Five crazy ways Project CARS changed from the initial pitch

Every once in a while, there’s a nugget of info landing in our email that really shows off how crazy game development can be. In today’s case, we received a link to a design document for Project CARS, one that was shown to WMD members in the early stages of development. Most games obviously go through a large amount of cuts from the brainstorming process to the time the game actually arrives on store shelves, so this isn’t really a knock on the game, but rather a showcase of how radically different the title was when it was first pitched to investors back in late 2011 and early 2012.

The full design document is 30 pages long and can be read here, but due to budget constraints we’re only going to show you the five most prevalent features removed from Project CARS during the game’s development. According to the file name, the document was uploaded in February of 2012, and I personally remember flipping through this when I dropped $35 CDN to get the second lowest level of WMD membership. From what I remember, this is the document that really got the initial investors hyped for the road ahead, and it’s really amazing to see how none of the premier features made it into the game – instead we received a buggy, shiny version of Race 07 when all was said and done.

Slide1#1 – No Wii U Release

Project CARS was only recently cancelled for the Wii U, but as far back as 2012, really when the project initially took off, Slightly Mad Studios were committed to developing a title for what is now Nintendo’s flagship console. As the system requirements for the game proved too much for the aging hardware, the game was promptly cancelled for the Xbox 360 & Playstation 3 as well, with the dev team opting to move on to bigger and better consoles – most notably the Xbox One and Playstation 4. However, they remained fully committed to Nintendo’s console even though reports from absolutely fucking everywhere that the console wasn’t powerful enough to support a game like Project CARS. Given that the Wii U release was announced so early into the game’s development, again, all the way back in February of 2012, Nintendo users have every right to be pissed off that the game was inevitably cancelled for the system in mid 2015.

Slide 2#2 – Neutered Career Mode and Missing Disciplines

I don’t think anything from the slide above made it into the final game, aside from “getting scouted for a pro team”. There’s no car purchasing, there’s no creating your own team or liveries, there aren’t any track days, and there aren’t any sponsor endorsements as you’d see in a game like Race Driver GRID, where you have total control of the exact contingency decals you run. The full game shipped with a career mode where nothing needed to be unlocked or purchased, and you could start in whatever series you wanted. While you could indeed be recruited for different teams in different series, you couldn’t even pick your own car number and have it reflected on the car you’re driving. In short, Career Mode doesn’t look anything like the above pitch. And what happened to, Drift, Rally & IndyCar racing?

Oh wait, some racing disciplines were removed and added as a new feature for Project CARS 2.

Team management#3 – No Team Management

Online competitions were to be one of the strong selling points of Project CARS, allowing you to start your own virtual race team with your friends, all within the game. Nothing from the above capture made it into the game. You couldn’t create a team, third party livery support is sub-par compared to other racing sims, and obviously not being able to create a team means there’s no recruitment, stat tracking, sharing setups, or tournaments. In fact, all of these features are now “visions” for Project CARS 2:

pcars2They are definitely graduates of the Electronic Arts School of Marketing, that’s for sure…

marketplace#4 – No Community Marketplace

It looks like Slightly Mad Studios were hoping to implement a marketplace to rival the storefront seen in the Forza series, with the added catch that everything you create would be sold for real money instead of contributing to the in-game economy. Again, this is nowhere to be found in the retail release of Project CARS, and it remains to be seen how the masses would have reacted to this.

monetization#5 – Hardcore Microtransactions

The price of DLC got cut in half by the time the game landed on store shelves in the spring of 2015, but even in early 2012 when the title was just starting to get off the ground and people were messing around with the early builds, there were plans to nickel and dime the consumer far beyond other games already on the market – including plans for a virtual currency to go along with the marketplace mentioned above. We’re looking at a title that would have been sold for $60, and designed specifically in a way for the cost to double or even triple with in-game purchases. Thankfully, this approach was removed entirely, and although there are definitely a plethora of DLC packs already available for Project CARS, they are all priced to be affordable for the majority of users.

brandingI think it’s crazy to flip through this PDF file and see all of the features that failed to make it into the game. Again, this is a document that really got people hyped for the title’s release, and caused some to spend several hundred dollars on toolkits to help the title achieve all relevant financial goals during the WMD phase. To see so little of the initial pitch make it in… Damn.

