There’s a reason so few racing simulator games exist on the market. Similar to why multiple franchises for a single sport are in short supply, each experience is relatively the same, making the competition rough, and it falls upon the developers to try and find unique ways of attracting gamers to their product in order to remain in the competition.
Project CARS, by developer Slightly Mad Studios -- known for their work on Need for Speed Shift -- looks to enter the race, hoping to attract both hardcore and casual racers alike by allowing all cars and tracks in the game to be accessible right off the bat.
“To have [Project CARS] be accessible to someone who’s not a super hardcore racing game person, that was one of the intents with this game,” said Brian Hong, director of marketing at Bandai Namco Games America. “Yes, you can set up the settings and do the multiplayer if you’re a super hardcore person, but if you just want to go in and match up with somebody who has only put in four hours in the game, you will find that person and they will match with you. And so that’s really good because it doesn’t demoralize folks from getting in and having a good time and playing with other people.”
Currently, the game offers 70 cars on 80 tracks in 30 locations. Each car has been given a careful polish to look and sound authentic. Some of the vehicles were even modeled after reference images sent in by the community, which is heavily involved in the development of this game. After all, Project CARS is the first ever crowd-sourced racing game.
As for gameplay, Project CARS is what you can expect from a racing simulator. Don’t expect to drift every corner going 100 miles per hour. That’s a sure way to run yourself into a wall. The game relies heavily on brakes, slowing down for a big turn or being careful not to let other players spin you out. It takes some getting used to, but after a while, even the casual gamer should manage a few victories.
The game will also include all the standard game modes: a career mode, quick and online races, as well as other treats like being able to get inducted in the Hall of Fame. 16-20 players can race at a time, and gamers can also choose to create a private lobby to compete with their friends.
“It’s kind of running the gamut for customization,” said Hong. “You could race the way you want to race, and I think that’s kind of the biggest tenant of the feedback [Slightly Mad Studios has] gotten from the community on all this development. And really, if you want to think about a game that is for everyone of all ilks, but really to be able to deliver something that’s kind of here on the casual end of the spectrum, all the way to the super advanced, that’s kind of what this game does. That’s something that hasn’t been done before.”
Project CARS will be available November 14 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, as well as Wii U in 2015.