A little under a month ago, Codemasters announced they would be holding a closed beta program to help polish Formula One 2016 prior to the game’s release. After the success of DiRT Rally, which spent the better part of a summer being tweaked and fine-tuned in Steam’s Early Access phase by dedicated community members, the team over in the United Kingdom felt it was time to apply what they’ve learned from last year’s sleeper hit to their yearly officially licensed Formula One title. Given the abhorrent reception F1 2015 received when all three versions were found to be buggy, incomplete, and downright unsatisfactory, on paper the move towards yet another product shaped by the community appeared to be a major step in the right direction.
While anticipation was high within the confines of the Codemasters F1 gaming community – the dedicated fans eagerly monitoring their Email inboxes to see whether they’ve been sent a beta code, we here at PRC.net took a completely different stance. I personally blasted Codemasters for their approach to the closed beta program, as they were not making any tangible effort to filter out applicants based on driving talent or overall racing knowledge. I will give Codemasters props for having good intentions with the whole closed beta ordeal, but when it comes to refining a game’s handling model, you can’t just grab any Tommy Twelve-Year-Old or Bobby Backmarker and ask for their opinion on how a virtual Formula One car should behave for obvious reasons.
Unfortunately, Codemasters failed to abide by these basic guidelines, and it promptly bit them in the ass. Hard.
For those who can’t be bothered to watch xMattyG’s commentary on the ordeal that I’ve linked above, it’s fairly easy to guess what has occurred over the past 48 hours within the world of Codemasters racing games. Someone who had been invited into the closed beta posted a potato-quality video of legitimate F1 2016 beta gameplay, and it spread like wildfire. Now, two problems have arisen from this scenario, and virtual Formula One fans are pissed for two very distinct reasons.
- First, beta participants were under strict non-disclosure agreements, and the individual responsible for both capturing the footage and releasing it onto the internet will most likely find himself in very real legal trouble in the coming days. The fans are choked, as this is the first time Codemasters has done a closed beta for basically any of their products, and within days, somebody has already ruined it – so fans are obviously not expecting another opportunity like this in the future.
- Second, from what others who have seen the video have described, the guy driving was absolutely horrendous. As I mentioned when the closed beta was first announced, Codemasters would gain absolutely nothing from giving preview versions of the game to people who could barely keep the car under control in the first place. Longtime Formula One series enthusiasts are disgusted that literal shitters have been selected to help refine the game’s handling model, indicating Codemasters had passed over talented individuals who most likely had genuine feedback to offer.
As I’m not the biggest or most dedicated fan of Formula One titles – though there are a few that have temporarily captured my interest – the most I can say is “I told you so.”