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52 thoughts on “Five crazy ways Project CARS changed from the initial pitch

  1. Amd some of these changes were voted by the community.

    Instead of looking at features that didn’t make it, why don’t you look at features that are in that were not initially planned? There is always two side.

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      1. I remember voting against floating grass. It was a choice between good FFB and floating grass. The floating grass won out and we got shit FFB as a result of this tradeoff.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Since we are talking about grass, what I really want to know is how the hell their grass sprites are so damned inefficient. Never seen anything like it in terms of performance impact and it doesn’t look particularly good, even when it isn’t bugging or obviously rotating around to face the camera at all times.

        It’s the simple, basic things… I’m thinking that Bell has not retained the employees that handled the real core of the engine for the shift series, which is why it seems like some bugs have been exacerbated and others simply ignored.

        Rendering lead, ‘IT manager’, ‘head of studio’….

        Where’s their Stefano? I’ve never seen them disclose who actually works on the base engine bugs/implementation.

        Let’s see… Cars, textures, UI, pre-compiled NVidia libraries and shaders and tyre ‘model’.

        It seems to me that SMS as we know it develops by utilizing API’s created by others and tweaking pre-
        existing work, sometimes with negative end results.

        Meanwhile, Kunos is creating APIs and exposing the functions.

        Another thing, just the replays themselves are so broken that they sort of make reasonable league racing impossible. Cars disappear (even if you save without/before any disconnects), liveries change and apparently sometimes even the cars have changed to other models in the same class.

        Their netcode appears basically identical to shift 2, with cars goin completely sideways down the track due to ‘de-sync’. Problem is, they often do it for the rest of the race. The player believes they are driving normally. Little do they know that making a pass while the interpolation decides to ignore basic physics means they will blast the other players off-track. The ‘funny’ part is that the player who is shown driving sideways down the track can continue on as if nothing happened, leaving carnage behind.

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    1. “Amd some of these changes were voted by the community.”

      Wait what? are you trying to say the silly buggers voted to remove core features? are these the same geniuses that voted against modding too?

      “There is always two side.”

      Cool story buddy, so why not take a couple more minutes to type out the other side, I for one would love to hear what amazing features we got instead.

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  2. I like how they were going to have GT1 in the game even though the class was killed off by the time this document came out. Way to know about racing, racing sim making guys. Also, going from NASCAR to LMP? lolwut.

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  3. I think I didn’t get what’s this article is about? It’s exactly how WMD works: the project started with an idea, and it evolved during the years, matching the users consent, the available budget and the given time. It’s not that every thing or feature you can imagine will find it’s place, this is the real world not Utopia.

    Actually it worked better than expected: and that’s why Project CARS is the most active sim at the moment, on pair with iRacing with about 2,200 concurrent players on peak hours.

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    1. Probably tweaking settings while checking the netcode and AI to see if it’s still broken.

      You’re not going to ‘get’ what the article is about if you continually choose to ignore the fact that this game is alarmingly bug-ridden and nothing like what Ian Bell proposed.

      I would say the large majority of initial WMD members who don’t have a large investment are disappointed in the actual product. We didn’t want this or vote in favor of it. Time and again the decision was already made, ‘do what makes profits’, exactly as if they still had EA running the show.

      Thing is… I don’t think EA would have allowed this game to be released as-is. That just how badly they fucked this up.

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      1. “I would say the large majority of initial WMD members who don’t have a large investment are disappointed in the actual product.”

        Can confirm, don’t have a large investment (2nd tier so no returns on my purchase) and am disappointed with the end product.

        I backed in Feb 2012, and after reading this document was excited for the project, but times changed, and features along with it.

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    2. You shills are truly amazing with all the mental gymnastics you need to convince yourselves that project cars is on par with any current sim.

