Another episode in the ongoing drama surrounding the experimental development cycle of Slightly Mad Studio’s new racer, Project CARS, highlights the internal problems occurring as the game nears its spring release date.
While rumors have flown around that paint the forums and overall development of the game as high conflict, with several users outright banned or kicked out of the large project simply for daring to ask the wrong questions, these problems have really only existed behind closed doors and couldn’t be accurately demonstrated to the masses.
The thread inside the general discussion of the WMD forums titled “To be honest – I miss proper races” includes sixteen pages of forum users upset with the direction the game has taken. The complaints about the current state of Project CARS are very simple: the game was initially marketed and presented as a hardcore racing sim, rivalling rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa, while still remaining accessible to fans of Gran Turismo wanting a little more. Recent changes made to Project CARS, such as the numbification of the game’s rather detailed damage model, are not sitting well with the community who fear that Project CARS is on the same path as the two Need for Speed Shift titles, games that were incredible in the early stages of development but had many features and effects suddenly disabled at the eleventh hour.
SMS developers occasionally respond in the thread, claiming these removed/ignored features will be included in “post-release patches.” A large portion of the WMD community seems to resent these comments. During the game’s closed-door development in 2012 and 2013, many features suggested by the community were acknowledged by the developers, and the developers responded by saying Project CARS is still heavily WIP and we’ll be sure to implement these great features soon! Now, with the release only seven weeks away, users have begun questioning why the game’s comprehensive damage model has been almost entirely removed, as well as basic features required in a racing simulator, like DNF’s, caution flags, and AI that slows down to avoid incidents. SMS developers are now claiming basic features like these, pretty damn essential for a game of this caliber, will be included in “post-release patches.”
Apparently questioning why entire features have been removed or severely gimped, and noting that even if you add in features post-release, the game’s reputation will still suffer if it’s not very good at launch (which is something every gamer knows and DriveClub is a perfect example of) – this is all too “painful” for the developers to read, and is worthy of a ban. That’s right, a ban. SMS is literally banning people from the forums for saying “hey, I don’t like what’s going on because you’re lying to us and making changes to the game nobody asked for” – which was exactly how this whole WMD process was supposed to work. Like, that was the draw. That’s why people got into Project CARS.
Other users attempted to inject their own revisionist history into the thread and claim pCARS was never supposed to be a hardcore sim as a way to get back on the good side of SMS to avoid getting into a confrontation with the staff. Some users swiftly jumped into action, claiming otherwise.The following user was also on the receiving end of the banhammer; in broken English he questioned how SMS could spend four years developing a racing sim that lacked features essential for a racing sim, and how SMS could say everything the community wants will be in post-release patches, when it was clear from the beginning what the community wanted and they had four years to get it into the game beforehand.
I noticed a constant schema in our discussionn:
1. some points to some lacks in pCars
2. In the past Remco answered: pCars is still WIP. Recently the answer has been changed to: it will be released in after release DLCs
I’m really not sure what should I think about. I know that we are tight regarding time. I know we cannot reach some features which has been promised (directly on as expected part of simulation). How can we believe that something will been fixed/added after release? Could any of SMS members provide signed list of such improvements, with dates pls.
Please don’t make us fool. It’s clear, that after a few patches which will fix most important things, and after DLCs with some content (which some will be provided for some fee), resources will be moved to next project. I hope it will be pCars2.
But for projects like pCars it’ss impossible to maintain infinite development.
I just don’t believe that all desired features and changes will be included into pCars in future patches. From this point of view I would like to not see answer “will be released in post-release DLC” everytime we asked about some features expected in core product.
This issue has come up in another racing sim currently on the market: Assetto Corsa. Kunos shipped AC lacking an entire host of features that severely limit the online league capabilities of Steam’s highest selling racing game. However, Kunos is hard at work on these “post-release patches”, while SMS seems to be using this term as a scapegoat to explain why many features the community requested throughout the development of pCARS are still nowhere to be found (going against the entire purpose of the project), or why other features are severely gimped or have been removed without reason
It is also important to note that while WMD members are quick to call the banned users known troublemakers outside of the WMD forums, inside the WMD forums the exact opposite sentiment is expressed.
After this story went viral overnight, pCars community members were quick to downplay the dismissal of two community members by claiming they were “known troublemakers” – and you can see this in the comments section of pretty much anywhere this article’s been linked, the most recent being GTPlanet.
Again, look at the screencapture above. These guys were hardly troublemakers.
All signs point to Slightly Mad Studios releasing their third game in a row that was significantly better in development than it was when it landed on store shelves.
And while the game is seven weeks away from release, already Super Moderators are saying the members of WMD need to make excuses for how incomplete the game is because there are going to be things potentially not as ‘complete’ as hoped at release.
Yes, I’m totally going to pay $60 for this.
Especially when the community surrounding the game is no longer contributing to the game’s development (as was the original goal), but rather a large group of third party marketers. Posts like the one below make me doubt any positive feedback made about Project CARS in public, considering WMD users blatantly lie about what’s actually included in-game just to generate hype.