Gaming Hype: Project CARS Gets Delayed Until March 2015

Posted on 10.20.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

ProjectCARS_Delayed

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!

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Formula Drift: Irwindale Round 7 Results. Daigo Saito Takes The Final Win Of The Season & We Have A Champion

Posted on 10.13.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

FormulaDrift2014_Irwindale_Podium

Going into the final round at Irwindale things were tense.  Fredric Aasbo was less than 20 points away from the incredibly consistent Chris Forsberg.  Both drivers needed to be as close to flawless as possible if they wanted to achieve their respective desired results.  However, “flawless” is highly illusive in a sport in which results are completely subjective.  Here’s how it was all laid out for each contender: Chris Forsberg needed to make sure he finished as far ahead of Aasbo at all cost to preserve his lead.  He needed to out qualify him and finish ahead of him by at least two spots.  For Aasbo, as just mentioned he needed to finish ahead of Forsberg by two or more spots.  However, the two drivers happened to fall on the same side of the top 32 bracket so that meant considering that each driver kept winning their battles they would eventually have to face each other.

This was not great for Forsberg as his past battles with Aasbo mostly ended with his defeat.  But, if Forsberg could beat him this time it would secure a championship.  In the final four the two drivers finally faced off.  Forsberg fought valiantly but ultimately the judges gave the win to Fredric Aasbo which sent him into to the final against Daigo Saito who defeated Forrest Wang to make it to the final.  At this point Fredric had to defeat Saito in order to win the championship but Daigo’s monster car was too much and Aasbo was unable to close the gap on his follow run which resulted in the event win for Daigo and the championship win for Chris Forsberg.

FormulaDrift2014_ChrisForsbergChampion

Officially a two-time champion (Chris’ first title was earned in 2009), Chris Forsberg’s 2014 season was a constant uphill battle.  With no title sponsor on board (NOS energy drink stepped down to an associate sponsor status) Chris soldiered on through the year on a incredibly thin budget yet still managed to get a win and podium 5 times out of 7 rounds.  Fredric Aasbo had a great season getting his first two wins this season at rounds 4 & 6 but it was ultimately Forsberg’s consistency which won out.

It was a crazy season with ups, downs, controversy, and glory.  There has been/will be a lot of shake ups in the drifting community in the coming weeks which could drastically shape how the 2015 Formula Drift season will play out.  I will do my best to keep up with the news!

For now I want to say congrats to Chris Forsberg for his championship, Fredric Aasbo for his best season to date, and

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F1: Marussia F1 Driver Jules Bianchi Severely Injured In Japanese Grand Prix Crash

Posted on 10.05.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 2 - Barcelona, Spain

Instead of my normal “quick result” post on the F1 results this weekend, unfortunately I have some bad news to report.  During the Japanese Grand Prix, Marussia F1 driver Jules Bianchi was involved in a severe collision near the end of what was already a pretty sketchy race.  With a typhoon looming over Japan the Suzuka circuit was wet for most of the weekend.  In fact the race was red flagged once in the beginning of the event due to a significant down-pour.  When the rain let off the FIA decided to resume the race but later on the rains returned once again drenching the track.

Because of the tricky conditions Adrian Sutil lost control at turn 7, going off course and getting stuck in the run-off area.  The race continued with a local yellow in that area but fears began to grow that Sutil may have been seriously injured.  A recovery vehicle with a crane was deployed to extract Sutil’s car from the run off but during that time Jules Bianchi also lost control in turn 7 but instead of going into the run off his car went towards the scene of the accident at high speed and collided with the recovery vehicle.

Once the medical team and track workers reached Bianchi and realized the extent of his injuries they called for another red flag and eventually called the race with less than 10 laps to go.  Rather than air-lift Bianchi to the local hospital he was taken via ambulance with police escort.  There are conflicting reports that an air-lift was declined due to the weather conditions.  Bianchi was unconscious upon arrival and immediately underwent brain surgery for what was described as a “severe head injury”

After surgery Jules was moved to the intensive care unit and is said to be breathing on his own, which is good news.  Although the full extent of his injuries are still unknown and will probably remain that way for sometime while the driver recovers.

