A few days ago E3 2014 kicked off in downtown LA With Xbox’s official press conference. At the event Forza Horizon 2 got its grand debut in front of a ground of thousands at the event and millions more watching online. However, once the cool intro, pretty lights, and theatrical trailer was over there still were not many details revealed other than its release date: September 30th 2014. Luckly, I was invited to a much smaller event right after the Xbox press conference to get some hands-on time with Forza Horizon 2. I also had the chance to interview Ralph Fulton, director of Playground Games, the studio behind both Forza Horizon games. During my time with Ralph I asked him some pressing questions.
Although these questions weren’t from me but questions we selected from the official Forza Motorsport forums! How did Ralph handle the tough questions from the hardest of the hardcore fans? Like a ninja back flipping in the shadows! Check out the video below to see what I mean. There is also a video of my impression of Forza Horizon 2 after playing AND a short interview with Dan Greenawalt on the new Nurburgring Forza Motorsport 5 DLC. You can also click on any of the thumbnails in this post to get enlarged screen shots from Forza Horizon 2!
Codemasters promises that the upcoming GRID Autosport will be a more professional-minded take on the GRID series focusing more on organized motorsport disciplines and in their latest trailer they are driving that point home with a deep look at how Touring Car racing will be represented in GRID Autosport. It looks amazing and it seems like that is at least in part due to some real world input from BTCC drivers! Check out the trailer below to see for yourself!
With E3 coming up in a little more than a month all of the studios are starting to tease and announce new games and projects so for people like me who love racing games this is a pretty exciting time of year. One of the first big announcements out of the gate is the Codemasters team announcing a new GRID game. Called “GRID Autosport” this new installment of the series seems to have an even greater focus on pro racing than GRID 4 did. It seems like they really want to hit all major motorsports disciplines: rally, touring, drifting, and even open wheel! While the guys from Codemasters say that GRID Autosport wont be a full on sim like Forza or Gran Turismo they say it will have a more realistic feel than previous GRID games. I suppose it will fall somewhere in between. Either way based on some of the game play visuals in the trailer below. The other big tid bit is that it appears that this game will not be released on the next gen consoles AKA Xbox One and PlayStation 4. That bit of news was kind of a bummer at first but in the long run its probably better that Codemasters goes the current gen route rather than rushing the game out to get it on next-gen hardware. Also, rumor has it that Codemasters has been playing around with the next gen hardware and are currently working on the next version of their EGO game engine. Hopefully this means we may hear something at E3 this year about oh I don’t know…F1 2014 for next gen? All just speculation for now but that would be awesome! Speaking of E3 you can expect GRID Autosport to come out just a little while after E3 on June 24th 2014 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In the meantime check out the first official GRID Autosport trailer below as well as some screen shots and official box art.
The guys from Codemasters have been dropping hot lap videos left and right from the next F1 2013 game but this particular hot lap is special. In the video below we get to ride along with F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi as he takes a lap around the equally legendary Brands Hatch circuit in the 1986 Team Lotus 98T. Scroll down for some seriously sweet eye candy!
In two days and month from now, Codemasters’ F1 2013 will finally be available for purchase! I think I can speak for a lot of F1 fans when I say that excitement grows as the release date draws near. However, this time around things are different. Codemasters announced “classic content” and with that came a lot of questions. Including one very big query: What of Ayrton Senna?
Also, in all the hype about the classic cars, tracks, and drivers, the message of what is to be expected of the modern content may have been lost to some. Luckily, I was invited to interview Steve Hood (Creative Director of F1 2013) and Paul Jeal (Game Director) of Codemasters to find out what’s new, the Senna status, and more. So scroll down and get all the info straight from the source!
MotorworldHype: OK, first things first: What exactly is new about F1 2013?
Paul Jeal: F1 2013 is our fourth interation of the Formula One series on the current new generation of consoles. The big standout new feature this year will be “classic content” and that’s historical cars, tracks, and drivers from two different decades (the 80s and 90s). We are releasing two versions of the game this year: the “classic edition” and the “standard edition.” The classic edition has all of the content, the standard edition is the 2013 game with the 1980’s classic stuff and I think two weeks after launch there will be DLC-I mean that is certainly the time for Europe. I’m not sure when the DLC will release for other markets.
