Welcome to part three of the RaceDepartment Sim Racing Big Mid Season Review. In this segment of our series of articles we will be taking a look at some of the new titles due to be released before 2016 comes to an end. Each game will receive our 'excitement' rating, and we will let you know the dates of when you can try the games for yourself. Initially this was going to come towards the end of the series, but seeing as its already written and some of these games will be released soon, I've decided to post it early. Sorry to those who were looking forward to out Forza 6, Apex and iRacing article, they'll be coming up next. Forza Horizon 3 Forza Horizon 3 will be making its Windows 10 debut this year as the team over at Turn 10 Studios look to make it's first serious foray into the world of PC sim racing. After the fairly lacklustre release of Forza 6: Apex, Turn 10 will be looking to make a bigger splash with the new Horizon title as they take on the PC sim racing giants for the first time. The cross platform Xbox One and Windows 10 release is due to be the largest Horizon game to date, with over 350 cars due to be included in a game set within the wild Australian outback. Turn 10 have been pushing previews for the title at a vast rate of knots in recent weeks and one thing that can be discerned for sure, Horizon 3 should be one of the most visually impressive racing games of recent years. Forza Horizon 3 looks to expand on themes developed over previous editions of the game, with one of the more prominent features being a much expanded Forza Festival feature. In Forza Festival your mission is to win over fans and become the most popular festival in the world, giving players full control of all elements of the festival, from selecting locations in which to expand all the way down to picking music to play at the events. Gamers will be given the power to tailor every experience within the game to their own personal tastes. You can review the Forza Horizon 3 sub forum to share your experiences of previous Horizon games and your expectations of this new addition to the series. Catch the latest news and discuss the title with your fellow fans. Forza Horizon 3 is due for release on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC 27th September 2016. Excitement rating: 7 out of 10 - Should provide an entertaining light hearted take on the racing genre. With a sizable selection of cars, large open world map and very impressive visuals this could be a popular game. As the first "full" Forza cross platform release it will be interesting to see how the game is accepted by Windows 10 PC players. Formula One 2016 Codemasters have found themselves stuck in a bit of a rut with their Formula One games recently, seeing a slow decline of quality in recent years after the arguable peak of the franchise with F1 2012. In 2015 the most recent addition to the F1 series was lauded by the studio as a return to form, with its new game engine, advanced graphics and much improved physics over previous releases. Sadly the title shipped with far too many game breaking bugs and performance issues, a bizarre lack of features previously included in the series and a general feeling of being rushed and poorly thought through. The team over at Codemasters appear to have learnt from past mistakes, with a never before seen desire to engage with community members during development phase complimenting an impressive list of features both new and returning. Simulation appears to be higher on the agenda for the British studio this year, as F1 2016 looks to include player controlled formation laps and manual race starts for the very first time. Manual pit lane entry and the Virtual Safety Car also debut this year as well as the traditional Mercedes Safety Car making a much anticipated return to the game. Another suspiciously missing feature from 2015 that finds its way back into the new release is the popular career mode. This time players will have the ability to race for ten seasons of Formula One. You can decide how you want to upgrade your car, by consulting with the Research and Development Engineer on areas for improvement, and by completing tasks during Practice sessions. Your very own virtual agent will be present to help you negotiate a move between teams and work your way up the grid during your virtual career. The list of new features and drive towards more simulation aspects is indeed an intriguing prospect, and with the new game engine now in year two of its development phase, one would hope the latest game representing the pinnacle of motorsport is a more sorted and polished product than has been the case in recent years. You can check out the F1 20** series forums for news and discussion about all the various Codemasters F1 games. Keep an eye out on the F1 2016 sub forum for upcoming league and club events with F1 2016. F1 2016 is due for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC 19th August 2016. Excitement Rating: 8.5 out of 10 - Every year Codemasters release a new F1 game, every year everyone says it will be the best game so far, yet every year we can't help but find ourselves feeling let down and almost immediately shelving the game while we wait for the next one with promises of better things to come. For the first time in many years, it actually seems like the new Formula One game might indeed be a giant leap forwards for the franchise. Despite being bitten far too many times in the past, F1 2016 has a different vibe and might, just possibly, be the game we've all been expecting since 2012. KartKraft Good things come to those who wait. That's what they say anyway, and its probably something