I can tell already that in the coming weeks there will be heated discussions about this incident in regards to who was to blame, what should have been done, what needs to be done in the future, etc.  I say as long as it all remains objective, rational, respectful, and civil bring it on.  Hopefully, this horrible occurrence will result in rules, regulations, or innovations that will increase the already advanced safety of Formula 1.

As for the results of the race, Lewis Hamilton was awarded the victory as he was in front when the race was called.  Nico Rosberg earned second place and Sebastian Vettel got third.  Naturally the podium ceremony was very much subdued from is normal fanfare.

As soon as any updates are reported  from credible sources I will try to update this post as well. For now my thoughts are with Jules Bianchi, his family, friends, and the Marussia F1 team.

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Hype: McLaren Wants To Create A Real Life J.A.R.V.I.S. (Video)

Posted on 09.23.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

McLaren_AppliedTech

Wouldn’t it be cool to actually have a virtual personal assistant that you could talk to and stuff like Tony Stark does with J.A.R.V.I.S.?  It would be so awesome!  I’d be like “JARVIS, take a picture of me being cool” and then I’d be like “JARVIS, make me a ham sandwich” and then JARVIS would be like “Dude, you’re being too bossy” and then I’d apologize because its not cool to be rude…  Anyhow, anyone familiar with McLaren knows that they have their hands on far more things than just motorsports.

McLaren really is an all around technology firm and have created cutting edge solutions for various industries from medical to commerce.  In a video that they released a while back they envision a future where all of their McLaren applied tech would combine into one crazy-slick JARVIS-like personal assistant as demonstrated by this vigorous young go-getter type-A woman featured in the clip.  The fictional (for now) device featured would pretty much work like an ECU for the human body.  It would monitor the wearers bio-telemetry and sync that with all other aspects of the user’s life (work, schedule, weather, etc).

The concept is actually pretty cool but I am not sure how I would personally feel about wearing that weird coin thing on my cheek.  You’ll see what I’m talking about in the clip below:

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Gaming Hype: Toyota FT-1 Vision GT Now Playable In Gran Turismo 6 (With Video)

Posted on 09.16.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

TOYOTA_FT1_Vision_GT_small

In another bout of video game news, today an update was released for Gran Turismo 6 which includes the Toyota FT-1 Vision GT.  As the name suggests the Vision GT is a race version of the FT-1 Vision road car concept that Toyota built for the Gran Turismo “Vision” project.  “Vision” cars (for now) can only be driven in the pristine virtual world that is Gran Turismo, so if you’ve ever wanted to know what its like to get behind the wheel of a pure-bred motorsport version of an already outrageous car then fire up the ol’ PS3 and download the update, its totally free!

If you want to see how the real life version of the FT-1 Vision GT came to life check out the video below:

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Gaming Hype: Forza Horizon 2 Demo Out Today On Xbox Live. Launch Pack DLC, VIP Membership Benefits, Car Pass Announced.

Posted on 09.16.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

FordMustangGT_WM_ForzaHorizon2_small

Forza horizon 2 releases in just two weeks but starting today you can try it out for yourself by downloading the demo on Xbox Live.  To further entice potential Forza addicts Turn 10 studios has also announced the details of Forza Horizon VIP membership.  If that weren’t enough they also announced 8 free DLC cars that will be available at launch!  If they actually offer a kitchen sink I think I might be sold…  Anyway, lets get into the details of the goodies shall we?

First off is the 8 free DLC cars that will be available at launch.  Seriously, Forza has been giving away so many cars its like they’re Oprah (I’ve waited a long time to use that joke so make with the lol’s!).  Anyway here is the list of cars that players can get their hands on right away: 2003 Ford Focus RS, 1997 Land Rover Defender 90, 1993 Clio Williams, 2015 Ford Mustang GT, 1987 Buick Regal GNX, 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV, 1968 Abarth 595 esseesse, 1956 Ford F-100.  A pretty eclectic mix if you ask me.  You have a hot hatch in the Focus RS, Muscle in the ’15 Mustang GT, and obscure classic in the Abarth 595 esseesse (how the heck is “esseesse” pronounced?!?!).  On paper the DLC sounds like a nice starting point to play in Forza Horizon 2’s open world.