In terms of other new features we’ve added to the game; we’ve got a scenario mode now which replaces the “champions mode” from last year. We’ve got 23 sets of scenarios which kind of take drivers through a journey from their very first race on the grid through some key moments in their career on their way to the world title. We’ve got a mid-session save this year. One thing that makes Formula One quite unique are the longer race experiences where you get to appreciate all the little nuances that make F1 racing unique: weather changing, strategy components, managing fuel levels and tires, all these types of things. With the mid-session saving that enables more people to complete longer races and just kind of do it in their times that suit them because you can save a race at any point as many times as you want.
We’ve got a little more RaceNet support this year in terms of feeding in challenges into the race post-launch based on Grand Prixs or whatever the conditions are for set challenges throughout the game. We’ve got Grand Prix mode coming back which basically means playing through the entire 2013 Formula One season as a licensed driver.
There are just loads of little improvements that you would expect from a franchise which is moving forward year on year in terms of AI, in terms of weather, handling improvements, and driver updates to coincide with the season. In graphics we have taken a fairly significant step forward this year two real huge reasons for that is that we have a new art director on the project and he’s been able to focus on the key areas in places where we may have been lacking last year. Also because we’re one team lighter this year. There are only 11 teams on the grid this year instead of 12 which free’d up a little bit of memory.
So now we’re literally right there now at this generation of consoles where we’re squeezing every last ounce of power out of it!
MotorworldHype: I am going to ask the question that many people had as soon as they found out about the “Classic” content: Will Ayrton Senna be in F1 2013 at any point? If not, why?
Paul Jeal: We were reasonably hopeful on that. Around January we had to make a call on whether or not we were going to pursue this for this year or if we weren’t. We had to kind of eliminate some of the risk because there were so many open ends across the board. With Senna in particular we came to two difficulties; the first being that McLaren had kind of indicated that they had an exclusive deal with a couple of other people and having Senna without McLaren would have been less than ideal. It wouldn’t have absolutely been a deal-breaker but there is also a Brazilian PC developer whom I think was planning a Senna game that was to release this year but I guess that might not happen anymore. So, we had to go to the Senna foundation and talk to them about negotiating extra rights and other various bits and pieces.
The talks are progressing but it was far too much risk to try and get it into the content for this year. Also the way that the design was shaping up was in a way that we wanted to-Well, when you approach these guys they are super competitive as you can imagine so all of the drivers want us to re-create the years when they were dominating and winning the most amount of races. So, to get more of the guys injected and get the kind of design that we wanted, we went for a feel of celebration and re-creation of classic events. It also kind of needs to be based around the current F1 circuits as well and Senna was the only name we had on the list that did not fit with the drivers we had and with design direction we were going.
So, all together it didn’t quite fit with the vision and combined with the other two licensing issues we came to the conclusion that we had to put that idea back, lower the risk, and then try to do something in the future. We want the “classic” content to be a staple of all of our games going forward and we think we can do something very specific around a name as strong as Senna. We’re fans of the sport as well and we love him so we really want to get him involved and we hope to do that in the future.
Steve Hood: Keeping on that I think externally, a lot of people thought we just overlooked Senna and that could not be further from the truth. Obviously, he is an absolute legend in the sport! It would be worth noting as well that when I managed to somehow get my job at Codemasters, on one of my original communications with the company I detailed all the things I wanted to do with the Formula 1 series and I included an image of Senna’s helmet in that document because he is such a huge part of Formula 1! So, he has been there since day one! Although, one of the things we always wanted to do was not go for the easy option that’s all about “now”. We could have gone with Senna before and we knew that including him would have boosted sales by a lot but I think we could do even better if we do justice to the Senna name and everything that he brought to Formula 1. I think in order to do that we need to take our time and do it right further down the line.
MotorworldHype: So, the final message is we aren’t getting him yet but fans can expect to see him in the future for sure?
Paul Jeal: That is definitely our intention, but until contracts are signed and various bits and pieces are taken care of things are still technically up in the air. However, we have a map of where we want to take F1 and he is definitely a part of that.
MotorworldHype: My next question is about the box art. In F1 2012 you had actual drivers on the cover but for F1 2013 you seem to have gone back to the Stig-like nameless driver that was used in the first two games. Why the switch?
