An Open Letter to Slightly Mad Studios

ProjectCars_RainWith Christmas only a week away, one owner of the Xbox One version of Project CARS has taken it upon himself to type a lengthy open letter to Slightly Mad Studios over on the game’s official forums. Drawing attention to the fact that seven major patches have still failed to fix numerous game-breaking bugs, and the sad reality that many will receive this game as a Christmas gift next Friday, forum member gmspromo pulls no punches in his lengthy critique of the game.

The post can be viewed at it’s original forum topic here, though given the tendency for Slightly Mad Studios to drop the ban hammer on anyone who doesn’t mindlessly praise the title, we’ve copied the whole thing out below.

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Dear Slightly Mad Studios,

It’s that time of year where we look back, reflect and try to share good will all around. On reflection and specifically in regards to Project Cars, I’ve enjoyed a roller-coaster of emotions and very much a love/hate relationship with the game on the Xbox One.

For the most part, I’ve loved it, I really have. That other car racing game (for whom we shall not mention), even with fewer bugs and issues than pCars, sucks in comparison and this comes from someone who has bought and played all the games in that series. Ian, you and your team have given me many hours of enjoyment and have actually made me care and garner some affinity with all the different types of car on offer to drive… which is ironic, because it’s what that other game has been trying to do for years but somewhat failed to achieve, because although that other game has lot larger garage on offer, each car I take out on track I get this “meh” sense of “well this car feels the same as the other 400-odd cars” (for the most part), so you have obviously done something right and you’ve done it well.

That being said, there is a huge failing in this game and I personally think it’s an internal process matter – correct me if I’m wrong.

It was ambitious for a relatively small team to release pCars across three different platforms (PC, Xbox One, PS4) but perhaps it was too ambitious. Three different platforms (thank god you stopped pushing to make the forth platform work!) has the potential to create three different sets of problems and you all know better than most that pCars has had it’s problems in spades.

I can only talk regarding the Xbox One version of the game, but it’s still lost on me how the game was released to retail with major controller issues that weren’t fixed until the first major patch came out some time later on. Every single patch that has been released since has either broken something that was working, or has broken something full stop. Just take a glance at the latest Patch 7 and the major tire heating issues that make this game pretty much non-playable and not at all enjoyable now, even though I know you’ll fix it eventually, but that’s not the point.

Patch 7.0 was the smallest in terms of any real features or bug fixes, so can I ask how on earth the testing team (because I’m presuming you have one) managed to approve the patch to be let loose on the unsuspecting public? It only requires anyone to drive pretty much any car around any track for a couple of laps to discover the tires don’t heat up at all. How did that get missed? How?

The timing of this latest issue is particularly poor as well – a couple of days before you all go on Christmas break – meaning there will be no fix in sight until a couple of weeks into the new year at least.

Add to this the fact the Renault Sports DLC pack is scheduled for release on the 22nd (something I for one was looking very much forward to) and this whole tire heating debacle has ruined any enjoyment I might have got out of the new cars and I suspect I won’t be the only one. If I were Renault Sports and I got wind of these issues that might spoil what is in effect a virtual advertisement for their vehicles .. I’d be pretty miffed and would think twice about licensing cars to you in future. Is it harsh to say that? Maybe, but it’s true.

Add further to this and what about those people coming late to the party and getting the game for Christmas? What are their impressions of the game going to be when they install it, find it does some updates and then they wonder what all the hype is about because the game (unknowing to them) has recently turned into “Strictly on Ice.” I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them put the game straight back down or return/trade-in their presents for a competitors little racing game.

You’ve made some bad decisions patch wise, timing wise and content wise.

Please don’t think I’m saying all of this just to berate you and “have a moan” because I’m not. I genuinely do (or did prior to patch 7) love Project Cars even with all it’s flaws. I wouldn’t be a member here in this forum like the numerous other members if I didn’t have passion for the game. I wouldn’t be writing this little letter if I didn’t care. No, my comments here are intended as the proverbial kick up the behind because something needs to change. If you carry this willy nilly attitude into Project Cars 2 of changing controller settings, handling physics or tire heating models in every patch WITHOUT proper testing, you are going to fail spectacularly in your efforts to create a truly monumental game. You will lose peoples trust, you will lose support and if you lose both of those, you disappear into the ether.