Next up is the new VIP membership.  Since Forza Horizon is always based around a “festival” style event they are likening VIP membership as something of a “backstage pass.”  VIP membership provides access to “exclusive benefits” in Forza Horizon 2.  The first of which is a 5 car DLC pack which includes the 2012 Lamborghini Urus, 2014 Tesla Model S, 1967 Ferrari 330 P4, 1949 Mercury Coupe, and the 2013 Donkervoort D8 GTO.  VIP members also get “2x player in-game reward acceleration, access to exclusive multiplayer events, in-game gifts from the Forza community team, and special in-game recognition.”  VIP membership will set players back $19.95.  However, current Forza Motorsport 5 VIP members can buy Horizon 2 VIP membership for half off at $9.99.

If you are already firmly in the Forza Horizon 2 camp and for sure going to pick it up then you might be interested in the “Car Pass”.  This basically nets players all of the future DLC (at least 31 cars according to Turn 10) over the next six months in one pre-purchase for $24.95.  Purchase of the Car Pass will also include the 2010 Nobile M600 as a bonus exclusive car.

Whew, is that everything? Oh, wait!  Anyone who has already decided they want to buy Forza Horizon 2 and really eager to have their copy ASAP can “pre-download” it starting today.  Basically, a player would use their Xbox Live account, purchase the game as a download, download the entire game to their console, and then be given instant access to it on the release date (September 30th, 2014).

Ok, I think that covers it all.  Forza Horizon 2 is really shaping up to be a pretty big release this year.  If things work out I will give you my first hand account of Forza Horizon 2 in the form of a review.  I will keep you all posted!  In the meantime I encourage anyone curious about the game to download the demo and get a first impression!  For more info hit up the Forza Horizon 2 website.

Press Release:

Eight Free Downloadable Cars Coming to Forza Horizon 2 at Launch

Bonus DLC Car Pack bringing 2015 Mustang GT and more to game

Forza Horizon 2 is just weeks away and, soon, Forza fans the world over will be exploring the wide-open high-speed highways and breakneck back roads of southern Europe. By now, you’re probably aware that Forza Horizon 2 will ship with more than 200 amazing cars, all built from the ground up on Xbox One. Forza has always been about bringing fans the best content, whether that’s world debut cars like Roll-Royce Wraith or track add-ons like Long Beach, Road America, and the Nürburgring.

As is the case with all Forza games, we’ll constantly be updating Forza Horizon 2 with fresh new content. Beginning on Sept. 30 to coincide with the release of Forza Horizon 2, we’ll be launching a brand new pack for the game: the Forza Horizon 2 Launch Bonus Car Pack. This car pack will feature eight cars representing the awesome variety that can be found in the Forza Horizon 2 car roster – from rough-and-tumble trucks like the 1956 Ford F-100 to the raw power represented by the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. The Launch Bonus Pack will include three never-before-seen vehicles in the Forza franchise: the 2003 Ford Focus RS, the 1997 Land Rover Defender 90, and the 1993 Clio Williams. Best of all, all eight of the cars featured in the Launch Bonus Car Pack will be available to all Forza Horizon 2 players at launch for no additional cost.

Here’s the full list of cars in the Launch Bonus Car Pack:

  • 2003 Ford Focus RS
  • 1997 Land Rover Defender 90
  • 1993 Clio Williams
  • 2015 Ford Mustang GT
  • 1987 Buick Regal GNX
  • 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 1968 Abarth 595 esseesse
  • 1956 Ford F-100

In addition to the Launch Bonus Car Pack, today we’re also announcing the details for Forza Horizon 2 VIP membership (discounted for current Forza Motorpsort 5 VIPs) and the Forza Horizon 2 Car Pass. As in Forza Motorsport 5, each purchased add-on car can be added to your in-game garage one time for free – without additional in-game credits.

VIP Membership

Forza Horizon 2 VIP Membership (regular $19.99; 50 percent off or $9.99 for Forza Motorsport 5 VIP members) is like a backstage pass at the Horizon Festival, giving you access to cool content you can only get here. VIP members will receive exclusive benefits in Forza Horizon 2, including the VIP Car Pack, featuring five cars (four of which are brand new to the Forza franchise). These five cars include the 2012 Lamborghini Urus, 2014 Tesla Model S, 1967 Ferrari 330 P4, 1949 Mercury Coupe, and the 2013 Donkervoort D8 GTO. VIP membership also awards with 2x player in-game reward acceleration, access to exclusive multiplayer events, in-game gifts from the Forza community team, and special in-game recognition. Current Forza Motorsport 5 VIPs receive a $10 discount on digital purchases of Forza Horizon 2 VIP membership or any Forza Horizon 2 digital offer that includes VIP membership. (Note that this discount only applies to digital offers of Forza Horizon 2.)

