Welcome to the WSR! There’s a gap in the world of motorsports. There’s no clear way to determine who the best of the best of the best is when it comes to racing. There isn’t a prestigious single crown that represents the world of racing. Your journey begins as the star driver of entrepreneur Patrick Callaghan who wants to form a league and have it broadcasted around the world to millions of race fans. Patrick Callaghan is to racing to what Michael Jordan is to the NBA.
Last week we got to hang with some of the team from Codemasters and take Grid 2 for a spin. One of the first races we jumped into was an elimination match through the streets of Barcelona, Spain. While the goal was to win the race we also need to be aware of our driver’s position. If you crashed or spun out the other drivers would pass you and with the clock ticking you needed to make sure you weren’t in last place when the timer hit zero. The course in Barcelona was part of the second season of the game. Part of putting together this World Series of Racing is about pulling in various different racing clubs with different styles of racing from across the world.
The first part is to gather all of the racing clubs and styles from across America and then go to Europe and invite all of their drivers to take part in the WSR as well. Before they accept you have to beat them at their own game. By beating their best drivers you not only prove your driving ability to them, you also convince them to come on board and become part of the WSR.
The next track we raced on was in Austria. Originally called the A1 Ring, which was a regular course on the open wheel circuit has now been branded the Red Bull Ring. This was the second season race that is the first to have both American and European drivers battling for the top position. This is a track where you have to prove your skills in true motorsports fashion.
In Grid 2 players will get to know what’s called a “true feel handling system”. As players are driving around the track, what’s happening behind the scenes is a sampling of the relationship between the simulated tires and the road, actually 1000 samples per second. This gives the player a better sense of what’s actually happening to the car whether it is a loss of traction or the undulation of the car to the road. There are no assists for players to adjust on their cars and Codemasters has eliminated this option in favor of a more pure driving experience.
The challenge is made through the cars as you progress through the different race tiers. There are four different tiers of vehicles. Players will drive everything from basic street racers all the way up to a selection of hypercars. The goal is to naturally teach players how to drive each tier of race car as they progress through the game and as their journey evolves.
Ultimately what Codemasters wants to do with all the vehicles in the game is present a really clear character for what they are, throwing in several different variations on the same vehicle and they’ve chosen vehicles that they are really proud to have in the game. Also by pulling real world drivers in to the studio to give the game a try they’re also able to get more accurate descriptions on the overall feel and handling of the vehicles that the team didn’t have access to.
Flashbacks are returning in Grid 2. For the uninitiated the original Grid started the Flashback craze. When a player runs off the track or crashes into another racer in a tight corner, you can hit a button and return to a point just before said accident to regain control and avoid making that same mistake. In the gap between Grid and Grid 2 many other racing games have adopted the Flashback ability into their games.
ESPN has also come on board in terms of tracking your journey in Grid 2. ESPN and other media partners will have clips that play in between races and seasons. The ESPN guys will be covering the evolution of the WSR as it becomes the largest and most prestigious racing league in the world. A players progress will be tracked from their grass roots through social media. Players in game will receive text message asking if they’ve seen the latest races, to the forming of websites and magazine covers really integrating you as a driver as opposed to an avatar. Player’s names will be integrated in all aspects of the WSR’s coverage.
The final track we raced was a culmination of everything that the WSR intended to be. It’s a in downtown Chicago, its being broadcast in prime time, there’s a ton of race fans lining the street to watch and a ton of sponsors and support. Cameras flashing everywhere, fireworks dotting the skyline you can see while racing in between buildings and all the happening of a big event. This is the point in the game where everyone knows you and they’re talking about you. Players will be able to share videos of their races to YouTube. It won’t be mandatory but, you’ll have the option to decide when or if you want to do it.
Multiplayer wasn’t talked about during the event but they have plans to share more details about it sometime in April. Grid 2 is launching on May 28th in North America. It will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Steam.