A New Project CARS Game Warrants the Same Lackluster Mainstream Coverage

project-cars-2-7aI mean, you all knew a post on this topic was coming at some point, so let’s just address the elephant in the room and bring ourselves up to speed with virtually every other sim racing outlet on the planet.

Early yesterday morning, Slightly Mad Studios finally took the covers off of the sequel to their 2015 crowd-funded racing simulator after a few select weeks of the odd leak or two, revealing Project CARS 2 to the masses with a ninety second official trailer followed by an influx of gameplay footage captured by third party journalists – who were most certainly under an embargo. Like all new games, there’s certainly a lot to talk about; new cars, new tracks, new weather, and improved visual fidelity, but like all new games, the immediate surrounding coverage just isn’t what a lot of people interested in this game want to see.

Let’s take it from the top.

Compared to the mundane placeholder introduction that was uploaded a short while ago as a “leaked official trailer”, the short cinematic piece tossed across all major gaming outlets does a much better job at conveying information the original failed to do; only focusing for a brief period of time on the title’s obvious increase in visual fidelity compared to other simulators before showcasing lots of AI pack racing that appears to display a much more competent field of computer opponents this time around – one of the original version’s most damning issues. I wanted to be shown the game has improved rather than told, and I feel the guys at SMS did a decent job with this, despite it being a bit on the short side.

Every other website has combed through all of the available footage in an effort to create a thorough list of the new content featured in Project CARS 2, so I’ll withhold any elongated commentary on that portion of the title in favor of a much simpler summary: there are clearly a lot of new car makers that have been willing to play ball with Slightly Mad Studios this time around, and though some of the bigger websites have suspiciously remained silent about specific licenses, leaked images we’ve discovered a while back, as well as the “leaked official trailer”, indicate the big three European super car manufacturers – Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini – will all make numerous appearances. Obviously, these are brands sim racers really want to drive, and I’m impressed that the traditionally boastful Slightly Mad Studios have not begun waving their dicks around after acquiring certain licenses in an effort to temporarily distract their customers. We’ve seen before how that approach can only go so far with the trio of Porsche packs released by Kunos Simulazioni.

The track roster has also seen a substantial increase as well, with Daytona, Long Beach, and Fuji Speedway all showing up at some point throughout the publicized videos – and I’m sure there are more to come. I’ve said this before in my analysis of Project CARS 2, and I’ll bring it up yet again – even if you’re not particularly excited for what Slightly Mad Studios are currently building, they’re certainly doing their best to cram the game full of content in a manner similar to ToCA Race Driver 3.

On paper, it looks okay. At least there’ll be a lot to see and do.

project-cars-2-2aBut unfortunately, I can’t elaborate on the most important aspect of Project CARS 2 – the raw, unfiltered gameplay. And this is because either Slightly Mad Studios, or their overlords at Bandai-Namco, have created a hardcore racing simulator intended to be a step above what Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo offer, yet conduct their promotional campaign in a traditional mass market manner, leading to a situation where the people Project CARS 2 was created for, still don’t know very much about the game despite all of this media buzz. I don’t really care for assigning specific blame here, the point is that none of this is what sim racers wanted to see.

It’s very hard to learn about what this game does differently or improves upon compared to it’s predecessor, when all YouTube footage uploaded immediately after the embargo had been lifted features people who can barely drive in a straight line. Unlike the Grand Theft Auto franchise, where the emphasis is on exploration and experimentation rather than player skill, being able to drive a virtual race car efficiently is the key to getting the most out of a hardcore racing simulator. I mean, this is a large portion of the reason why many PC racing sims barely ship with any features aside from basic race options – the goal is to simply go faster than your previous outing, and better yourself as a driver.

And unlike Grand Theft Auto –  where an entire world of variety shows and comedic sketches exist to entertain the masses within Rockstar’s sandbox – on the race track, a tenth is a car length, and a half second is your reputation.

The customers who will sit and play this game long after release want to know about aerodynamic elements of certain vehicles, tire heating patterns, and what the new dynamic weather does differently compared to the old dynamic weather. Yes, it’s ridiculously nerdy stuff, but the people playing these games are ridiculously nerdy. We’re talking about a racing simulator where you can sit down and participate in a full twenty four hour endurance event if you choose to, not something with takedowns and traffic checking. What I’m getting at, is that a teenager barely managing to stay on-track does nothing to inform the core audience – who will play this game well through the end of its life span, buying every last piece of DLC you churn out – still have no idea what they should be getting excited about.