Paul Jeal: Haha! Well really 2012 was probably our most successful box art reaction ever and fans were really responsive on our Facebook page but all the behind the scenes hurdles to make that work nearly killed our guys! So, with the classics being a late edition combined with the teams allowing even less access with rule changes going into next year, we just felt that it was too much work this time around. We know many people liked our box art from last year so the decision to go back to the previous style was not taken lightly for sure!
MotorworldHype: Ok, here are my last questions. First, was there anything that you could not do in F1 2013 that you really hope to do in F1 2014? Also, can you say with any certainty that the next F1 game will be on the next gen consoles (Xbox One, Playstation 4)?
Paul Jeal: Haha! Well, anyone that works with Steve and I know that we’re kind of perfectionists so we are never totally happy with any stage of game development all the way through. Certainly with the classic content there were highs and lows. Obviously, making the decision on Senna was difficult from the start. For my part, I am decently happy with the things we have managed to do for this year’s game.
For your second question, while we can’t confirm 100%, we are looking at the next gen consoles already. From a company perspective, this is a good point to take stock and look at the EGO engine and see which bits can be re-written in order to do the next-gen technology justice.
From a content point of view we wanted to maximize everything we could on this year’s game. Certainly, for any game that will be on next gen we won’t start with just this year’s game and make it a basis for the next. We are going to take certain elements across from all of our games like our weather system for example which was developed exclusively here at Codemasters Birmingham. Although, there are other areas where we are going to wind things back to the start and re-write it, so the next-gen will be quite a radical step for us.
When we signed the license back in 2008 we made the difficult decision at the time not to go with then current generation of consoles in 2009 because we needed that two-year run up to the next gen. That made it a little easier for Steve and I to convince the powers that be that any attempt on the next-gen needs to be when we are ready and we’re confident to make a full step up to next-gen rather than some kind of PC port across.
Steve Hood: It was also just too early for us to be thinking about next-gen when there was still so much we could still do with the current generation. Adding classics was something that people have been asking for since day one and it has been fantastic to be able to finally bring that to them. I think F1 2013 is really the combination of all the work we have put in since 2009 when we first started working on the technology.
When we look back at it now, there is so much stuff in this game (F1 2013) that you just don’t see in other racing games; like our weather system, the pit stop stuff, the cinematic camera views to make it feel like that broadcast Formula 1 experience that fans get on TV. It is expected of us now to be able to replicate that experience. Adding stuff like mid-race save means that a lot of people get to experience things that only a few of us in the office have because we’re playing it day in and day out.
Most people have time constraints in the real world so they’re playing short races. To get that Formula 1 magic that we keep banging on about players need to playing the game without worrying about the time and now we have given players the ability to do that.
At the end of the day I think next-gen will be like a new chapter starting fresh while F1 2013 is giving players everything we’ve dreamed of to-date. It is our greatest achievement and I am looking forward to it selling millions of copies! Haha!
We are a little more than a month away from the release of F1 2013 by Codemasters and as the date draws near (October 4th 2013) Codemasters is slowly trickling out more and more info revealing what to expect. Today a list was released of all the classic drivers and teams that we will see in F1 2013 Classic edition and that list is pretty stacked! Alain Prost in the 1980 Williams FW07B? Done! Michael Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi in the ’86 Team Lotus 98T? Yesssir! Nigel Mansell in the ’88 Williams Fw12? Booyah! Expect that too!
The list gets better from there although with one glaring omission: Ayrton Senna. Now Codemasters has said that more drivers will be announced in the future but it is unknown at this time if Senna will be one of them. While I do not think it would ruin the game, I do think it would be a real shame to not have one of, if not the greatest F1 driver of all time in this game. Here’s hoping!
For now check out the new F1 2013 trailer below and the press release below that for the content list.
Los Angeles – August 16, 2013 – Codemasters® today revealed the full list of classic content set to feature in F1™ 2013 and the premium limited edition, F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION. F1 2013 is the latest entry in the award-winning series of officially licensed FORMULA 1™ video games and will launch October 8 for the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.
A stunning new gameplay video featuring the contemporary and classic content set to feature in F1 2013 is now showing at the newly launched website www.formula1-game.com, where fans can get all the latest news, media and pre-order the game. Featuring today’s superstars and legends of yesteryear racing at iconic venues including Monaco, Brands Hatch and Estoril, the video shows how dramatically the cars have advanced down the years whilst the spirit of intense competition in the sport remains the same.