Car Pass

The Forza Horizon 2 Car Pass ($24.99) gets you access to six monthly pack add-ons beginning in October, with each pack featuring five amazing cars. That’s six monthly car packs for the price of five! Plus, Car Pass owners will receive an exclusive bonus car for free: the 2010 Noble M600. That’s 31 cars to collect, race, and customize in Forza Horizon 2! Look for more details on the first monthly car pack for Forza Horizon 2 coming soon!

Demo/Pre-Download Available Now

We’ve saved the best for last: the Forza Horizon 2 demo for Xbox One is here! Starting today you can download the demo for the game on Xbox Live and get a tantalizing taste for the game we’ll all be playing starting on Sept. 30. In addition the game is now available for pre-order at your local retailer and for pre-order/pre-download in the Xbox Store.

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Movie Hype: Glorious New OFFICIAL Picture Of New Batmobile Surfaces. It Has Guns.

Posted on 09.10.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

BatmanVSuperman_Batmobile_9-10-14_small

Yesterday the internet was turned upside down when several “spy shots” of the new Batmobile from the coming “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” movie surfaced.  An individual who claimed to be working in the area where filming is currently taking place spotted the new Batmobile parked in an alley and covered in dust.  He quickly pulled out his phone, snapped a few pictures and uploaded them to Instagram; moments later Instagram exploded.  OK, it didn’t actually explode but things definitely jumped off.  The grainy night shots quickly made the rounds from movie nerd sites to other automotive sites.  Everyone was talking about it.

However, there was a problem: the pictures sucked and the car was filthy.  Most people didn’t care but no self-respecting Hollywood director would have one of his main props floating around on the internet looking shabby so Zack Snyder (the director) took to Twitter last night and posted a new picture “official” Batmobile picture.  In the new shot (as seen above) the Batmobile is really featured in all its glory with big honking guns pointed right at the camera.  That may throw off most Batman fans as the Dark Knight is known for his aversion to firearms but its quite possible that those gun turrets fire rubber bullets.  Whether you agree with the guns or not its hard to admit they don’t look pretty badass sitting there.

For a larger version of the new Batmobile image as well as the earlier leaked pictures click the thumbnails below.

BatmanVSuperman_Batmobile_1 BatmanVSuperman_Batmobile_9-10-14

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Hype Video: Tanner Foust Tests New GRC Spec VW Beetle By Writing In Cursive With Burnt Rubber Because Tanner Foust

Posted on 09.10.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

TannerFoust_GRC_VWBeetleTest_video

When Tanner Foust first announced that he would be moving from Ford to VW and would eventually campaign a GRC-spec Beetle, I excited but skeptical.  “I’ll believe it when I see it” I thought to myself.  Well, today I saw it and its impressive!  The Top Gear USA host just dropped a “teaser video” of his first “test” with the GRC VW Beetle.  While viewers won’t see too much in all the smoke and spinning tires, its enough to drive the point home that there may be something to this car after all.  Tanner also takes an extra step to make sure a certain comparison isn’t made.  Wait until the end of the video below to see what I am talking about…

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Hype: Mercedes Benz Reveals Curvaceous AMG GT Coupe (Gallery)

Posted on 09.09.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT

Did you wake up this morning extremely excited?  Did you spend the first few hours glued to your computer screen?  Of course you did but probably not for the same reason I am referring to.  While you were busy watching Tim Cook reveal the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, Mercedes Benz was revealing their new flagship performance car, the AMG GT.  Meant as a replacement for the very lauded SLS, the AMG GT has some pretty big tires to fill.  So how does the AMG GT measure up?  Lets find out…

First thing’s first.  The AMG GT does look similar to the SLS but it is definitely evolved design-wise from its predecessor.  The AMG GT Coupe is very curvy.  The SLS has its fair share of curves as well but there are a few hard edges in its design but the GT coupe has a very sculpted, fluid look.  You would be hard pressed to find an edge or hard lines.  Its also appears to be slightly shorter than the SLS and its front grill is very reminiscent of the radical GT Vision concept MB built for Gran Turismo 6.

