2016 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the Codemasters Formula One franchise, as the European studio is set to pack the annual release full of highly-requested features that promise to turn F1 2016 into a very special achievement for the once-dwindling franchise. The days of Codemasters phoning in a yearly $60 title with only marginal improvements – and some times even regressions – appear to have come to a close, with F1 2016 promising an experience that should thrust the otherwise niche driving game into the spotlight alongside heavy hitters such as Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo. However, are Codemasters truly capable of pulling it off when the game is finally on store shelves? Today’s anonymous Reader Submission here at PRC.net from an individual participating in the closed F1 2016 beta draws attention to a few quirks the team will have to work around prior to the game’s very public launch later this year.
Good evening, PRC. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep me anonymous as I do not want to lose the privilege to be part of the feedback process, as Codemasters were very keen on expanding community involvement and testing this time around.
I’ve been closely following and monitoring the F1 2016 revealing process, as I have played every Codemasters F1 game to date, and I’m still racing on F1 2015 despite its many flaws. You have definitely saw that they’ve announced many new features and shown off gameplay of the new title that has a lot of people optimistic for F1 2016. The addition of the safety car, better damage, research and development, manual starts… It’s really fantastic what they’re doing, and everyone including me is genuinely hyped up. There are still some issues with the handling – I’m in the beta – but Codemasters were really receptive to our criticism and released a second beta build that included changes based of our feedback, so they really delivered on their promise to involve the community and work with us to create the best experience. It all sounds great, right?
I’ll say this now; if you’re a Career Mode guy, this will be the best F1 game ever. However, a while back they announced that Online Multiplayer will allow for a full 22 car grid. Let’s just stop right there for a second because I don’t believe they can pull this off.
You basically can’t get more than five cars in a lobby for F1 2015 without the room bugging out, let alone the current maximum of sixteen, so I have no idea how the hell they plan to introduce 22-car Multiplayer. We’re one month out from release, and Codemasters has not told us a single thing as to how they plan to ensure a stable netcode experience this time around, aside from the fact that they are not offering dedicated servers. The F1 2015 bugs you covered in your review last year are still present in Multiplayer. You get stuck with one set of tires, the game freezes in the menu, at the start everyone launches at different times, and the notorious de-synchronization bug where the cars are not where they actually reside on the track. Codemasters tried, I’ll give them that, and the eight patches or so fixed many of the single player bugs, so I assume that the single player portion of F1 2016 will run smoothly, but multiplayer is still broken.
So you should see where I’m going with this. All the emphasis is on career mode this year. It’s great that Codemasters took criticism and brought back some features that fans were calling to be included for years, but I have no clue how they plan on ensuring Multiplayer will work as intended, because there are thousands of players who want to league race in this game, but unfortunately Codemasters has been silent – even in the closed beta program – about Multiplayer. In my experience, if they’re silent, they will royally fuck it up – as we saw in F1 2015 where they were quiet until the game released in a monumentally poor state. Do not get me wrong that I think this year’s game will be a massive step forward, but there is still a feeling that not everything will be sunshine and flowers.
Thank you for the info, and in particular confirming that the closed beta program mirrored what Codemasters had done with DiRT Rally last year. I obviously don’t agree with letting just anyone into the beta to judge the handling of an F1 car with a gamepad, but if the game is getting high remarks from people such as yourself – especially with the existence of superior titles such as Formula One Championship Edition for the PS3 – Codemasters have obviously hit their stride this year and are on pace to deliver a game most people will be quite content with. With as much elitism as there is in the sim racing community, a lot of people are going to temporarily shut up about 100% authentic driving physics and lose themselves in the world of F1 if there is a complete and polished experience surrounding the game. So it’s good to know that unlike F1 2015, where we knew it was bad based on just how little info was available, that people have a reason to get excited for this year’s game.
I believe you’re correct about online potentially being just as shitty this year as it was in last year’s offering. Complete radio silence is always a bad sign, and I’m surprised that Codemasters have not used the Closed Beta program to iron out the kinks in online play. This may come as a shocker to the hardcore guys that lurk PRC.net, but tons of people use the Codemasters F1 games as a league platform, and even the semi-serious guys like to run longer races within a polished environment that does everything for them. It’s important to get online right, because after the initial two week excitement wears off, these are the individuals that will help carry the game throughout it’s 12-month lifespan. If online isn’t good, these dudes will drop it, or potentially get so pissed off that Codemasters will lose a chunk of F1 2017 sales.
I’m curious to see how this title turns out, because Codemasters have indeed put a lot of effort into cramming additional modes and features into a game that has traditionally seen minor upgrades from year to year. Online could be the make-or-break portion of F1 2016, and people would be pretty choked if they got it wrong.