Don’t let that happen. Sort out whatever the issues are you have with internal processes and get on with making this game … and it’s sequel… the games they were intended to be!

Have a good break, clear your heads, but come back refreshed and “on it” in the new year.

Merry Christmas!

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How does Ian Bell respond?

too long

And of course, after a page or two of customers rightfully lose their shit, a moderator threatens to lock the thread.

Rog

And when gmspromo attempts to condense his entire post into a format fit for a Wookie, he is told to “stop ordering us around” before the thread is promptly locked.

stop ordering us around

This should answer any questions as to why Project CARS released in the absolutely pitiful state that it did.

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69 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Slightly Mad Studios

  1. Sorry this yap head lost me the second he started the forza hate. Anyone who plays that game without some preconceived notion that it isn’t a sim will come away from it with a good experience. No not every car feels the same not even close. Yes when your garage is 400+ vehicles you have some that do but guess what…that’s what happens in the real world too.

    Hate on project cars all you want but here’s some critical information for you. For everyone in fact. Out of all these sim racing games and companies turn 10 takes and uses feedback from the community the most. They don’t ban people for bringing up issues and here’s a big one… Their games… Pretty bug free. So get a wheel, pretend you are running a qualifying lap and enjoy the game because at the end of the day it is by far… By an absurd margin the most stable complete racing sim on the market with a massive community who can actually play the game on a daily basis without worry

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    1. On Xbox maybe.

      Although Forza (and GT) introduced me to sim racing, iRacing made me a sim racer.

      It’s a fantastic game, but the actual racing experience just wasn’t very satisfying.

      I did love that livery editor, but again, if you’re willing to learn Illustrator, PS or GIMP, PC sims offer a similar creative outlet.

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  2. and people compare kunos to SMS, not even fucking close.

    Sucks that everything needs fixing, yes everything. before you start mr shill everything needs fixing, no game is currently perfect. Its annoying because im starting to think that ive become desensitised to this shit.

    As a game developer myself(still learning ofc) ive not tackled anything on the scale of these sims but man, its the industry ive wanted to be a part of and to see this worries me, i mean being able to code effectively is hard so seeing so many devs from various companies fails makes me want to doubt entering such a community.

    ugh, james you never cease to make me feel bad about life.

    Im off to go code with ferocity ill be back when ive created the best sim ever.

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    1. I believe part of the problem of the industry nowadays is the hurry to release things. When you have to do it so fast you are going to hurry on fix too and it end up creating a snow ball because the main thing already has huge flaws

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  3. You’re making a storm in a teacup. Ian just said “Too long.” He didn’t say tl:dr. Maybe he was just saying that the OP didn’t need to make a post as long as that, not sure…

    The fact that the OP said as a summary “do this and do that or I won’t buy pCars 2”, Ian’s reaction was ok, no?

    Also, don’t know if you noticed, but the op isn’t not banned, just the people who insulted Ian.

    And not sure what is the relation between the reaction of Ian and the fact that the game launched as a buggy mess…

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    1. I disagree.

      Now that I’ve learned the author wasn’t banned, I’m less dumbstruck, but Bell’s reaction is absolutely pitiful, and frankly, pretty shocking.

      The author put a lot of effort into a well intentioned criticism, and deserved a better response.

      Although I find the innumerable “bug” articles annoyingly redundant, I’m glad James chose to feature this story, and I hope Bell suffers for it.

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  4. He could fuck off the forum. He´s been off for months and no one has missed him, because he doesn´t add anything valuable. And as soon as he shows up after months, he manage to make himself look like an imbecile in minutes and wreck the good atmosphere.

    HE is the Project CARS forum troll.

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  5. You can figure how poor are the conclusion of that user by just reading this sentence:

    “Patch 7.0 was the smallest in terms of any real features or bug fixes…”

    …for instance, the Patch 7.0 introduced the UDP streaming on consoles (you can deliver game data to 3rd party apps) .. it’s one of the biggest features added so far, and it’s the only game providing a such amazing feature (whenever I suspect that other developers will copy it in the future…).