AMG’s new coupe will be available in two trims: The GT S and the “base” GT.  What’s the difference?  In a word: performance.  The GT S features a more powerful twin-turbo V8 engine which makes 503HP to the GT’s 456HP.  Both those numbers are down over the out going SLS however the GT will offer a whole host of other performance tweaks that may make up for the lack in horses.  For example the GT S will have a system dubbed “AMG DYNAMIC PLUS” as an option.  This system features dynamic engine and transmission mounts.  Yes, the engine and tranny mounts can move depending on the conditions to help optimize weight distribution!  It will also feature the obligatory electronically controlled dampening system to dial dampers in to specific situations (sport, road, etc).  Both trims will put their power down through seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions with locking differentials.  Ceramic brakes are also available as an option on both GT S and GT.

The interior is as cushy as you might imagine.  In the photos it does seem that they were leaning more towards “luxury” this time but there are lots of racy performance-based cues such as the flat bottom alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and the decision to forgo a full digital dash and sticking with race-inspired traditional needle gauges.  However the center console is teaming with dials and buttons to control all of the electronic goodies.  It looks to be a bit overwhelming and against the trend of simplifying interior tech interfaces the way Audi has over the last few years.  I can see it being a potential sticking point when the reviews start rolling in.

Mercedes Benz has made it clear that they are aiming at the Porsche 911 and the Audi R8 (V8) with the new GT Coupe.  I personally find that somewhat troubling.  With the mighty SLS they had no qualms going after the likes of Ferrari.  Now  they aim at Porsche (who doesn’t) and the 2nd stringer R8?  It makes me wonder if there is yet another car coming down the pipe from Germany that we may yet to know about.  Or maybe, Mercedes Benz just decided that its in their better interests to go after a bigger market of those affluent individuals who want near supercar performance in a package that is easily daily drivable.  When I think deeper about it I can’t really fault them for that.

Really it just seems like Mercedes Benz is doing everything differently when it comes to this new offering.  Take the release dates for example the GT S comes out next spring while the standard GT isn’t due until 2016.  Typically, the protocol is to release the “standard” version first then hit everyone with the high performance model but Mercedes has even flipped that on its head.  In a refreshing move the ravenous performance-addicts get their fix first!

Sure, the GT Coupe may not be as powerful as the SLS on paper but I am sure it will be lighter, more capable in the corners, and more accessible (AKA less $$$) as well.  These days things are less about max HP and more about driving experience.  With a chassis that can move the engine and transmission for optimal weight distribution on the fly, the GT Coupe may just have us asking “SLS who?”

For now, you can check out a (short) spec sheet and all the official pictures in the embedded facebook gallery below:

Spec Sheet:

AMG GT AMG GT S
MSRP TBD TBD
Fuel Economy TBD TBD
Engine 4.0L twin-turbo V8 handbuilt
AMG engine
4.0L twin-turbo V8 handbuilt
AMG engine
Drive Configuration Rear-Wheel Drive Rear-Wheel Drive
Performance 456 hp
443 lb-ft torque
503 hp
479 lb-ft torque
Transmission 7-Speed AMG Dual Clutch
with Manual Shifting Mode
7-Speed AMG Dual Clutch
with Manual Shifting Mode
0-60 (sec.) 3.9 (est.) 3.7 (est.)

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F1 Hype: Italian Grand Prix Quick Result (With Video)

Posted on 09.08.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

F1_2014_Italian_GP

With all the excitement of the new football season did you forget about the Italian Grand Prix?  No worries, we were excited about the new NFL season too!  We have you covered on the race.  Just scroll down to see the podium results and a quick video re-cap of the action.  Don’t say we never did anything for ya!

WARNING SPOILERS BELOW!!!

1st: Lewis Hamilton
2nd: Nico Rosberg
3rd: Felipe Massa

Top 5 F1 2014 Points standings:

1st: Nico Rosberg (238)
2nd: Lewis Hamilton (216)
3rd: Daniel Riccardo (166)
4th: Valtteri Bottas (122)
5th: Fernando Alonso (121)

2014 Italian GP Video re-cap:

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