Project Cars 2: Too soon
There are many cases in which a game is released too soon. For various reasons, a game might just not be ready; poor optimisation, bugs, badly thought through gameplay, whatever it might be. But there are very few reasons in which the production of a game has started too soon. And this is exactly what’s happened with Project Cars 2.
The first Project Cars was not the pinnacle of racing games (to say the least), as I pointed out here, and there is still a lot to work on. Upon release AI was broken, the game physics had huge, annoying and (in some cases) un-reproducable bugs (which meant you didn’t know how to or when to avoid them), horrendous netcode which meant playing proper races online (with an actual race start) was worse than playing with Russians in CS:GO, poor car selection and overall was a worse game than some free racing sims and other games released 6 years ago (which were made by the same studios!).
Instead of working to fix the game, add a better car selection (outside of DLC’s), fix bugs, update netcode and rehaul the AI, SMS (Slightly Mad Studios) has decided that the best course of action would be to make Project Cars 2. Sounds insane? From their perspective, it doesn’t appear so.
Most people who were extremely hyped for Project Cars (which was delayed for months) hadn’t thought about the numerous options available right now already for PC, such as Assetto Corsa and Live For Speed, and instead were wooed by the admittedly mind blowing graphics which Project Cars presented. Additionally, those games had been around for years and people wanted something new by a studio that, in the past, had proved they could make a good, well thought out racing game (Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed). Finally, the marketing for Project Cars had been excellent too. For most of those people Project Cars had been a good start, and the promise of Projects Cars 2 so quickly seemed to show that the studio was committed to making a good game. Actually, the only reason Project Cars 2 was announced so quickly was so that instead of fixing the current game, players would be forced to buy a whole new game just to experience some new features that weren’t available on Project Cars. It really does frustrate me, seeing SMS rip off so many people like this, by first releasing a broken game and then announcing a second one while they can’t even be bothered to fix the first one.
Looking at the announced feature list for Project Cars 2, it looks very promising. 50 tracks over a wide variety of surfaces (including “loose surfacing racing on dirt, gravel, mud and snow”). Dynamic weather as usual is included. Rallycross, Hillclimbs and Touge are 3 new disciplines of racing that will be included in the new game, with a claimed “200+ cars from over 40 different vehicle classes”, including “Concepts and Banned Race Cars”. The “Concepts” class seems like an excellent marketing exercise for manufacturers, as they can simply ask/pay to put in their new concept cars to generate hype for real world releases, similar to what has happened in Gran Tourismo. Banned race cars seems like an interesting class, however I feel the sheer amount of classes will inevitably include overlap, or at the very least it’ll be very easy to mix up classes. For example, if the Mazda 787B is included in the game, will it fall under banned race cars, or historic Le Mans cars (I’m only speculating that the latter will be a car class)? Probably banned race cars (as it was famously banned after the rotary engine was outlawed after it’s first and last entry and win in the racing series), but many players might not be able to tell or know the difference. You can also play as different participants of the race, not only the driver. This pertains specifically to the rally modes, with a spotter, co-pilot and driver swap, although the last one less so. A co-op gamemode is also promised, as well as the usual online and test modes.
Hopefully they live up to the hype this time, and don’t suffer the same delays. My gripe remains though, it’s been less than a year since the release of the first Project Cars, and without fixing the half broken game they’ve launched straight into a new one, with the possibility of carrying over the same bugs and with the certainty of stagnating development on the first one, which is really unacceptable. I would’ve even been fine with the release of a rally mode for Project Cars, indeed that would have been a much better strategy but the thought of the money pouring in after a whole new game release must have been too tempting.