Since the 22nd September, drivers everywhere have had the chance to grab Project CARS 2 and live the real-life racing experience (or as close to as many of us will get). Already off to a strong start with rave reviews critically, Slightly Mad Studios now hopes to replicate the success sales wise.
Building from what the original succeeded with, we spoke with COO Rod Chong about the positive early reception the game has attained alongside new features and what could possibly be down the line for the studio.
With a strong early reception from reviewers what’s the plan going forward for the studio?
Well right now were obviously focused on the present and the imminent launch on the game. From there we’ll start looking at the downloadable content, any future patches and things like that. I think a lot of the team want a little vacation because finalising a game takes a lot of energy and focus from the entire team. So we’ll relax for a second and come back and evaluate what’s next.
So the campaign has a lot of variety to it especially coming off the first one, what was the aim with that? Are you hoping to bring in a lot of new drivers?
Obviously you want the franchise to grow and have increased sales. We’re developers who are very passionate about racing and were also a bit crazy, so we wanted a very ambitious follow-up. We didn’t want to take the easy road and add one feature, some more cars or tracks and leave it there. We wanted there to be a lot of new racing experiences for people and really take things to the next level. We came up with the concept called anytime anywhere. The word anytime focuses not only on the existing 24 hours of lighting system and the dynamic weather we already had – we improved upon that a lot. To that we also added four seasons, so every track now is available in four seasons plus a full snow mode for the applicable ones. There is also more weather types as well. It’s worth noting that anything that happens with weather in the game or conditions directly affects gameplay as in real-life. So for us the outgoing paradigm, what we consider old racing games now, there the same every lap.
Yes, I was speaking with your colleague about when it rains and aquaplaning comes into the fray. So you took that into account too?
Yes, so you can look at where the puddles are. This is a full dynamic system, so the puddles change every lap. If it starts raining and the cars are driving then the water starts clearing on the racing climate, the sun comes out the water starts evaporating, starts draining out and it evaporates and gets absorbed on different areas differently. The grass may stay muddy and wet but the track may dry, but there still may be some persistent puddles. It’s a fully dynamic living breathing world. That living breathing experience like I said before effects gameplay. If you’re driving when its sunny out and you’ve been braking in the same spot as you race then when the sun goes down, it gets dark the track is going to cool. Your braking point is going to start shifting so ultimately we want people to enter the mind-set of a racing driver.
What do you think are the biggest things the sequel has improved upon from the original?
One of the biggest things we’ve improved is the handling model. So we innovated a very new tyre model from Project CARS 1 that was quite complicated. It was a full carcass simulation which was an innovation. So were looking at the tyre as a squidgy piece of rubber with air in it that’s attached to a wheel and everything that comes assimilated with that. Whether that’s the temperature in the rubber, the temperature in the air, the air pressure inside, the tyre side wall; all these things are replicated. We added new assimilation features for the tyre that allows you to feel the car on the limit and over the limit, so if you start sliding because you’re going into a corner too fast, you can actually get the car back. You can feel what the car is doing. When it comes to the loose surface racing like Rally Cross, you’re gonna spend most of your time going sideways or sometimes even backwards. So we had to update the tarmac quite a bit there. The net result of that is the game is more realistic but is more fun. It’s more forgiven interestingly, so it’s kind of a double win for us. That’s one thing that’s a massive improvement for us.
We should also say that the online system is also majorly improved. Project CARS 1’s online racing was a bit like the Wild West. You’d go into a race and you wouldn’t know what was going to happen. Meeting people who are driving backwards or if there not leading by the first corner, they would pull the plug and quit out. Now with Project CARS 2 we track your level of racing, how safe you drive, your safety rating. You will then be matched up with who drive the same way. So if you’re a wrecker - you like driving backwards or crashing into people, you’ll be matched up with someone like that. If you’re someone who is a clean racer you’ll be matched up with those sort of people. If you’re organising multiplayer races you can also decide what sort of drivers are coming into those races.
So the audio is one of the standout features that our reviewer highlighted, how did you achieve such a clean-cut sound?
There’s a lot of new features with the sound. One of them is we added positional sound emitters, so where the exhaust pipe is there’s an exhaust pipe sound. Where the engine is there is an engine sound and where the transmission is there is a transmission sound. So as you switch point of views, if you’re driving in cock-pit mode or chase cam behind the car, you’ll notice the sound will change. That came to light really well in VR whereas when you’re inside the car you’re surrounded by a three-dimensional space. We also positioned our audio in VR which was amazing. If you hear a car on your side and you turn your head, the sound rotates which is pretty amazing. We also tried to have a little bit cleaner audio so you can hear the engine more and hear the details more. So there’s a slight philosopher-ship with the sound mixing. We also have some new sound engines system, so we redid a lot of the old one as well.
What can you tell me about Road Map post-launch?
We’re not talking about that yet but obviously there’s going to be regular downloadable content. We have a full-plan were executing on. We’re making sure that with each one there’s a clear story. Those details will be coming.
Lastly, did you manage to hear the comment from SMS CEO Ian Bell on a possible partnership with the Fast & Furious franchise?
Yeah, we're not talking about that right now.
Thanks to COO Rod Chong and Slightly Mad Studios for taking time out to conduct the interview. Project Cars 2 is now available for purchase on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC worldwide.
Are you looking at picking the racing game up or are you already playing it? Let us know in the comments.