Reader Submission #91 – Satisfied with Mediocrity

We receive a lot of flak here at PRC.net for alleged fear-mongering about the current state of racing simulations, and those who are vocally opposed to the content on this site claim we’re approaching everything with an unwarranted pessimistic attitude. For the past several years, many virtual racing game developers have pushed out unfinished or broken titles on the unsuspecting general public, and it has been somewhat difficult to prove that there is a tangible decline in quality within the genre – fanboys often come out of hiding to claim we should feel sorry in some way for a multitude of different studios who don’t have the time, financial support, or raw manpower to create the title of our dreams.

However, a Reader Submission today from Dane R. has helped us shed some light on one of the more prominent issues currently plaguing sim racing – some developers are outright delusional about the quality of their products, and don’t believe anything is wrong at all. Milestone’s RIDE, released in 2015, shipped with a plethora of game-breaking bugs that quickly relegated the title to the bargain shelf at your local retailer, but Milestone instead genuinely believe the game has surpassed their expectations.

How?


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Hello PRC! Yesterday I read a very interesting article about Italian game studio Milestone, and their plans for a successor to RIDE –  a motorcycle game with huge load times on consoles, corrupted save game issues, the best of Assetto Corsa’s pre-2015 railway artificial intelligence, and extremely bad engine sounds. According to German racing game magazine SpeedManiacs, who interviewed Milestone not too long ago, Milestone have currently stuck their heads in the sand. The team from Italy believe players and press alike are satisfied with the title, and the game has exceeded their own personal expectations.

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On what planet are their titles considered a success? RIDE has a Metacritic rating of 66, and only around 70% of Steam reviews are positive. Even if the sales figures seem to be somewhat okay (around 25,000 sold on Steam alone), for me it’s absolutely incomprehensible as to how a game developer with over 100 employees can think like this. As a sim racer they only appear to care about pushing out four new licensed games a year, without caring about their reputation or the quality of their software.


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First of all, I guess it’s important to establish that the current climate of mainstream video game journalism – the websites which contribute to the average Metacritic score you see prominently displayed around the internet – basically won’t give any modern video game a score lower than 80%. This can be attributed to the developers themselves offering certain publications perks for giving their game an artificial score, or it can be attributed that the fear of judging a game in an honest manner, in turn risking the supply of early press copies to completely dry up. This exact scenario happened when I was over writing for RaceDepartment in 2013 – Codemasters threw a tantrum regarding my review of Grid 2, and basically pulled support from the site altogether, when they were previously big supporters of the community Mr. Hengeveld created.

With an ideal base critic score being established, and the team’s entries falling well below the average Metacritic target of 80%, for Milestone to claim they have been successful as a game developer is pretty disturbing. I’ve sat down and compiled a list of Metacritic scores featuring four of their most recent titles, and the mental gymnastics used to act like they’re somehow doing a good job is impressive to say the least:

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Critics aren’t satisfied, effectively turning the responses mentioned during the Speed Maniacs interview into a load of horseshit. MXGP, MotoGP 15, Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo, and the aforementioned RIDE have all just barely fallen into the acceptable category. Customers, as you can see from heading over to the Steam forums for any one of the aforementioned titles, aren’t happy either. The Steam discussion page for RIDE upon launch was a disaster, and I noted during our extensive review of Rally Evo that a very competent rally simulator was hiding under a plethora of bugs and design flaws that shouldn’t have been there.

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Milestone’s response to all of this criticism, has been to stick their fingers in their ears and instead invent their own reality. This is incomprehensible. We’re talking about years worth of games that were borderline unplayable due to numerous technical issues or gameplay elements that just didn’t resonate with anyone, years worth of reviews indicating all of their projects have barely been deemed acceptable by critics and fans alike, and the company answers to all of this by literally pretending everything is fine and inventing bizarre claims that are demonstrably false. At what point do these guys wake up? What version of RIDE or Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo are they playing at their headquarters? How does a studio with over one hundred employees craft such a drastic alternative to reality? And more importantly, if the team at Milestone have found a way where they can openly laugh in the face of their remaining customers, who have undoubtedly put up with a mountain of patches and post-release beta testing just to get something that’s halfway playable, how many other companies are taking this approach as well?