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  4. It’s less “bugged” than other similar products, 2 months after the launch, so I don’t see the “alarming” situation you are referring to: I play it 3 or 4 days per week, and honestly I didn’t found any show stopper or issues that are preventing me to have fun. I can find ugly bugs in every other game, if I intentionally collect a list for each of them: AC, iracing, rF… whatever.

    Also, the majority of the initial WMD members are pretty happy with it, and so the other users, I don’t know where did you come with this idea that people doesn’t like it, this blog is not about all the people out there: there’s a official WMD forum, a official project cars forum, there’s the steam forum and other communities as well. Do you really think that thousand people are playing it every day because they did a sort of deal with the devil? πŸ™‚

    For me it’s important that the developer is investing time and resources to fix the remaining bugs, to improve the product by adding new features, and to provide new contents. I don’t care much about the “politics”, I’m only interesting to have fun with a video game, and that’s what i’m having, so i’m perfectly happy with it, together with many other players out there.

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    1. Fix the remaining bugs? Theres bugs still in the game from three years ago. And 80,000 people tested this shit? πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

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      1. What is exactly the bug that isn’t fixed by 3 years? Linking an article on this same website doesn’t make it magically true. And what’s that 80,000 members thing?

        According to the videos then iRacing (just another random game out there) isn’t supported because it has 5 years old bugs:

        or assetto corsa net code is completely bugged because of this:

        …and so on. I’m not interested about random videos posted on youtube, but the effort put by the developer to improve and support the product.
        In project cars it’s all done under the sun light and transparency, we can’t say the same about the other sims unfortunately.

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      2. It depends if they find those bugs during the beta testing or not. Also the testing has been so extensive only on the PC version of the game.
        There’s no much reason for a developer to not fix a reported bug: it would be against their own interests, don’t you think?
        Unfortunately sometime people doesn’t understand how a game is developed, in example a bug that looks identical to the profane eye to an old/fixed bug could let you think that the bug was never fixed, but it could be a complete different issue that have kicked in because of code modification or such.
        That’s why publishing a video without specifying the type of the bug, how it can replicated, and the detailed information isn’t going to help.
        Instead posting all the details will help the developer (and so the players) to have a more polished product, and this is where Project Cars excels: with wmd and with the open forum, with a direct communication with the devs, is something that we never seen before, not for a AAA game like this.
        There’s no bug free sim out there.

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      3. I have seen only trolls being banned, and this is the nicest part of wmd and project cars forums: no kids, no trolls, but only people with constructive criticism. IMO it’s the most interesting and mature sim community on the net, because the idiots are booted out.

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      4. For what reason you should read a post (written by a random on internet) when you can check the truth with your eyes? So far I have seen only trolls banned, and it is good, because instead of reading psychotic wasting the forum space, you can actually talk about the game.

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    2. I can clearly see multiple bugs that have not been addressed since shift 2 and I can hear multiple poorly-mastered sound samples from shift 2. For the record, half-assed remixing does not equal unique samples.

      Your selective blindness (along with a select number of WMD associates) is an interesting phenomenon.

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      1. If you see a bug, report that bug, it will be addresses if it’s really an issue.
        If you go there to cry like a little kid without providing any information, you’ll be invited to do so, if you continue to cry and troll… you’ll be eventually banned.
        People should understand that this isn’t daycare for little kids.

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      2. As I already said… The bugs were reported right after shift 2/subsequent patches and immediately after SMS released their first builds.

        Again, you fail to read comments and reply with rambling nonsense that seems like it was written by a drunken 9 year old.

        I was never banned, mainly because there was no reason to engage in conversation on a forum of apologists. File reports and watch them not get fixed was the only relevant activity.

        Now, either learn how to read and express yourself, or maybe get WMD to fund your education.

        Either way, you have lots of work to do, little buddy. So many ‘anti-WMD trolls’ to respond to!

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      3. Shift2? This is project cars not shift2 and the bugs are resolved when they are reported correctly. There’s no interest to not resolve an issue, it won’t be convenient for anyone, stop talking nosense.

