Codemasters unsurprisingly hit with layoffs

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EuroGamer – One source with an understanding of the situation who asked not to be named to protect their identity, said programmers and production staff are safe, but designers and artists on the Grid and Dirt team are in the firing line. We’ve been told Codemasters’ F1 team, based in the Birmingham office and currently working on a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One entry in the series, is unaffected, and so development on that game and other active projects continues. A new Dirt game, in production at the Southam office, is safe, but it may not release when planned. Sources told Eurogamer Codemasters planned to announce the new Dirt soon with a view to an Early Access-style release in the middle of February, but the company has yet to secure car licenses, so this is currently unlikely. The team behind the new Dirt has been downsized, though, with a smaller group working on the game compared to last year’s Grid Autosport. One source pointed out that the new Dirt team has always been relatively small, however, with under 20 staff building the game compared to the 50 or so who made Grid Autosport.

I would like to take a moment to say that while I feel sorry for the men and women affected by this series of unfortunate events, Codemasters had it coming.

ToCA Touring Cars 1 & 2 were fantastic racing games, but the nostalgia goggles hide poor FPS on the PSX versions. Even with a modern PSX emulator, they just aren’t very good.

A marketing genius named ToCA World Touring Cars as “Jarrett & Labonte Stock Car Racing” in North America despite neither drivers actually appearing in the game. This game never saw a PC release when it was arguably the best entry in the series.

Colin McRae Rally 2’s forums were closed down at the height of the game’s popularity. The game had a huge following on PC and the forums were basically the center of the community – and this was all just scrapped one day.

Pro Race Driver introduced the concept of Bonus Codes – the back of the game’s manual contained the number to an expensive hotline the player could call for Unlock Everything cheats to their specific version of the game. PC users got around this garbage with save games and trainers. Console users weren’t so lucky.

Codemasters released three identical Colin McRae Rally games on the PS2, with the exact same stages appearing in all three editions. This, at a time when Europeans joked that games like Madden or FIFA were nearly the same each year with minimal changes.

ToCA Race Driver 3 shipped with Starforce protection – on modern PC’s, Starforce software causes the installation of Windows to become corrupt on the next reboot. Having experienced this myself, it is absolutely infuriating.

The original Colin McRae DiRT’s online component involved ONLY rally stage time trials despite the game including a plethora of racing disciplines, from CORR Pro-4 Trucks to Dakar Raid-Spec vehicles.

Race Driver: Grid’s online modes were all but ruined due to excessive corner cutting that was almost never policed. Tracks like Istanbul or the Nurburgring were almost unplayable online.

DiRT 2 distanced itself from the ultra-serious rally format of the previous Colin McRae games and instead added fun events like smashing into foam blocks and letting someone jacked up on Monster Energy guide you through the game. The celebrity drivers featured in the game also shouted stupid shit at you during races.

F1 2010 shipped with numerous AI and flag rule bugs.

DiRT 3 added Gymkhana events, despite the entire community begging for longer rally stages and less dudebro elements. To continue their blatant disregard for what the audience wanted, a steady stream of on-disc DLC artificially prolonged the game’s lifespan.

F1 2011 shipped with numerous AI and flag rule bugs.

DiRT Showdown was a blatant rip-off of FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage. The game did not include cockpit view and you couldn’t actually crash out of some of the stadium events – which is like, the whole strategy behind demolition derbies, the redneck bullshit the game was based on.

F1 2012 shipped with numerous AI and flag rule bugs.

Grid 2’s first major announcement, before the game was even released, was that it would not include cockpit view, citing a bullshit statistic that “only 15% of players drive in that view.” In reality, it was damage control for a nightmare unfolding at Codemasters HQ, and the Dev team was forced to use the Showdown engine for Grid 2. Upon release (and unanimous fan disapproval), Codemasters opted to simply ignore the negativity and push almost weekly DLC on an already upset fanbase.

F1 2013 shipped with numerous AI and flag rule bugs.

Grid Autosport was released less than a year after Grid 2, included a shoddy cockpit view, troublesome AI, and again pushed a steady stream of DLC on the userbase despite cries for Codemasters to fix the basic issues with the game – mainly the suicidal AI. Their press release announcing the game outright admitted they fucked up bad with Grid 2.

Colin McRae Rally was randomly released on Steam. While most people assumed it was a genuine HD remaster of Colin McRae Rally 2, in reality the game was actually a shoddy port of the iPhone game of the same name. Man what the fuck.

ToyBox Turbos, a non-licensed remake of the Micro Machines games from a few console generations ago, used the exact same cover art as DiRT Showdown.

F1 2014 shipped with a hidden traction control feature that made policing online leagues almost impossible.

But yes, F1 2015 and DiRT 4 will be good guys, we swear! These layoffs don’t mean anything!

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3 thoughts on “Codemasters unsurprisingly hit with layoffs

  1. They are one of the few developers that actually put some effort to personalizing the experience in career mode, something the racing genre has lacked for ages.

    But fuck their stupid ways (Gymkhana!!!) or having stupid as fuck single player modes down the road like Grid 2’s objective getting FACEBOOK FANS.

    REALLY? Say what you want about the development of PCars or the physics in that game, but at least they have a sensible single player career mode that isn’t plagued with grinding or stupid side events to distract the player.

    Like

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