    To that kid I would have replied: “go F* elsewhere…”, so kudos to Ian Bell and his English humor. 🙂

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  6. Ian Bell is a hopeless short-sighted dude. He does not think that there will be another day, when he will try to sell PCars 2. And unless it’s nothing short of a brilliant game, he lost his customer base already with his “dry humor”.

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    1. So you really believe PCARS2 will not be a huge success… more than PCARS? You didn’t learned anything of the videogame industry. 😉

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  7. The UDP addition is a great feature for the console racers, before it’s been a PC only feature.

    Bad part is, now make an educated guess:

    A lot of the data sent seems to be buggy.
    Have a look at their forum and see the developer of the most used dash app complain and beeing ingored the same arrogant way as we see in the article above. He gives up in the end and stops further dev.
    It’s not only the post from the guy above, the forum is full of complaints & bugreports.
    There are really dumb bugs since release not getting fixed. Additionally they bring in more bugs with the patches.
    They patch patch patches which should have patched a patch.

    To me SMS is the most ugly overpromise & underdeliver developer of the year.
    I can understand every customer, who expected not to be letdown with the game in such state months after release, now calling this guy an asshole idiot or whatever.

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  8. Ian knows that Lord Kunos has been flexing his e-peen the last couple of days, so he made that XBox poster his bitch and took the title back. Lord Kunos and Ian Bell, what a pair of fucking assholes.

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      1. I’m not salty. I look forward to the battle to see which asshole reigns supreme. I’ve wasted well over $100 on both of their shitty games. Might as well get some enjoyment out of my investment.

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      2. You’re not only dumb because you’re wasting your time.. you’re double dumb because you have even paid to waste your time! ahhahaha

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  9. I’m not really sure what Bell thinks he’s accomplishing by interacting on the forums in this manner. It’s incredibly unprofessional behavior for a guy who is a senior executive. And besides that, you’d think that he’d be too busy with real work to even have time to go on there. Although his moronic followers might love it because they see it as their lord putting those awful, terrible people who don’t like the game in their place, no levelheaded, rational person would look at that and think highly of the man.

    Ian has to be one of the most childish, insecure, and petty individuals I’ve ever seen. I can’t image how insufferable he must be in real life. We already know he can’t produce a half decent game but if any of this behavior is a reflection on how he runs a business, it’s shocking he’s managed to get this far.

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    1. People measures the success of game, not by reading the opinion of the anonymous account on the anonymous blog on the internet, but .. hey.. guess what, by its success! (sales).
      So Ian Bell isn’t doing only good.. he’s doing what you and me aren’t capable of do.
      Do you call this a failure? Pretty crap it’s not… no matter how I could hate Justin Bieber, he’s a damn worldwide star, If I have the presumption of saying: “he’s doing bad” .. I will be another envious chap out there.
      If you believe you’re better.. form your software house and sell millions copies of a multi-platform game… I must admit: I can’t do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Just because something sells a lot of copies doesn’t mean it’s of good quality. You do realize that, right? If you think this game or that Bieber twerp’s music is good just because a lot of people buy it, well I’m sorry but you’re just wrong. It’s a fallacy to assume that sales=good product. And you also should realize that one can criticize something without being jealous of it. I don’t envy Ian Bell in any way. At least I know I would never behave the way he does in a professional capacity. Your argument is pretty weak, dude.

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    1. How do you explain Justin Bieber’s music as not good? Is also a fallacy to state that just because something is mainstream or is liked mostly by a different group than yours, we can classify it as bad. If the majority of people who like JB’s don’t also appreciate classical/80s and 90s rock/etc. music it means those who like his songs have bad taste or that his songs are bad?

