To many sim racers, it’s no secret that Reiza’s latest and greatest title currently available on the market, Stock Car Extreme, is little more than ISI’s 2005 release rFactor with many community modifications built into the default install alongside a heavy dose of South American cars and tracks. Reiza have done little to mask this little nugget of information, as just by opening the root Stock Car Extreme folder, one can see that Reiza have neglected to even change the names of certain files correlating to community modifications. Most sim racers, myself included, don’t mind that Reiza is selling a “Greatest Hits” package of rFactor, as since we’re now in the year 2016, some of these community modifications are essential for rFactor to run on modern computers. However, the precedent has been set: Reiza is indeed repackaging rFactor with mods they themselves didn’t make, and selling it as a retail product. In some cases, even the original Readme.TXT files have been included.
Now, given Reiza’s very real and demonstrable pattern of bundling community modifications into the default Stock Car Extreme package, we move onto the goals for Reiza’s Sim Racing Bonanza. Among the massive list of promised content and enhancements, featuring Stadium Super Trucks, an early 2000’s Formula One Entry, and a RallyCross variant of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, is the goal of “Dynamic Weather & Track Conditions.”
Oddly enough, like the aforementioned Force Feedback upgrades, refined graphical effects and extra Heads Up Display elements, a free community modification already exists to implement Dynamic Weather and Track Conditions into an isiMotor sim. It’s called the RFE Plugin Series, and can be downloaded & installed in about five minutes.
We now venture to NoGripRacing.com, where a small but important thread exists discussing the announcement of Automobilista, Reiza Studios’ upcoming racing sim set to be launched in the first quarter of 2016. This new sim is said to include virtually all of features and promises made during the 2015 IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, but users at NoGripRacing aren’t buying into the hype as much as other sim racing communities have been.
User JeKoCZ claims to have insider info regarding the development of Automobilista, and in response to another user expressing doubt over the integrity of Automobilista, states a trusted friend confirmed the dynamic track and weather effects Reiza claim to be developing are instead an rFactor mod anyone can download and install in five minutes. While it’s just one aspect of the massive crowdfunding campaign, and these are currently just allegations, we’re looking at a potential scenario where people essentially threw six figures at Reiza Studios to download a free rFactor mod, insert their own tweaks, and pass it off as this mammoth development project that needed a significantly large budget to complete.
After lengthy critical posts dissecting the integrity of Reiza Studios, an employee of the company, known on NoGripRacing as “The Lonely“, tells those critical of Reiza to “get the fuck out of here.”
Now, we tie everything together.
I personally think Stock Car Extreme has been a wonderful sim racing-related purchase (it’s what we use for our official PRC.net league), and I’m both excited and skeptical for the upcoming title, Automobilista. It will be interesting to see how Reiza handles releasing the same title with marginal improvements for a fourth time, but I know at the end of the day the positives will offset the negatives.
But when you operate any sort of crowdfunding campaign, you’re playing by a very strict set of rules, and it’s why people tend to avoid these things to begin with. Sites such as Patreon, Kickstarter, and of course IndieGoGo all take various steps to prevent dishonest campaigns from getting off the ground. In the case of IndieGoGo, an entire team is tasked with overseeing campaigns from a human perspective. Now, the rules among these three sites, while all worded in different ways, are pretty simple in principle: You can’t raise money to create, sell, or distribute a product you yourself didn’t create. In some scenarios, this isn’t even legal, and you can get in a whole bunch of shit if you get caught.
What does this mean for Reiza’s crowdfunding campaign from last summer?
Only time will tell how this all plays out. Welcome to Sim Racing in 2016.