In today’s official “bummer” news it was announced that Project CARS from Slightly Mad Studios has been delayed until March 2015. Originally the game was to be released for PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 (PS4), and Wii U next month in time for the Holiday season. However, the Wii U version was always meant to be released in 2015. Now all the other versions will join it. I have to say this is pretty disappointing, especially since I was really looking forward to this game after playing it at E3 this year.
Disappointment aside there is a really puzzling aspect to this story and that is the reason given for the delay. Remember how I mentioned that Project CARS was going to originally release next month in time for the holiday shopping season? Well it turns out that is exactly why they decided to delay it. Confused? Allow me to explain. It seems that if Slightly Mad Studios and Bandai Namco the official publisher and distributor of Project CARS are worried that with so many other games coming out during the holiday season that Project CARS will get lost in the crowd.
By pushing the release to March they believe they are giving Project CARS “the greatest chance for “success and visibility”. Normally, I would agree with this strategy however this time I do not and I will tell you why…
Firstly, I could understand being hesitant to go up against some of the big holiday releases but given the quality, finish, and overall positive impressions of the game so far I would reckon that this game would do just fine against any other triple A video game release this year.
Second, under normal circumstances the holiday season is a tough time to release a new IP but for Project CARS this would actually be the BEST time. Gamers who are on the look out for a racing game for Christmas this year have very slim pickings. To date there are only 3 major racing games out for “next gen” consoles: Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Horizon 2, and DRIVECLUB.
Mostly everyone who wants Forza Motorsport 5 has it already since its a launch title, Forza Horizon 2 is a great game and will likely pick up more steam over the holidays but its still an Xbox One exclusive so not everyone in the next gen console audience can get it and this brings us to my third reason why this delay comes at a bad time.
DRIVECLUB is the only major racing game available on Playstation 4 right now and its reviews are mediocre at best. Many outlets find DRIVECLUB to be an average racing game that is only made better by its online components. The problem with that is currently most if not all of DRIVECLUB’s online components are not working due to major server issues and as of now it is unclear when those issues will be fixed.
This leaves PS4-owning racing game fans with virtually nothing to choose from as its likely many of them would not want to buy a broken game. If Project CARS went ahead as scheduled the PS4 crowd would FLOCK to it in droves! Perhaps the sales on Xbox One would not be quite as strong since it would be going up against Forza Horizon 2 but Horizon 2 is an open world game where as Project CARS is closer to a sim like Forza Motorsport 5 but includes a few things that Forza 5 lacks such as dynamic weather and possibly a larger track selection.
To me this seems like a great opportunity missed for Project CARS but hopefully this time will be used to make the game even better than it was when I played it. I’ll keep you posted!