It’s time for another Superbike World Championship match
For those who don’t know what SBK is, let’s do a brief history lesson. The SBK, or Superbike World Championship, is a world motorcycle racing championship regulated by the FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).
The championship started in 1988 and has continued to this day. Unlike MotoGP which uses prototypes of motorcycles not accessible to the public, SBK’s bikes are modified versions of road bikes; think Yamaha YZF-R1, Honda Fireblade and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.
The popularity of the sport has changed over the years, from its heyday in the 90s when a certain Carl Fogarty dominated with Ducati, to the appeal that waned a bit in the 2010s. Even ex-MotoGP riders have raced in the championship which shows how competitive he is.
SBK’s 2021 season has been one of the most exciting in a long time. The championship was decided in the final round of the season between two riders – Toprak Razgatlioglu on Yamaha and Jonathan Rea on Kawasaki, Toprak finally ending Rea’s six-game winning streak.
This season alone has proven how good this championship can be and interest in the sport has grown as a result. So, that begs the question, why hasn’t there been SBK gaming on console and PC since 2012?
Who has the license?
The Superbike World Championship games have been released to mobile devices in recent years, with a brand new one – SBK Official Mobile Game – launching in early November of this year.
I’ve played the beta of this and it’s a proficient portable runner. Digital Tales holds the mobile license for the SBK franchise; However, they do not have the console and PC license, so this limits them to only iOS and Android titles.
So, does anyone currently own the rights to SBK on console and PC? Unfortunately, this is not 100% clear. Italian developer Milestone used to make the console games, the most recent being SBK Generations from 2012 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Without a release since, Milestone is currently very busy with MotoGP, Ride, Hot Wheels Unleashed, Monster Energy Supercross and MXGP, it looks like SBK is not a priority at the moment.
The Italian developer had a good run with SBK, SBK X being my personal highlight released in 2010.
It was the first game to include the Superstock and Supersport support classes; it also gave the player eight seasons in career mode to try to achieve the Superbike World Championship title.
Starting in the Superstock category, the player would try to progress to Supersport and then to the upper Superbike class. Track evolution was also present in the game with tire gum left on the track after each session, improving grip levels from session to session.
A new game mode called “Arcade” has been added to appeal to more casual players, with a boost button and avoiding the same precision as more serious modes. The simulation modes were quite similar to what you’ll find in current MotoGP games, albeit simplified.
If you had set the simulation level to maximum, you were much more likely to break down and had to handle the throttle and brakes much more carefully. There was a sense of challenge and a great sense of satisfaction if you managed to do a good race on the highest settings.
SBK 2011 built on SBK X and SBK Generations once again took inspiration from it while adding more content.
SBK Generations has included four seasons of real-world content for 2009-2012. That meant you had all the superbike riders and bikes from those four years, the 2009-2011 World Supersport bikes and riders, and the 2009-2010 World Superstock bikes and riders, as well as the historic riders and motorcycles were also included.
In total, it was over 220 riders, 60 bike models, 140 teams and 17 circuits – that’s a lot of content. The main draw of SBK Generations was that you started your career in the 2009 season and continued on until the end of the 2012 season, which meant that the riders would change bikes, teams and category like they did in real life, which we didn’t. seen in a motorcycle game since.
People often ask for driver transfers in contemporary MotoGP games and although Milestone’s MotoGP license does not allow driver transfers, surely a workaround could be something similar to SBK Generations, setting MotoGP over several seasons and forcing the drivers to change teams and categories as they did. in real life.
This game sounded like a swansong for the SBK franchise; however, it was not as well received as previous games, earning lower critical ratings. Personally, I would tend to agree with the reviews because I didn’t enjoy SBK Generations as much as I did with SBK X. Maybe I was exhausted by the SBK franchise, maybe SBK Generations was a good point for Milestone to shut down the franchise – sometimes you can have too many good things.
But, I think now an SBK game would be very well received by the community, as mentioned earlier the 2021 season has been incredibly exciting and it would be great to have a game to accompany the actual championship. Interest in the Championship has grown recently, so it would be great to be able to recreate some of those amazing battles that we’ve seen this season.
Suggestions on how to create a new SBK game
There are actually a number of ways to achieve this, a standalone title based on the 2021 season or the 2022 season, as that would be up to us before we knew it. This could be a formula similar to MotoGP titles and include support classes.
Another way is to create something similar to SBK Generations and include multiple seasons and historical content; it would allow people new to the championship to catch up on what has happened over the past few years, much like historic events in MotoGP, there could be historic SBK events recreating classic clashes.
The last way would be to implement the SBK license in the RIDE series. It might sound a bit strange to some people, but please stop thinking about it for a second. In RIDE 4 you work for the world league, this includes Supersport 300cc machines, Supersport 600cc machines, Superstock machines and also Superbikes.
In fact, there is even a category in RIDE 4 called World Superbikes League, so it’s already in the game aside from its name. So that proves that SBK would fit very well into the RIDE franchise and in RIDE 4 you will find plenty of SBK liveries ready to download, all created by the community. I have created videos using these liveries to show that there is a lot of interest in a new SBK game and the comments seem to match.
Now is a better time than ever to bring the SBK franchise back to consoles and PCs. A modern SBK game would appease devotees like me, and many features of current MotoGP games would fit right in. Fans are set to race in the SBK category again, so Milestone if you’re reading this and have access to the right licenses you know what to doâ¦ please.
ROBO46 is an expert in motorcycle racing and has his own YouTube gaming channel. You can also listen to his opinions on motorcycle games in an episode of The Traxion.GG Podcast.
Image Source: Motorsport Images