Where to begin with Image Space Incorporated and rFactor 2? Do we talk about the poor performance optimization, or how the game stumbled onto the market in beta form with virtually no fanfare? Do we criticize the spotty content list that doesn’t offer anything special, or berate ISI for their absolutely horrid online pass system, one which even the mighty Electronic Arts quickly abandoned? Do we blast the team for refusing (until recently) to provide detailed documentation when it came to modding what is supposed to be the ultimate modding platform for sim racers, or do we question where previously announced cars like the Nissan GT-R GT500 have been hiding? Regardless of what topic you cover when discussing rFactor 2 in a critical fashion, Image Space Incorporated have ultimately failed to capitalize on the popularity of the original, releasing a technically sound auto racing simulator which has failed to captivate basically anyone within the sim racing community. Modders don’t care for it, only a few select leagues use it as their simulator of choice, and it’s as if the software merely exists to win arguments on Reddit – because the developers themselves haven’t really denounced our resident forum trolls.
It turns out that Image Space Incorporated have been up to something big. According to the official rFactor 2 twitter, the team are set to make a handful of major announcements regarding their eternal science project at Germany’s Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit during this weekends Simracing Expo 2016. The classic black, orange, and white logo has already been replaced with something that mimics the art style found in The Crew: Wild Run, so a potential massive re-packaging of the title, coupled with some kind of advertising push featuring several paid DLC packs and a more complete front-end package doesn’t seem too far out of the question. Your software can only be a science project for so long before it’s time to try and keep up with the competition.
Personally, I’d like a full series game akin to GTR 2 or F1 Challenge 99-02, powered by the rFactor 2 engine. As I’ve discussed before on PRC.net, a modern IndyCar simulator could be a genuine possibility given how closely Dallara have worked with Image Space Incorporated, to the point where ISI was able to supply Assetto Corsa modders with data for a car they themselves hadn’t even built yet. He’s probably going to beat my ass for mentioning this, but I spoke with Tim Wheatley a while back over Email, and the only hint he was able to give in terms of ISI’s future is that they’ll be “using” the rFactor 2 engine in their next project rather than “developing” it. Whether that means there’s a full series game on the horizon, or rFactor 2 will essentially be turned into Project CARS: Alternate Reality Version by tidying things up into a complete game experience as a free update for current owners, that one’s up to your interpretation.
Many of you have steered clear of rFactor 2 for one reason or another, but this weekend could mark a major change for a simulator that’s otherwise been ignored – or in some cases laughed at – for failing to keep up with the competitors in the genre. It will be an exceedingly strange day if something mammoth were to come out of this.