My phone blew up today with not one but four user submissions, all on the same topic. So before I begin, a word of thanks to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (names changed to protect their anonymity as requested) for sending this information in. Through your four emails, I’m able to cover this piece of news as accurately as possible.
We’ve documented the buggy, underwhelming launch of crowdfunded racing sim Project CARS pretty extensively on this site, and a scroll through our Slightly Mad Studios category tells the epic tale of a hype train that derailed in catastrophic fashion. While the weekly patches failed to address the lengthy list of gamebreaking issues, head of studio Ian Bell personally took to various online message boards, including his own, to belittle customers who were clearly upset with the poor quality of the game.
And they had every right to be upset with Project CARS; a game which spent four years in development and tested by 80,000 paying users shipped with an enormous level of bugs that turned off all but the most diehard of fanboys and financial backers.
With the early patches failing to fix the game’s fundamental issues, and sometimes introducing new ones, Slightly Mad Studios announced both a commitment to fixing the original game, as well as revealed that the sequel was already in development. As the post-release drama continued to unfold, Ian Bell became increasingly agitated with the growing chorus of what he calls haters and trolls frequenting Project CARS message boards, voicing their displeasure with a game that even moderators admit shouldn’t have been released in its current state. Ian responded by having any users that voiced or agreed with criticism towards the crowdfunded title outright banned from any Slightly Mad Studios forum, not just the WMD member forums, the but post-release forum intended for fans of the game.
Ian’s periodic outbursts towards negative opinions of the next-gen racing sim are regarded as “cynical British humour” by Project CARS fans, with others dismissing his comments as uncalled for and outright rude. Regardless, even the most loyal Project CARS supporters will have difficulty supporting his newest tirade.
The latest patch for Project Cars, dubbed Project CARS 2.0, dropped recently, and appeared to have no noticeable improvements on the quality of the game. Triple screen support is still broken, Oculus Rift support is now broken when it was functional before, Force Feedback settings were completely changed, track boundaries are still problematic, and some users are reporting Career Mode isn’t even placing users in the proper racing series they’ve selected. Crashing, FPS issues, and AI shortcomings are still relatively unchanged despite the 1.4 GB download. In short, Project CARS is a mess you should avoid if you haven’t bought it already.
Yet, Ian’s response to customers upset at what’s clearly a disastrous product is to simply ban people who draw attention to the game’s numerous embarrassing problems.
- After a five page thread discussing Force Feedback settings, which is basically just users helping out one another in order dial-in their own Force Feedback tweaks, one user simply gives up, unable to wrap his head around the unnecessarily complicated Force Feedback menu. Instead of bothering to sit down and help the guy, who obviously really wants to play Project CARS with his fancy new wheel given the time he’s spent in the thread asking questions and learning about the complicated options, the thread is closed by Ian Bell because of one comment the guy made where he compared his negative experience in pCars with the much smoother, friendlier UI in DiRT Rally.
- The user who gave up trying to figure out the complicated Force Feedback settings reveals he’d bought a $400 wheel just for Project CARS, and asks why his thread was closed. Ian Bell bans him.
- Another thread is created on the subject of widespread reports that Logitech G27 wheels were struggling with the latest patch, and Ian Bell’s ban-happy antics prevented people from drawing the staff’s attention to this huge problem. Moderator Umer Ahmad bans the user, and claims the staff are in a zero tolerance mood. Ian Bell re-opens the thread to tell the guy to shut up.
- After the first thread is closed, a second thread is created, asking why staff members are in a “Zero Tolerance” mood. Ian Bell essentially calls every Logitech G27 owner affected by the latest patch “idiots”, and that it’s against the site’s rules to report an issue – any issue – more than once, effectively limiting any discussion of the game’s bugs so potential buyers are not scared off by the game’s official forums being cluttered with topics that would warn people to stay well away from the game. This user is banned as well.