that gets said a fair few times each day over at Black Delta Studios. For the sim racing fan with a long memory, you may recall this game started out life back in 2007 under the KartSim title. Much has happened since those early days, and the team behind the game have worked hard these last few years brining a number of pieces of the puzzle together in order to create a next generation karting simulation that will appeal to both casual and hard core racing fans alike. Back in March Black Delta CEO Zach Griffin sat down with RaceDepartment and discussed in detail the plans for this new game and what goes on behind the scenes at the studio. Zach had many interesting and exciting things to discuss during our Q&A, and the future for KartKraft looked very exciting at that point in time. Since the interview took place KartKraft has entered a closed beta testing programme, giving a large group of selected beta testers the opportunity to work on ironing out the fine details prior to the game making its public debut. Unfortunately the studio do appear to be showing their relative inexperience in the sim racing industry with a chronic lack of public interaction and update news during the testing phase. For a game that has suffered severe delays, change of engine and name since its initial announcement, many in the sim racing community are understandably slightly sceptical about the ability to deliver a quality finished product. So far poor communication strategy and missed deadlines are doing very little to alleviate those fears amongst the sim racing fan base. Communication issues aside, the game does appear to be taking shape nicely and the graphics engine within KartKraft no doubt produces impressive results, if the released screenshots are anything to go by. Looking back on the information we learnt during our Q&A interview, we should be able to expect a fairly well fleshed out career progression mode once the game hits release, alongside a robust and sizable multiplayer environment that cries out for some serious organised club and league racing events. KartKraft benefits from several official licence agreements and a number of laserscanned kart circuits throughout the word, so the promise of a very very popular new racing game is real indeed. The big advantage in KartKraft's favour is a lack of serious competition in the sim racing scene for a truly next generation kart racing game. As real world karting is such a popular sport I think this game could well appeal to both serious sim racing fans and those with a more casual interest in sports and racing style games. Lets just hope the studio can deliver on the obvious promise of the game. The RaceDepartment KartKraft sub forum is the place to go for news and discussion regarding KartKraft. Check it out for news and racing clubs and leagues once the game is released. Release date in to Steam Early Access currently unknown. Excitement Rating: 8 out of 10 - Karting is immensely popular and a dedicated next generation karting simulation has long been needed in the sim racing world. The potential for an immense online racing experience is very real indeed with this style of game, and the studio is headed by a man who knows what it means to drive high performance racing karts. Graphics look good and the gameplay has been promised to offer an authentic simulation experience. Concerns about how the studio communicate and the number of delays remain. Motorsport Manager We wrote about the upcoming Motorsport Manager PC game back in May to a positive reception amongst the sim racing community here at RD, many of you having already sampled the mobile version of the title and sharing positive feedback. Taking the initiative and bringing the game over to PC, Playsport Games and SEGA look like they have been hard at work fleshing out the gaming experience with a wealth of customisation and management options coupled with neat looking menus and a visually attractive 3D world environment. Information on how Motorsport Manager will replicate the racing world and exactly what players will be able to do in game is in rather short supply at the moment, however it is expect the usual management hiring and firing of staff, car development, building you infrastructure and securing sponsors will all be present in the new game. Sadly not coming with an official licence or real world names, many will be hoping the inventive modding community will come to the rescue post release and add in the details to recreate known teams and drivers to add to the immersive experience. Motorsport Manager is associated with SEGA, the same people who brought us the incredibly popular Football Manager series of games, so they do know a thing or two about how to make a management simulation and motoracing could lend itself well to the genre. No successful motorsport management simulation has been released for quite some time now, for Motorsport Manager it is very possible that players around the world will be losing vast chunks of their life glued to the screen while they mumble just one more race.... This could well be a bit of a hit in 2016. Have a browse through our Motorsport Manager sub forum and share your experiences with fellow racing management fans at here at RD. Motorsport Manager is due for release on Windows, Mac and Linux in September. Excitement Rating: 8.5 out of 10 - It's been too long since a good management game was released that represents the world of motorsport. With a known brand in Sega backing up the studio, this game is as well placed as any before it to become a hit on release. Management games don't sound like fun on paper, but once it draws you in you