup often runs with the F1 schedule. Maybe I am wrong.

It would also be interesting to have many races based on Porsche's long history in sportscar racing. You could be racing anything from a mere Porsche 911 Cup Car all the way up to the Le Mans outright winning 919 Spyder. You even could take a step back in time and race classic Porsche race cars such as the 962C or the 917. You also could race machines like the lovely RS Spyder of the 2000s. The competitions could range from the classic style of races Need for Speed is known for, or they can be more like the real racing you'd find in an rFactor or any of Simbin/Sector3's racing games.

An interesting diversion from the classic formula would be the Pursuit style racing Need for Speed games today are famous for. If you fancy going against the law, you could stupidly drive your Porsche around a track and expect the law to try to pursue you. The police, of course... in their own Porsche pursuit vehicles. Conversely, you could drive in pursuit Porsches to try to arrest bad Porsche drivers. It would provide an interesting dynamic for sure seeing Porsches in the spirit of NFS pursuits.


Building a Modern "Porsche Unleashed": Tuning and Maintenance.

"Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" allowed you to modify the performance of your Porsches by buying performance parts for them. I am not certain if the tuning can be meticulous, but you could even set up Porsches any way you please to turn them into performance beasts. These would be excellent additions to the Porsche Unleashed model to tune them as much as you like.

You could try to maintain, repair, or restore used Porsches so they can run like new again. This is also a key in the Porsche experience from the original Porsche Unleashed. You know you could get some Porsches on the cheap at the expense of having to restore them.

Finally, if you want to make some extra money, you could auction off or sell your Porsche for a decent price. Someone may hopefully come along and pay you for your Porsche at the right price point.


This almost basically explains how to make a "Porsche Unleashed" sequel great instead of being some lackluster re-make or re-master.





Porsche Unleashed Sequel: Predicting Success


In this day and age of racing/driving games, I don't think a style of game like "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed" would stand out or succeed. Today's racing game landscape mostly pertains to trying to test out one game's racing engine to compete in a seemingly endless number of competitions. I don't think a modern game featuring only Porsches would succeed when many of us want to be able to race and customize a garden variety of vehicles from different manufacturers. One who loves Porsches would want to be able to race them against other vehicles from other manufacturers. Some even would want to put a Porsche against other road-going vehicles- such as motorcycles.

For those who want a more modern experience, I am uncertain the success of a modern "Porsche Unleashed" would sell well in today's racing/driving game landscape. However, for those who fancy nostalgia and games that take you back to simpler times, this would be an excellent game to consider adding to any gaming collection. Whatever developer decides to come up with a modern Porsche Unleashed will need to try to be creative to make a game like this not seem like an overly niche racing game.


Would a "Porsche Unleashed" Sequel Ever Happen?

I would say only a dedicated developer and team can make a game like this happen. Who is willing to make a quality title to celebrate Porsche like Electronic Arts did back in 2000? Maybe can this developer go steps further with a modern "Porsche Unleashed?" This developer would need to make it feel like a complete game and not as if it could be done better as a mod for an existing simulation racing title. It would be great to see a sequel of "Porsche Unleashed" featuring newer Porsche models and some older Porsches that did not grace the first title.





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