You know your game is on life support when your few remaining fans are forced to get excited over a mere blog post, rather than an actual update to the software. Studio 397 have recently published their long awaited December roadmap for rFactor 2, though what they’ve unveiled to the public still interested in seeing this game polished up to its full potential is nothing short of pathetic, especially given the simulator’s current status as a frail senior citizen permanently holed up in a local hospital’s intensive care unit. The new team, which took over the reigns of rFactor 2 from original developer Image Space Incorporated only a few short months ago, appear to have no long-term plans to rejuvenate the package into anything worthwhile, instead opting for more of the same – fucking nothing.
I’m obviously not happy with Studio 397’s latest blog post, and the tone of this short entry will reflect my complete lack of patience, though I feel at this point it’s completely justified. If you haven’t read the announcement in full, I highly suggest giving them some clicks and popping over to the official Studio 397 headquarters, but in short, this is the exact opposite of what rFactor 2 owners both wanted and needed. They desperately needed their simulator to be pulled from the depths of 2012 and injected with many new features and pieces of content to give sim racers an incentive to boot up rFactor 2, yet instead Studio 397 will provide utterly meaningless additions to the game.
The user interface is being completely re-built for the second time in the game’s existence, and what you see above is listed as a concept piece, not what will eventually land in the consumer version of the software. I get that rFactor 2’s main menu isn’t the greatest, but it’s not entirely clunky or disastrous either – just aesthetically, other games do it a bit better. Apparently, this somehow justifies a portion of the team at Studio 397 wiping the interface completely clean and building something brand new. I mean, hey, it’s great that they want to put their on stylistic touch on the whole package, but there are other places that deserve the team’s attention – such as the massive differences in Force Feedback quality from car to car when it comes to the stock ISI content included with rFactor.
rFactor 2’s controversial Online Pass system will now be completely abolished, meaning those who spent $80 on a lifetime subscription to the online server browser back when the game first came out, have now seen their investment vanish into thin air. While it’s definitely a smart move on Studio 397’s part to kill the subscription concept entirely, there are now a host of sim racers among the community who are about to learn they spent $80 on absolutely nothing in the long run – because it’s not like there was a use for the subscription during the online pass days, as barely anybody jumped online to race rFactor 2. Personally, I think it would be dope if Studio 397 allowed lifetime subscription holders the ability to use their key in some online store to redeem a sweet rFactor 2 shirt and or maybe even a plush toy of that ugly grey temp car as a sort of goofy compensation for dealing with ISI’s inability to make logical decisions, but I know our boy Dustin has joked about waiting for the day his rFactor 2 lifetime subscription would finally be worth it, and that day simply isn’t coming. He wasted $80 on absolutely nothing, as did a lot of other sim racers.
But we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet.
The next car Studio 397 plan to work on, is the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. No, this isn’t a joke. Even though the guys at UnitedRacingDesign have already pushed out their own version of the Corvette C7.R for rFactor 2 almost two years ago (as you can see from the shot above), and it’s a free download outside of their Endurance GT payware mod that everyone masturbates over, Studio 397 are sitting down and building their own version of the car for reasons only God understands.
This is absolutely nonsensical. There is nothing inherently wrong with URD’s version of the C7.R, everyone can go and download it for free off the Steam Workshop – meaning most rFactor 2 owners have already turned several laps in this car, and some VEC drivers have ran entire seasons in it – and yet here Studio 397 are following up yet another generic open wheel ride nobody asked for with a duplicate of a car already available for the game which people are perfectly happy with. Good fucking job Studio 397, thanks for confirming you literally haven’t even examined what mods are available for your game on the Steam workshop. This is definitely a competent developer who will surely put the eternal science project known as rFactor 2 on the right track.
All this, while the Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype, as well as the Super GT-spec Nissan GT-R – two cars people have been interested in as far back as 2013 when they were first announced as official content for rFactor 2 – sit unfinished on somebody’s hard drive.
The next track on the release schedule has been confirmed by Studio 397 to be NOLA Motorsports Park, a circuit which lasted exactly one year on the IndyCar schedule before being dropped due to several factors directly related to the quality of the facility, backroom financial matters, and the racing it produced. This is literally a circuit in the middle of a field, with no elevation changes or even scenery to speak of, making it a very hard sell for all but the local sportsman drivers who are obviously jacked to see their nearest track appear in a video game. Nobody in their right mind would willingly want to drive here, as aside from the facility’s lone IndyCar date – which turned into a shitshow thanks to excessive rain and flooding on portions of the circuit – this track has nothing to offer sim racers.
In fact, as the New Orleans Advocate writes, NOLA as a facility was actually sued by multiple entities following the conclusion of the 2015 Grand Prix due to how horrible the entire weekend went, which is almost unheard of in professional auto racing. Yet Studio 397 believe a facility as pathetic as this is the perfect track to entice sim racers into re-installing rFactor 2 at the start of 2017.
And that’s it. Seriously, that’s all their blog post announces. rFactor 2 owners are getting a car they already have, a track so horrendous it was actually sued by IndyCar, a reversal of the online pass system that should have been enacted years ago, and yet another interface redesign – because apparently the first one wasn’t good enough. Also, none of these are ready to go anytime soon save for the online pass reversal; you’ll be waiting a few months for the atrocious new content, and the menu redesign hasn’t even been finalized – they’re still on the concept art stage.
Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, and put this game in the trash where it belongs. rFactor 2 has passed away, and Studio 397’s December update was merely the funeral service.