Racing Games Rule at E3 2017

Last week in Los Angeles, the gaming industry gathered for the annual E3 Expo, and as we hinted at recently, this year's show proved to be overflowing with racing titles all scheduled to come out later this year or early next — with everything from hyper-realistic simulations to narrative-driven arcade games on the way.

Now that the dust has settled, here are five standouts that should have game lovers and gearheads getting ready to empty their wallets.

1.  Forza Motorsport 7

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Let's start with Microsoft, who not surprisingly used E3 to debut the latest title in the Forza franchise, "Forza Motorsport 7." Although it will be released on the existing Xbox One platforms as well as the PC, "Forza 7" was used as one of the titles to show off the upcoming Xbox One X console.

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"Forza 7" will be optimized for the upcoming high-powered Xbox One X with improved visuals, true 4K rendering with HDR and some of the best looking details we've ever seen in a racing game.

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But regardless of which machine you play it on, "Forza 7" promises to deliver on the series' reputation for stuffing tons of content into a game, with new tracks to race on and a launch day car list which will include over 700 models. "Forza 7" will launch worldwide October 3, with the Xbox One X hitting stores November 7.

2.  Gran Turismo Sport

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Sony meanwhile continues to put the finishing touches on its flagship racing game, "Gran Turismo Sport," which was initially supposed to launch in fall of 2016.

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While most of the details about "GT Sport" are already known at this point, E3 did finally bring confirmation that the game will launch this fall. This will become the first "Gran Turismo" title on the PlayStation 4 since the release of the console back in 2013.

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There will have already been five full releases in the rival "Forza" franchise on Xbox One by the time "GT Sport" is released in the fall, and "Gran Turismo" fans are hoping that the game will be worth the extended wait. We will know soon.

3.  Project CARS 2

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Whether you game on a PlayStation, XBox or a PC–Slightly Mad Studios' "Project CARS" series has quickly taken a spot near the top of the sim racing pyramid. "Project Cars 2," their second game in the franchise, was put on prime display at E3 this year.

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Along with the series debut of Porsche (also appearing in "Forza" and "Gran Turismo"), "Project CARS 2" will also feature the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a selection of both modern and classic Indy machines to race with.

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"Project CARS 2" will be released September 22 and, like the original, on PC the game will be compatible with virtual reality headsets for sim Racers to achieve maximum immersion.

4.  Need for Speed Payback

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While the previous three titles had either already been announced or strongly hinted at prior to the show, E3 also saw the first showing of a couple different big racing games from the arcade genre. One of them is EA's "Need for Speed" series, which returns this fall with "NFS Payback."

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Set in an open world and featuring a plot that puts you in charge of taking down a powerful cartel, the game seems to be heavily inspired by a certain series of automotive action films — and the initial trailers promise plenty of vehicular mayhem.

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Along with that, the deep visual customization system from 2015's "Need for Speed" game returns — this time with the addition of off-road vehicles to help traverse the game's desert setting.

5.  The Crew 2

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Last, but not least, is Ubisoft, who showed "Crew 2" — a follow-up to 2014's ambitious open world racing game that features a massive map covering an abbreviated version of the entire United States.

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The sequel will also include the entire U.S., and players will be able to race across it not just in cars, motorcycles and off-road vehicles, but now in aircraft and boats as well.

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(All photos courtesy of respective games.)

While the original game suffered from a lack of polish, its premise was very promising, and if Ubisoft can improve on that original formula, they may have a hit on their hands. "The Crew 2" is scheduled to be released in early 2018.

Whether you like your racing games wild and over the top or highly realistic, this year's E3 Expo only further demonstrated that racing fans are going to have many choices when it comes to spending money over the next several months.

Anyone have any favorites?

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