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      1. The songs are bad and people have bad taste. It’s both. I mean I guess the plethora of songwriters and producers who manufacture this ultra-polished pop music that is popular today are good at what they do but that doesn’t mean it isn’t formulaic, generic, and contrived. People can listen to what they want, I don’t really care as it doesn’t affect me in the slightest. Pop music is not art, it’s product. It’s carefully crafted to do one thing: sell as many units as possible. There’s very little depth or thought put into it. That’s fine, if you’re into that, and to some extent it’s always been that way (although it’s getting worse and worse I think). A lot of people don’t want to listen to music that challenges them or makes them think or makes them feel something. That’s their right, and in my opinion their loss, but doesn’t bother me. Personally, I prefer to listen to stuff that’s a little more authentic.

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      2. Then we could say no other form of music is better than classical music. But that would just be considered elitism.
        But most of your explanations to why you consider music other than pop is subjective. Especially when you say is more authentic. Authentic based on what? There’s a lot of pop in many other songs from different genres. What I mean with pop in non-pop music, is that they are made in a way to be successful and liked by many. Plenty of it in modern reggae and rock songs.

        Pop music being more of a product for sales rather than for art doesn’t mean much. What is art if not something where people express themselves and which creates feelings in others. Music lyrics are in a way poems, but which can be composed in many different ways and styles.

        What about music that doesn’t have lyrics or just minimal lyrics? For example all the electronic music and its sub-genres. This can’t be considered art? Isn’t urban art (graffiti, rap music) art as well? For example in rap music, there are some songs with deep and philosophical lyrics, as well as rap music that is mainly made to sound good, be catchy, to sell well. In a way is composed in a way to be pop.

        But don’t say things like it doesn’t bother you or doesn’t affect you, because it certainly does. You and possibly many others are bothered by the pop genre, because if it were for you, all that would be replaced with music you like. And if it would be according to classic musical creators, everything else could be wiped, as all other genres of music basically just have 4 chords. Which is mostly seen in pop music. So in a way I agree with you. Is music made to be liked by everyone and sell to everyone.

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      3. I don’t see how evidence of a I-IV-vi-IV progression in a song means anything, so I don’t know why you’ve included that video. It’s a common chord progression but it doesn’t mean anything. Technicality in the music isn’t what makes it authentic. Sometimes, in fact, extremely technical writing and playing makes the music worse. The same can be said for an extreme lack of technicality. My point is that a lot of pop performers, those songs are written by ten people, recorded piecemeal, chopped up and edited to perfection in pro tools, and released to sell. That’s not an authentic piece of art that someone has put their heart into, that’s product. Of course everyone in the music industry wants to make money. But you can’t tell me something isn’t insincere about the way a lot of the music that is popular today is made.

        And for the record, I don’t hate “pop music.” That just means music that is popular at any given time you have to remember that there was a time when grunge was pop music. Metal was pop music at one point, as was what now termed “classic rock” from the 60s and 70s. Blues and jazz were once pop music. Hell I even like a lot of 80s new wave stuff, which is “poppy” but feels a hell of a lot more sincere and interesting than what people are doing now. I don’t like rap, and I don’t like the sequenced and super polished pop stuff, and those are the two genres that are in right now. I can’t relate to it. And that’s fine because I don’t think I’m the audience the record companies are aiming at anyway.

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  11. Ask former SimBin or current Sector 3 staff about Ian Bell.

    He claimed ‘his side’ did all of the work when in fact it was a collaborative effort. GTR 3 was on the cards – a video presentation was made by SimBin a few years ago outlining the key features – with SimBin and SMS working together until SMS pulled out and took what they had to make pCARS.

    Sad reality is SMS and its backers (aka shills) made their money, so who fucking cares about the quality of your product when you are swimming in money.

    The morons who buy busted, glitch riddled games will stump up money for pCARS 2 despite it being the same shite with a few held back cars, tracks and features from pCARS added. Go and read the offical forums or shite websites like NeoGAF and you’ll read people salivating over the next SMS half baked product.

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    1. I Invested in this piece of shit in the early days of WMD before I knew anything about the incompetent company involved. I am just glad that I got my money back and the tiny profit doesn’t even come close to the time wasted testing and submitting bugs.

