It’s not uncommon for large developers to cut features or content from a game prior to the retail release, but in the case of Slightly Mad Studios, they’ve done a relatively poor job at hiding their plans. A Project CARS press release dating back to 2014 lists both the Verizon Indy Car Series and the Indianapolis 500 as default content in the controversial crowdfunded racing sim. Promising Career Mode integration, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the complete 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series field, asymmetrical car setups, all aerodynamic configurations, push-to-pass, and proper oval racing rules, the inclusion of the Verizon IndyCar Series would compliment other licensed events within the world of Project CARS, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Unfortunately, these plans appear to have been almost completely scrapped. The Dallara DW12 has instead been released as part of the “American Race Car” DLC package alongside the modern NASCAR-spec Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Corvette C7R, and Cadillac ATS-VR GT3. All oval track locations seen in WMD builds of Project CARS, such as Daytona, Bristol, Indianapolis, Dover, and Charlotte, have failed to appear in the retail release of the game. Basically, Slightly Mad Studios told us the Indy 500 would be in Project CARS, and not only is the event clearly absent, oval racing as a whole simply isn’t here either.
Meanwhile, Ian Bell has admitted on the official Project CARS forums that they are having problems implementing the very artificial intelligence and rules changes they originally advertised for the oval racing component back in 2014, and are contemplating releasing a pack of American Ovals for online use only, allowing users to call their own caution flags and execute their own pace laps. While some will be happy to learn that oval racing will be coming to Project CARS in the future in a semi-functional state, this doesn’t exactly let Slightly Mad Studios off the hook for failing to deliver on what was at the time a fairly addition to the list of content.
Project CARS was supposed to take things a step further and offer a more complete IndyCar field than Forza Motorsport 6, yet now the base level of content is more or less being silently shoe-horned into the title. The liveries are fictional, it’s an old model of Dallara’s DW12, and the Indianapolis 500 itself is totally absent. I don’t really wanna start throwing the words “false advertising” around, but it’s pretty blatant this time. And unfortunately, Slightly Mad Studios has done more than just leave out the Indianapolis 500.
Forum moderator Remco Van Dijk has admitted that Project CARS fans are foolish to expect major gameplay additions, as the staff at Slightly Mad Studios are spending a majority of the game’s post-release lifespan merely fixing bugs as they are found. However, owners of Project CARS have been quick to point out that many post-release improvements were indeed promised by Slightly Mad Studios, such as triple screen support, manual pitting, and sharing setups – and they too have been scrapped.
With each passing day, the saga of Project CARS becomes an ever-expanding instruction manual on how not to release and support a modern racing sim. Virtually every single move the developer team has made only serves to piss off the dwindling community supporting the crowdfunded racing sim, and it’s hard to predict how people will receive Project CARS 2 now that games like Forza Motorsport 6 and the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport are firmly in the spotlight.