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Oh right, a lot of them.

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119 thoughts on “Reader Submission #91 – Satisfied with Mediocrity

  1. Top sims, by Metascore:
    #1: DIRT 2 (89)
    #2: GRID (87)
    #3: DiRT 3 (86)
    #4: DIRT Rally (86)
    #5: Assetto Corsa (85)
    #6: GT Legends (84)
    #7: TOCA Race Driver 3 (84)
    #8: Need for Speed: SHIFT 2 (84)
    #9: F1 2010 (84)
    #10: Need for Speed: SHIFT (83)
    (Project CARS: 83, iRacing: 79, rFactor 2: not popular enough to earn a rating)

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      1. all that spreadsheet is resumed to a couple final parameters anyway

        Do you honestly think that the brakes in AC are made by writing max_torque=x in a file? There are more calculations/algorithms behind scene to give you that final max_torque. The things missing in there are stuff for brake temperatures and wear/fade, parameters to define the construction of the brake pads/disc.

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  2. Stefano is a woman, he blocked me then banned me from the official forums for calling him out.

    He tried to strong arm RD and other places into banning some people he didn’t like then managed to get himself banned in the process.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. As far as I can tell, you’re the only loser in this situation, I still get to post bug reports and vote in polls on the next features.

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      2. Given that the AC forums require that you have licensed copy of AC, I wonder if Stefano could remotely revoke Chris’ AC license for that criticism…

        That being said, does other official game forums do this? And once the console version comes out, how the admins there prove you actually bought it, or will the forums remain strictly for the PC version of AC?

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      3. “missing features” you say, like it’s a meaningful rallying cry. I am not you, I don’t want the same things you do. Every sim is missing ‘features’; AC is missing the least out of my personal priority list.

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  3. I can’t think of a single developer in this genre that I’d consider likable. They’re all a bunch of pissed off nerds who are incredibly insecure about themselves and the games they create. I suppose they should be, because it seems like these games are just getting worse and worse as time goes on.

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      1. I’m long past the mark where I would give a damn about who or what the developer is. Their job is to make decent sims, period. Because it is their job and we are the employers in the long run. If they want to screw with whoever uses their crap, they should at least do that for free.

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    1. Sector 3 have been incredibly respectful to us even though we constantly shit on R3E. The Racecraft guys are also pretty friendly – for an indie dev to take a chance on PRC is ballsy as fuck.

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      1. You took the words from my mouth. I don’t think playing many sims and pointing out flaws is shitting on anything. I respect them both for doing this.

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      2. Makes me wonder why Sector 3 do what they do with PRC but it’s up to Sonat and J-F to hand out the press passes to whomever they like.

        @the Anon who stated R3E is complete garbage; seems the real pro’s like Spengler love R3E and donated their free time to improve the DTM 2015 package and Sector 3 has real world pro’s working on the sim from Audi TT, ADAC and GT3 series. So go fuck yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Stefano…is a fucking retard that’s all I have to say, let him use his nazi-mod powers while he can. AC forums is the only place where he even has any “power” at all. hahaa

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    1. Apparently PRC comments is also the place where you have some power to insult others.

      And the ones I see getting butthurt about some devs are the ones who give bullshit to them too. Now when the devs don’t take bullshit from them, those users feel hurt when the dev doesn’t just eat and shuts up like they were used to, so they come to PRC to complain about devs that aren’t nice when themselves weren’t nice in the first place and always stirring up shit about the games, the devs, and other players preferences in a sim against theirs.

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      1. That’s a bit word-y, but I agree.

        I lurk around most other places, and I’ve seen good criticism as well as endless raging from all sides. But here with no moderation – some just go nuts with the ‘shitposting’, sometimes funny, other times just annoying.