can get addicted very quickly before you even notice. So far, Motorsport Manager looks like it has the right ingredients to become very popular. NASCAR Heat: Evolution Monster Games are back and the fans are excited. NASCAR games in recent years have been so full of bugs and issues that many fans of the series have simply abandoned the latest games in favour of the still popular NASCAR Racing 2003. NASCAR have finally taken note of the community reaction and awarded the licence to produce official games back to Monster, a studio that have been away from the franchise for over a decade. In partnership with Dusenberry Martin Racing the new NASCAR game is already building up quite a fan following on social media and online. NASCAR is suffering with trackside numbers in recent years but the main staple of fans remains strong, and many of these fans have been looking for a solid NASCAR game experience for a long time. Early previews of the title state the new game will ship with 40 official drivers and all 23 official NASCAR series tracks. Player customisation will be present in game as well as a full suite of car setup options. The title will feature two driving modes, ‘Normal’ is aimed at players who wish to experience the thrill and challenge of driving a NASCAR race wheel to wheel in a pack of over 40 cars on some of America's top racing locations, without putting too much technical detail into the driving physics and making the experience too complicated for the casual gamer to enjoy. The ‘Simulation’ setting is thought to be aimed at the many NASCAR fans looking for a thoroughbred simulation experience with more advanced physics and narrower window of driving performance applied to the cars. It is difficult to judge exactly how "simulation" the simulation option will be at this stage, but it is nevertheless reassuring that the studio are keeping an eye on the simulation aspect as well as catering for the more casual fan. The NASCAR Heat: Evolution sub forum is the place to be for NASCAR news and chat. Head on over and join the conversation today. NASCAR Heat Evolution is due for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC 13th September 2016. Excitement Rating: 8 out of 10 - Heat: Evolution sure looks and sounds like a superior product than recent releases and the return to Monster games can only be a positive for the series. Screenshots and videos released so far show slightly disappointing visuals for a next generation release and the gameplay footage has done little to show off driving physics within the game. Official cars, tracks and drivers are a very big bonus, but with rFactor 2 having a very well designed StockCar Series available in game, coupled with community modding of names and liveries, perhaps the new NASCAR title is already on its back foot? Time will tell if the pull of an officially licensed product is enough to win over fans to NASCAR Heat: Evolution. WRC 6 Bigben Interactive and Kylotonn Racing Games took over the official FIA World Rally Championship licence in 2015 with the sub par WRC 5, a game that felt very much like its earlier predecessors and unsurprisingly fell quickly by the wayside in comparison to the highly regarded DiRT Rally. Bigben and Kylotonn will be keen to learn from that first release and stamp more of their influence on the new WRC game. Alain Jarniou, Game Director at Kylotonn, was very clear post WRC5 release that the team are listening to community comments and working towards producing a more realistic rallying experience with the new game. Evidence of the new approach has been noticed already in early video footage, with longer stages and narrower roads already making a refreshing change from the usual WRC game offerings. As can be expected with any officially licensed product, WRC 6 will contain all 14 rounds of the 2016 WRC series as well as all the star drivers and a wide selection of WRC 2 teams alongside competitors from the Junior WRC category. Strangely missing in previous releases but making a welcome debut in WRC 6 is the inclusion of head-to-head Super Special Stages. This is a great addition to the game and further improves the immersive feeling of experiencing a full World Rally Championship event. The WRC 6 sub forum at RaceDepartment is the place to go for the latest WRC6 news items and discussions. Keep tabs on the forum post game release for WRC6 mod releases. WRC 6 is due for release October 2016 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. Excitement Rating: 6.5 out of 10 - It is a big ask for Bigben and Kylotonn to produce a rally game capable of knocking DiRT Rally off the top spot with WRC 6. Only the second WRC release from the studio and up against years of experience in the Codemasters DiRT franchise, it will be interesting to see if WRC is pitched towards the same hardcore rally crowd as DiRT. The big advantage for WRC is obviously the official licence, with rights to create 14 unique rally events and a selection of different cars and classes, that should go some way towards helping sell copies. Positive noises about improving realism are cause for optimism. The new WRC title could be the start of something really quite positive for rally fans. Stay tuned for the (slightly delayed) fourth instalment of our Sim Racing Mid Season Review. Part four will be focusing on Xbox One's Forza Motorsport 6, Turn 10 Studios debut PC release Forza Motorsport 6: Apex and iRacing.com. Coming soon... Which new title are you most looking forward to? Do you think any of the above games will become a serious player in the racing genre? Agree with our excitement ratings? Let us know in the comments section below!