F1 2013 will be available in two editions. F1 2013 includes the full game of the current season and classic content from the 1980s, which is playable in the new game mode F1 Classics. Alternatively, fans can choose to purchase F1 2013: Classic Edition, a premium, limited-run version of the game, featuring bespoke box art and expanding the game with 1990s Content and Classic Track Packs. The classic content available for players is as follows:
1980s Content (F1 2013 & F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION)
Circuit De Jerez – former host of the Spanish GRAND PRIX™
Brands Hatch – legendary former home of the British GRAND PRIX
1980s Cars & Drivers:
1980 Williams FW07B
Original Driver: Alan Jones
Team Legend: Alain Prost
1986 Team Lotus 98T
Team Legend: Mario Andretti
Team Legend: Emerson Fittipaldi
1988 Ferrari F1-87/88C
Original Driver: Gerhard Berger
Team Legend: Michael Schumacher
1988 Team Lotus 100T
Original Driver: Satoru Nakajima
Team Legend: Mika Hakkinen
1988 Williams FW12
Original Driver: Nigel Mansell
Team Legend: Damon Hill
1990s Content (F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION only)
1992 Ferrari F92 A
Original Driver: Jean Alesi
Team Legend: TBC
1992 Williams FW14B
Original Driver: Nigel Mansell
Team Legend: David Coulthard
1996 Ferrari F310
Original Driver: Michael Schumacher
Team Legend: Gerhard Berger
1996 Williams FW18
Original Driver: Damon Hill
Original Driver: Jacques Villeneuve
1999 Ferrari F399
Original Driver: Eddie Irvine
Team Legend: Jody Scheckter
1999 Williams FW21
Original Driver: TBC
Team Legend: Alain Prost
Estoril – former home of the Portuguese GRAND PRIX
Players will be able to enjoy the all-new classic content in a new gameplay mode called F1 Classics, introduced by legendary broadcaster Murray Walker. F1 Classics features a new fictional racing series allowing players to race cars, drivers and circuits from different eras. Teams are represented by drivers who raced in team’s specific cars such as Nigel Mansell’s championship winning Williams FW14B from 1992, and drivers who have also represented the team in different eras. Classic content is also available in a range of other game modes, including split-screen and online multiplayer modes.
F1 2013 will also feature all the cars and stars from the 2013 season, allowing gamers to race as Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes and Sergio Perez in the McLaren-Mercedes for the first time, and includes all of the rule changes, tire changes and remodelled handling to authentically reflect the challenge and exhilaration of racing 2013’s stunning roster of cars. A range of enhancements, improvements, split-screen and online multiplayer, plus new and returning game modes deliver the most complete simulation of a FORMULA ONE™ season in video game history, with more detail to be revealed.
Today, Codemasters made a lot of F1 fans very happy by announcing the official release date for the comingF1 2013 Classic Edition game. Looks like we can expect modern and vintage F1 cars to hit our consoles and PCs on October 8th 2013 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC! To celebrate the announcement the team at Codemasters has also released a new video showing an in-game hot lap around the Hungaroring (one of the new tracks featured in F1 2013). Scroll down and enjoy!
Los Angeles – July 26, 2013 – Codemasters® today announced that F1™ 2013, the latest entry in the award-winning series of officially licensed FORMULA 1™ videogames, will launch October 8 for the Xbox 360® video games and entertainment system from Microsoft®, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Windows® PC.
To mark the release date announcement, Codemasters has released a hot lap video using work-in-progress in-game footage featuring the Hungaroring circuit which is set to stage the FORMULA 1 MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2013 this weekend. The video shows Toro Rosso–Ferrari’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo taking on the famous circuit and is narrated by Anthony Davidson, former FORMULA ONE™ driver and Technical Consultant on F1 2013, who describes how drivers should attack each corner and carry as much speed as possible through the tight and twisty track in the battle for points this weekend.
F1 2013 will feature a new gameplay mode called F1 Classics giving fans the chance to race classic cars on iconic circuits against legendary drivers for the first time in Codemasters’ award-winning series. F1 Classics features a new fictional racing series allowing players to race cars, drivers and circuits from the 1980s. Classic content is also available in a range of other game modes, including split-screen and online multiplayer modes.
Further content will be available in a premium edition of the game, F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION, featuring 1990s Content and Classic Tracks. These two packs will be made available for purchase as optional DLC for players of F1 2013.
