It’s been a while since a Formula One title last ripped around a HD track. It’s fair to say we all needed the break. Under Sony’s stewardship the genre had stagnated, culminating in 2007’s F1Championship Edition, an efficient yet ultimately pedestrian effort. It was time for a change.
And that’s exactly what Codemasters have set about doing. With the license safely snaffled up in their leather driving-gloved hands, the makers of GRID and DiRT locked themselves away in the garage to bring about F1’s gaming resurgence. They’ve just about nailed it.
F1 2010 emerges from the pits a powerful beast, its bodywork glistening and its engine growling menacingly. Put simply, it’s a good game. But just as with any new constructor emerging into the sport, there’s room for improvement.
Thankfully, Codemasters have got the most important thing absolutely right. F1 2010 wonderfully conveys the sensation of being strapped in to the seat of a snarling, super-powered F1 car.
By their very nature, F1 cars are an entirely different kettle of horses to the machines featured in other racers. They’re lighter than a packet of 10 Marlboroughs, for a start, with some of the twitchiest, most sensitive handling you’re likely to encounter. Zipping through corners and chicanes you’ll feel as if you’re barely taming the brute force beneath you, with a spin-out or a visit to the gravel traps just a inelegant thumb-flick away.
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The grid is full, the engines are roaring and it’s almost time for the lights to go green on F1 2010. Representing Codemasters’ first HD attempt at a Formula One game since they pipped Sony to the license a couple of years ago, F1 2010 has a lot riding on it, with a podium finish required to ensure the racer becomes a champagne-drenched yearly franchise. They clearly have high hopes.
So, with just a few short days before release, we sat down with senior producer Paul Jeal and chief game designer Steven Hood to talk about development, DLC and why F1 2010 will sell more copies than Gran Turismo… on the Xbox 360.
So, you are all done now and preparing to ship the game later this week. Was there anything that didn’t quite make the cut? Anything you had to leave out?
Steven Hood: Always…
Paul Jeal: When we came up with the game design, we came up with what we want as F1 fans to be in the ultimate F1 game. So there’s so much more that we want to expand on, to be honest.
We obviously spent most of our development effort on the driver’s side; the weather, the handling, the A.I, the damage – there’s room for improvement with all of them, but I think the biggest room for improvement is in the Live the Life’ aspect. That was, rightly so, the secondary focus of this one, you have to get the on-track stuff right before you can even consider doing this.
The multiplayer options as well. Not just in terms of ideas that were left on paper. We had to leave things out that were taken on fairly well through the development cycle. There was stuff that we tried to introduce too late into the development cycle that just didn’t work, too many bugs.
It’s always difficult when you’re working on a game, because you’re always mindful of the things that just missed it by a week or two. We haven’t deliberately left anything out, we’ve really, really, tried to squeeze in as much as possible.
(Read more at Play.tm)
It’s been a long time since an F1 game last revved its engines in HD. Since 2007’s F1 Championship Edition much has changed about the sport. Now, the influx of young, media-friendly stars like Fernando Alonso and Louis Hamilton dominate. With their Pussycat Doll girlfriends and giant multi-million pound yachts, they’ve reclaimed F1’s allure.
But for all formula one’s rejuvenated glamour, the licensed videogames have always been dry, drab affairs. F1 2010 promises to change that.