      I certainly don’t waste a single penny on their DLC but I do start it to check the updates for about 10minutes and then get disgusted and close it and go back to a good sim like RF2 or GSCE.

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    2. Pretty inaccurate… when most of theam left Simbin, they formed Blimey Games, headed by Ian Bell, and under this name they finished GT Legends and GTR2: you can read the list of persons who worked at both this title from Blimey Games and compare them with GTR, to figure out that 80% of the Simbin and most important the core team, moved to Blimey Games.
      Simbin CEO, even tried to push his version trying to sue Blimey Games, but failed, since the truth was under everyone’s eyes.
      Also that was about years and years before PCARS was even at the horizon (years after they formed Slightly Mad Studios and worked at some other titles, including SHIFT and SHIFT2.. PCARS arrived only at around 2011.
      Unfortunately, for you, people likes facts.. not a ranting on a anonymous blog, that’s why PCARS is a multi-platform success (millions copies sold), and that’s why PCARS2 will be another success. 🙂

      Like

      1. Funny that I got my facts from SimBin employees, you got yours from your arse. You can ask Ian and SMS if they were back working with SimBin; Jay Ekkel even mentions it in his interview with The Sim Pit as the unnamed uk based studio.

        Blimey! and SimBin worked together on GTR 2 and GT Legends no matter what dumb fucks like you sprout. That is why Henrik Roos wanted to take legal action for false claims.

        Name me a time when isn’t Ian going to sue someone? The man is always looking to sue be it forum owners or some other person.

        Like

      2. Man you must be dumb, Henrik Roos didn’t liked Ian Bell mentioning the fact that the “core team” of Simbin moved away to form Blimey Games and them SMS (it was an interview about EA and SHIFT, and wrote on the SMS website) then he wanted to sue him, but Ian presented the evidences by shown the credits list of GTR2 and GTL .. and guess what? The whole core team (all the leads, physics, netcode, 3d arists..) was working for SMS… so Henrik shut his mouth and desisted.

        http://www.shacknews.com/article/57302/simbin-a-little-angry-with
        http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/113286/SimBin_Studios_Threatens_Over_Slightly_Mad_Statements.php

        …and many others. The story is on the major gaming websites… Simbin employee my arse.

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      3. Doesnt really matter at end of day who went where,the end results speak for themselfs

        Sector 3-RRE A actual decent race game, good content, good AI,good graphics, Some of the most beautiful tracks in sim racing, made by intelligent looking ppl that aren’t all cowering behind a bizarre idiotic head dev, and lacks the same kind of weird alien bugs you see in Pcars

        SMS-after the horrible shift games-Pcars- A broken arse, shift recycled, race game, peddled by console plebs that dont know no better, and headed by literally one of the worst dev heads Ive ever come across, who created a cult legion of utter bell ends, more accustomed to “console wars”, and a cheesy arse marketing campaign full of half truths at best, and weird weird bugs you shouldn’t even see in a race game.

        I know which one Im supporting, its not the popular choice,but ppl are morons in general,if you want evidence, look at the “land of the free” and donald trump situation.

        Pcars is the Donald Trump of sim racing, fake, full of shit and has a legion of inbred populist idiots propping the whole circus up.

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      4. Doesn’t really matter at end of day who went where, the end results speak for themselves, Project CARS has already sold over a million copies, RRE3 hasn’t

        Like

      5. Just because donald trump is popular, dont make it right, its a unbelievably naive,childish and populist attitude to claim off all things “Sims” are somehow better the more they sell.

        COD sells better than ARMA3
        War thunder sells better than DCS World
        World of Tanks sells better than Steel beasts

        The ones not selling as well, are the hardcore sims developed and used in commercial environments,and are some of the best sims in world, are you starting to see the trend my little populist friend, you must of been a real “follower” at high school.

        Pcars had a huge team for a so called sim dev too, and unlike Kunos, was using a already well established race engine from ISI which they managed to absolutely destroy, and appear to spend most of their time marketing and employing (wrong word, the teens payed SMS to market for them) insecure young teens looking for a cult like figure to follow, to push his shit on other bewildered ppl, who are suckers for rain effects and flashy videos.