F1 2013 will also feature all the cars and stars from the 2013 season, allowing gamers to race as Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes and Sergio Perez in the McLaren-Mercedes for the first time, and includes all of the rule changes, tire changes and remodeled handling to authentically reflect the challenge and exhilaration of racing 2013’s stunning roster of cars. A range of enhancements, improvements, split-screen and online multiplayer, plus new and returning game modes deliver the most complete simulation of a FORMULA ONE season in videogame history, with more detail to be revealed.
A while back I made a promise to take all of you who have not experienced GRID2 yet on a journey through the various tracks in the game so you know what to expect. Granted I am a bit late but I am going to keep my promise damnit! Anyhow, today I grant you a preview of some of the major locations in GRID2 so that you know what to expect.
When you get to California in GRID2 it will be a “point to point” race through “Big Sur” a beautiful national park along California’s central coast. It will be a pretty decent stretch of road at 5.9 miles and challenging with 46 turns. Make sure you don’t get distracted by the scenery, because you may end up being a part of it if you don’t focus up!
When you get to Dubai you will race along the Al Sufouh strip which is a major urban area of Dubai. Obviously that means this will be a street course and will have all the pros and cons therein. The Al Sufouh course is 3.4 miles through its longest route and has about 20 turns.
What can be said about Indy that hasn’t been said already. The home of one of the biggest races in all of motorsports, Indianapolis is the place where everyone wants to win no matter what racing discipline you prefer. There are several configurations of the infield as well as the historic 2.5 mile 4 turn oval. Pick your poison!
What is more awesome and daunting than driving through Paris? Probably not much. On this street course you will race through the heart of the city, even through the Arc d’Triomphe! The course is medium size at 3.3 miles with 17 turns. Pass in the straights!
Abu Dhabi has recently become a major point of interest in the world of motorsports. When visiting this area you will race on the famous Yas Marina GP circuit. If you are a fan of F1 then you already know this course well. Its 3.5 miles of fresh asphalt curves like a snake through 20 turns. Drivers can be really creative with their lines here. This is a place to be aggressive.
Well that about does it for my little preview. I have only gone over a few of the locations that are featured in GRID2. There are plenty more each with their own unique attributes. I have yet to experience them all myself but I will soon and once I have finished come back to check out my full GRID2 review!
My latest game review is a bit of a departure from my normal stuff. Every review I have done in the past revolved some type of car racing game like Forza, F1, etc. However a rep from Namco Bandai games reached out to me about a new motocross game they developed called “MUD”.
Nostalgic thoughts of Excitebike made me jump at the chance to play a motocross racing game. Keep in mind I am being literal when I say that as Excitebike was the last motocross racing game I ever played! So did MUD capture my childhood memories? Was it an enjoyable experience that I can recommend to strangers I see on the street because I was so over come with joy?
In short: not quite. I did have fun with the game but not in the way I think the developer intended. See what I mean by watching my review below.
DISCLAMER: I played this game on Xbox 360. It is also available for Playstation 3 and PS Vita (as digital download). Please note that I DID NOT play online mutliplayer as during the time of my review there were internet issues which prevented me from connecting to Xbox Live. This review strictly deals with single player modes.
If you like to race you know that there is nothing worse than the times when you are NOT racing. We try to get our fix by playing games like Forza Motorsport 4 to take the edge off but even then we still can’t quite get the level of realism we want with the standard controller in our hands. Steering with your thumb on an analog stick is nice but it just is not quite the same as holding a wheel in your hands. For an added touch of realism you may want to put Fanatec’s Forza Motorsport CSR wheel on your gift list this year. With up to 900 degrees of rotation, top of the line forcefeed back motors and high resolution steering input sensors this is one of the best steering virtual steering wheels you can get right now and the $249 price tag reflects that. There is also a shifter set and aluminum pedal set available to go with your wheel as well. The full package with the wheels, shifter set, and pedals will run you about $459. While that seems like an astronomical price this set up is pretty high quality, plus there is the added bonus of Playstation 3 compatibility. Before this wheel, consumers had to buy a wheel for their Xbox 360 and a wheel for their PS3. So in a way you are actually getting two-wheels in one. If you want to see everything you get in the package check out our unboxing video. Then add this wheel to your gift list this year or consider it as a gift for the gearhead in your life!