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  5. Why haven’t I seen an article here so far that only talks objectively about game problems and suggestions of improvement or different ideas, without judgements. Always creating drama in the community, about the games, the devs, and other players.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The worst part in this is that they don’t believe in their tagline, but the opposite. They think they’re doing a good job and when anyone criticizes them they back up with we are the worst site…

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  6. Lord Kunos’ hairy balls post is fantastic.

    Regarding Metacritic scores, I’m not sure what you mean “average target score”, but the average Metacritic score is nowhere near 80%. Likely in the 60s, but that’s just a guess.

    Finally, I visit PRC daily, and enjoy Austin’s writing style, but let’s be honest; a lot of the allegations published are either rampant speculation, demonstrably false, or mountains from molehills.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. It is very sad that the norm for games devs now is to release an unfinished product,always in a state of early access.
    They can do it tho,because everyone is stupid enough to buy the products on day1,how can this be the norm.
    They make a game,release it before it’s ready and use the customer as beta testers,why is it the norm now to have 100s if patches post release,why shouldn’t the product be finished before,and then only release updates to add shut,not to fix stuff that should have already been fixed before release.
    SIM racing is in a sad sorry state,I love it,but I some times wish the genre would just fold,then the devs would have to make sure if they want to release a title that it has to be finished.

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    1. You’re learning about consumerism and how stupid one has to be engage in it,especially given it’s sorry state.
      Sim racers like myself try and talk about the extra realism found in genuine sims,but the typical mindless consumer tries to equalize shitty simcade crap with real sims.

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  8. Milestone have been shit for years; their last great sim was SBK 2001 made with EA’s money at a time when World Superbike was the best two wheeled motor-sport on earth. 15 fucking years have passed and Milestone can’t get their shit together!

    Since SBK 2001, Milestone have shat out crap game after crap game. MotoGP gave Milestone another shot in 2008 (MotoGP ’08 was shite) and it took until 2013 for the MotoGP series to return into the hands of Milestone…where they’ve created nothing but horseshit.

    The SBK people gave up once SBK Generations shipped in 2011 and have been mobile games only.

    Capcom gave the console versions to Monumental Games (RIP) who created a 60fps 4xMSAA game engine complete with changeable weather and a career mode straight from Grid. MotoGP ’09/’10 was a little arcade-y and MotoGP ’10/’11 wiped the floor with anything Milestone have made since SBK 2001. Lap records in MotoGP ’10/’11 were about 2-3 seconds faster than the real world..Milestone games are, on average, 6-10+ seconds faster than the real world. So much for realism.

    Then there are the endless bugs, glitches and lack of support.

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    1. MotoGP 08 was their last good entry. Today it drives a bit stiff but it punishes abusive riding, so it’s most ground on reality. SBK series began “stiffening” how it drove, last one I played and owned was SBK 11. Not that it was good, though. Then the recent MotoGP games are far too exploitable and unreasonable. There is no challenge having supreme braking and balance, and beating track records by 4s.

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      1. MotoGP ’08 had more bugs and issues than any other MotoGP game I can remember for the Xbox 360…it was little more than SBK ’08 reskinned. It did nothing for me and is still way behind the efforts of SBK 2001 and GP500 (anyone remember that sim?).

        There was a time when that was the only place one could buy these Milestone made games was on console and it appears that’s back to where Milestone want to be given their MotoGP games run poorly on modern PC hardware with the god-awful Yebis PP enabled.

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  9. I dunno, Ian Bell is a complete twat, without a doubt, but I think Stefano just can’t do sarcasm well (as well as it can be done through text), and doesn’t take much to get riled up.

    Remember the whole VR thing?, refused to look into it seriously and was making fun of the new accounts from reddit?
    It was like the next morning or something, I saw someone was mentioning how SteamVR can make the whole process easier for developers, and dude was being nice and suggesting ways to look into it.

    And you know what?, Stefano was like “ok, VR might be doable”, same with users asking for a brake-pressure adjustment, started with “why do you need this?, G27 pedals are fine” and has, admittedly, gone ‘slightly’ towards another “we might be able to do this” response.

    Fuck it, I’m rambling.
    TL;DR – be genuinely nice, get nice response. be a dick – get treated like one.

