A mixture of trailers and screenshots for not one but four racing games burst out of Cologne's Gamescom expo, with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, various Formula One stars, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted all given time in the sun.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing: Transformed is an arcade racer in the style of a Mario Kart or Diddy Kong. One of its distinguishing features is that circuits can chart a course through land, sea and air, with players' vehicles sprouting wings and retracting wheels as needed.
F1 Race Stars and F1 2012 both sport the same Codemasters studio label, but while F1 2012 brings simulation racing to PCs and consoles, F1 Race Stars features bobble-headed drivers and racecourses that are part real-world, part fantasy loop-de-loop.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted might carry the popular Need for Speed name, but it's actually got a lot in common with Burnout Paradise, offering an open city to zip around -- both offline or online in the company of a bunch of friends -- and the addition of a crazy online scoring system that brings everyone back for more.
Of the four, F1 2012 will be first out of the gate, announced for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PCs from September 18.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is expected on 360, PS3, PC and PlayStation Vita, with additional iOS and Android versions, and whispers of Wii and Wii U editions to be substantiated. It's due the week of October 30.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed is then due on 360, PS3, PC, Vita, and Nintendo 3DS the week of November 16, with a Wii U version also confirmed; F1 Race Stars is also aiming for a November release on 360, PC and PS3.