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    1. You know, when you’re idiot and you get banned, you gonna blame someone else for it… it’s how kids are used to act (until they grow up).
      Someone who sells something (in this case a publisher, or a developer) have no interest to “ban” someone who want to help to make the product better, instead if you do not post anything constructive you serve for no purpose (but the opposite, you are wasting ppl time), so there’s no need to leave ya participating to the conversation.
      I find this perfectly fine… many other forums should do the same, but unfortunately they are only interested to the “clicks”, and the trolls and the flames are ideal to generate more traffic.

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      1. Wow, i never thought it could be possible to fit so much ignorance into one post. But congrats, you did it πŸŽ‰πŸ’₯πŸŽ†

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      2. Given the tone of that post… there’s a quite decent chance of you being one of the dipshit developers (Hi, Andy Garton!), maybe even the Ian himself. Most likely you’re just one of the WMDrones. For all of you, I have one message: FUCK YOU, fuck your attitude of patronizing superiority and fuck everything you stand for.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ever noticed how kunos asks their users to create unique threads for their specific problems, rather than closing threads and banning users with completely legitimate bug reports?

        God forbid a scammed SMS consumer who hasn’t searched through thousands of active bug reports to add on in a ‘me too’ fashion. Interesting how WMD mods aren’t really concerned with merging relevant information, either.

        I suppose that’s ‘irrelevant’ to your reality.

        I saw bug reports filed from 4 years ago that haven’t been addressed. Again, bugs from the first build and directly from shift 2.

        You are the goddamn child here, not anyone else. Continue attempting to perpetuate the scam while pretending we aren’t fully aware of the situation, kid.

        You clearly aren’t interested in a fact-based analysis or discussion of the situation.

        If you can’t see it, must not exist, huh?

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      4. Classic for this blog: when you can’t reply with facts, you start with offenses.
        Thanks for having provided an example of what type of users are banned on those forums: you’re the perfect prototype: people who are not interested to anything else than flames and trolling. Luckily you have no space over there, and you are confined in this puddle. Happy swimming.

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      1. ^^^ If the game would be better, as you said, why the developer should decide to “remove” them? If you participated to the development, you would have the answer already. Guessing and building conspiracy theories, it’s just a troll game.

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  5. Im still waiting for my list of fantastic features I got that wasnt planned, this WMD joker just jumps around not answering any thing and just spitting out lines that wouldnt be out of place on the back of the box, sound like the fucking media manager at SMS,PRC must be one of the only places to get official SMS responses, and I didn’t have to pay them for it lol.

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  6. Project cars is a poorly made has poor physics a poor game engine, a delusional Fool named Ian Bell who is nothing more than a loud mouth d**khead who needs to be smacked in the mouth a few times a week, a man who goes around insulting anyone who challenges the problems with this waste of $$ game with his bad attitude insults and pure dribble on forums banning anyone and everyone who believes this game is absolute garbage. No one cares about the opinions of fan boys, the trolls, the fools who attack gamers and defend this garbage because popular opinion hs spoken and idiots will be idiots long after this game dies. Project Cars is GARBAGE!! its a waste of money your time and energy and without a doubt due to gamers boycotting a piss poor company called Slightly Mad Studios and the garbage they develop.

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  7. downloaded a free copy for pc, played it for 2 hours, uninstalled it and haven’t missed it. not a good racing game, it tries to be but it leaves you bored and unimpressed. what i can say is i wont play a sequel to this game i wont purchase SMS games in the future simply because every game these developers have made have not been great. shift, shift 2 sucked and were failures and project cars is exactly the same. a failure,, very few are online playing this game and that says it all.

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  8. Gamers Have Spoken… project cars is rubbish!!! a bucket of pus racing game. Slightly Retarded Studios, over hyped this game beyond reasonable and now its come back to haunt and embarrass. Poorly made Poorly tested poor physics and poor game developers, i guess thats why they needed the input of thousands of people to help make this junk they obviously dont have a clue and to the appare4ntly Pro race car drivers “stig” etc who tested this game should be embarrassed. Dont ask questions on their forum about game bugs or fixes because you will be labeled a troll and banned. 1 thing is for sure SMS are finished as game developers simply because no one will purchase anymore of their games in the future. SMS can thank the bald headed weird looking loud mouth, Ian Bell for that.

    Like

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