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    1. Stefano has always been pretty fragile, it’s a miracle he didn’t kill himself over netKar Pro.

      The difference is Ian Bell is a shady businessman, while Stefano Casillo is a stressed out programmer that tries to do everything on his own.

      Like

  10. Holy rFactor 2 is proven to have MUCH MORE Simulation Value than Assetto Corsa, Project Cars, AMS, and iRacing, father Associat0r and father Hex will show you the light.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pure simulation value doesn’t take you anywhere. There needs to be meaningful purpose which puts the simulation value into context. I believe these are considered as games or entertainment products in the end? In that regards, they fail greatly.

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    1. You guys and your obsession with trying to pull stats from steamspy without being able to properly read stats.

      87 playing at one data point. 126 peak playing as a second data point. Mean players at any given time on this one day based on available data from this picture is 106.5. If we assume that each player plays for only 1 hour while maintaining this average then the total number of users playing the game in 24 hours is 2556. Now lets assume more realistically that there are off peak times when things are lower and some players play more than 1 hour. So lets just dump 25% off the figure. That means 1917 players played AMS in a 24 hour period.

      1917 players on a Sunday doesn’t seem dead to me. Even 1000 players isn’t dead. Add to that the fact that Reiza keeps adding content and they paid for this content with a 100k community crowdfund. If you can pull $100k from a sim’s community how is it dead? Why must a sim’s health be measured by its consistent player base and not its purchasing player base? Many people own AC but only play it after every update or infrequently. Most simmers own many sims and play many infrequently but still buy the product. How does this picture condemn AMS as unhealthy in the realm of sims?

      Oh right, you’re just a troll making specious arguments. You’ve got nothing.

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      1. Hell yeah, preach it brother! 16 people to race with on a Sunday afternoon, and a couple of obscure private rooms. Loads of activity!

        Oh wait no that’s actually really fucking bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Reiza are criminals, and should be brought to justice. I will rejoice when I hear the news that Reiza is out of business.

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      3. This then works the same for the top games then Going by your Calculations which means then-
        Assetto-40428
        Dirt Rally-40320
        pCARS-32643
        RaceRoom-12780
        rF2- 2844
        Race07-2358
        Stock Car extreme-2119
        AMS-1917

        So going by your estimates, it still proves then that AMS is failing. AMS has just under 5% of what Assetto Corsa has player wise. Stock Car extreme has a marginal better player count over the “Newer Title”

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    1. He never showed any in game data with 6Gs, but keeps saying the same everywhere. If is so easy to get 6G with the lotus 98t, we’d see evidence of it somewhere, right?

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    1. Retards think slamin on the brakes at the last second is racing, so devs appealing to these tards dumb down the physics so any simple minded fool can drive.

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      1. Judging by AC’s online turn1 accidents where people can’t brake in time or just brake too late cause they don’t understand why they should brake earlier in the first corner of the starting lap, the simulation value is over 9000. But is getting better, way better than we can remind from a year ago. Netcode and collision updates helped greatly the overall conditions and results.

        Like

  11. Why stop at moderating comments?
    Why not also ban those who promote censorship?

    This site operates in stream-of-consciousness & unfiltered mode. Hence, the very polarizing perspectives (and comments) here. It’s part of the PRC charm.

    If you don’t like someone’s comment = iggy & scroll.

    Cowboy up, bruh. It’s a man’s world up in here.

    Like

    1. “man’s world” Lmfao, if you call arguing over ‘who’s pretend race car videogame is better’ being a man…then i think it’s time to leave your mom’s basement….

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Until now no one posted porn and stuff like that… if you’re gonna spam the same shit all the time, better post something nice.

      Like

  12. seriously wtf this site comment that annoying guy with pic and ac hating really make this comment unreadable it feels like site who gets abadoned

    Like

    1. You mean those goons who start loudly questioning AC’s simulation value over and over even in articles not related to AC? He need to take a new bait (and it cannot be related to Reiza, since it’s an old bait now).

      Like

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