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      6. Just because you don’t happen to like something doesn’t make it bad, as tens of thousands of people are enjoying Project Cars on a weekly basis on Steam alone.

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      7. While there’s a guy called “Hash” which doesn’t like a game, there’s millions people out there with a different opinion.
        And while a kid screams the “failure”, Project CARS passed 1mln copies sold and it’s heading towards the 2 millions. Ahhh… the “expert” gamers world. 🙂

        Like

      8. Your right and TBH if console only gamer(why?), then this isn’t half as bad as what ppl make out(even empty box commented in latest vid (comments)AC AI is worse than Pcars), but we aren’t discussing popularity, but quality of “SIM’ in a sim oriented site, this is far from “casuals” that want a quick race on a gamepad, every other site caters to “Casuals”.

        Surprisingly enough I dont see fools on world of tanks forums jumping up and down like clowns, claiming its a better sim than steel beasts because WoT sells better, unlike on every second Pcars or rf2 post on other various sites, with this exact stupid argument repeated.

        It is a completely stupid argument,foreign and irrelevant to the quality of game in the sim world, race or not, if you want to follow the crowd and the completely legit “Mainstream” reviews fine, but you got to understand there is ppl that approach things far differently and use “critical thinking”.

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      9. While there’s a guy called “Hash” which doesn’t like a game, there’s millions people out there with a different opinion.
        And while a kid screams the “failure”, Project CARS passed 1mln copies sold and it’s heading towards the 2 millions. Ahhh… the “expert” gamers world. 🙂

        Says the gutless populist Anon, “do you even sim brah”

        Like

    3. Nope .. SMS were developing GTR3 for Simbin along the pCARS (pCARS development started much sooner than GTR3 development). Simbin went bust, stopped paying SMS for work.

      Btw. Austin, will you finally go fuck yourself? In every article you write about release of pCARS being disaster. Where did you see the disaster? Disaster for who? For the company, definitely not. Not for the publisher, not for the investors. For the (still) biggest number of daily online racing people?Wrong again. So where the fuck is the disaster you are always talking about?

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      1. This is completely invented, SMS didn’t put a finger into GTR3 development.
        They asked to help (it’s on the WMD forum), but didn’t come to any agreement, SMS never worked at GTR3.
        I don’t know from where you are throwing this “news” from… this website is already full of crap, we don’t need more liars.

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      2. The game didn’t work. Game crashes, cars flying, broken pad support, wheels going bananas in the menus, broken pitstops, unplayable AI… If that’s not a disaster I don’t know what it is.

        Only a total imbecile would dispute it was a disaster. It’s not enough being a shill, you need to be utterly stupid.

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  12. Would you believe me if I tell you I actually worked on some of the cars for (canceled) GTR3 myself? But sure .. the story is invented. And Simbin never released some of those cars as new content for R3E later … yea, sure … I don’t recognize my own work … sure. And you still know better than actual SMS employee …. sure.

    And if you believe me, then you’ll probably call me a liar … because I work for SMS, you know. Or will you apologise?

    Btw. For those who think that SMS employees must hate Ian Bell and his forum attitude … it is quiet the opposite … most of us do agree with him. He may sometimes come out as an arsehole, but that is the only right way to deal with arseholes on the other side (no, I’m not calling pCARS customers arseholes, I call that CERTAIN “customers” who simply deserve it .. not for being critical about the game, but for being arseholes …. it really is simple as that).

    And about pCARS release being disaster – I will admit XBOX version had (and unfortunately still has) its fair share of really ugly trouble, but calling overall release across all 3 platforms a disaster is far off.

    And last thing – before I’m called out for why am I even reading this blog – believe it or not, I find it interesting and sometimes amusing to see how idiotic people can be and how low can they go (not only in regards to pCARS, nice thing is, this site community hates nearly all the sims equally) … and there is no better place for that.

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    1. I forgot …. this was not about bloke in this article … he simply did make unnecessary long post. Ian stated that. The thread continued just fine, even the bloke did not feel offended. ….. but here we have an article about it on PRC. Priceless 😀

      Like

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