I think I’m going to get in big trouble for mentioning this, but there were talks – just talks people, calm your shit – about having somebody from PRC attend the Project CARS 2 reveal party at the Mercedes Winter Driving Test Track somewhere in Sweden. I straight up declined the offer, suggesting the folks at SMS to pursue our boy Sev instead (as it’s less of a logistical travel nightmare considering he’s already in Europe), but at the end of the day priority was given to mainstream gaming media regulars; the kinds of people whose job it is to evaluate everything from FIFA and Grand Theft Auto to obscure lesbian walking simulators and Super Mario Galaxy for major publications.

Which is okay; it’s their job to do so, while for us it’s just a hobby, and it’s wrong to snub them of actual work. Personally, we don’t mind missing out on an event like this in the end, as it saves us a literal shit-storm in our comments section, but at the same time, there ends up being a legitimate downside when you don’t have actual wheelmen checking out your game; sim racers who can ask the tough questions and tell curious fellow hobbyists eagerly anticipating this title exactly what they want to know.

The initial unedited gameplay footage is borderline unwatchable and can’t be used in any meaningful way, and the hardcore simulator guys whom the franchise was primarily constructed for back in late 2011, still don’t have their questions answered, because the initial influx of videos never gets to that point.

ice-drivingI don’t want to make people sit through others crashing and bashing their way through a hardcore simulator, so I’ll just attach the following screenshot to make my point very clear: I was really hoping to learn about what may entice me to purchase Project CARS 2 on launch day, and instead I saw multiple videos of people who – in a very general sense – struggle with the tutorial mode; jacking up all of the driving assists and still plowing into other cars while naming their videos titles such as “how to racing-sim like a not idiot.”

not-idiotIt’s easy to make fun of these people and call them noobs for their inherent lack of skill, but in a situation where literally nobody knew anything about this game prior to, well, today, it’s important as a company to properly establish why previous customers and those on the sidelines should get excited about the next product. After six minutes and fifty one seconds of watching this dude skid all over the place, I have the exact same questions about the game as I did before clicking play.

That’s not good.

This footage is supposed to almost double as ground-level marketing material to get me excited about Project CARS 2, and instead I’m clicking off thirty seconds into a clip because the guy behind the wheel has an intolerably bad set of skills. I’m intentionally watching your videos to learn more about the game, but then I’m also intentionally leaving prematurely primarily because I’m not learning anything and being subjected to someone playing the game so poorly it doesn’t show off any of the fancy new features. Back to the drawing board.

000What’s also not good, is that now you’ve basically come out and revealed that a lot of these very important gaming journalists invited on a special trip can barely play your game. Let’s look past the obvious “we threw a private party for critics” thing here, because I can and most certainly will knock that all day, but I’d like to sit down and examine what’s Bandai-Namco and Slightly Mad Studios have accidentally put on display. Members of the gaming press – the same individuals or colleagues of said individuals who will undoubtedly review Project CARS 2 later in the year – are incompetent when it comes to race car simulators. Their own YouTube videos clearly put that on display for the world to see. And we’re not talking “I lose more games of FIFA than I win, but I still sort of know what I’m doing and just play shitty defense because I’m lazy” incompetence, oh no, this is like, “driving a barbie jeep drunk at 3am on the night of your bachelor party ” incompetence.

Mute the volume, ignore the narrators reading from a list of features, and just watch the driving for a turn or two from the official PlayStation Access channel. It’s excruciating. I’ve seen homeless men have more control over downhill shopping cart drag races than this guy piloting the Mercedes AMG GT3 – and those Safeway carts don’t come with anti-lock brakes, input filters, or traction control.

Unmute the volume, and one of the narrators refers to an online race as a match.

Alright then.

Obviously, video games don’t discriminate, and there’s no qualifications per se when it comes to hardcore racing simulators, but how are the same people who can’t drive a virtual car more than fifty feet in a straight line, supposed to accurately assess a modern racing simulator? It will be extremely suspicious if one of the outlets that proudly displayed their lack of car control on YouTube suddenly gives the game a score of 95 come the fall of 2017, so as a marketing team in charge of organizing this stuff, why even let that kind of situation arise in the first place?

It’s extremely poor foresight.

project-cars-2-6aYes, Project CARS 2 has been officially revealed after months of speculation and weeks of leaks, but we still don’t know anything useful about it from a sim racer’s perspective. Yes, there’s more content. This was obvious from day zero. But the new weather effects, refined handling model, Livetrack 3.0, and even the built-in league functionality – things sim racers really do want to understand and learn more about – have been temporarily relegated to the level of marketing buzzwords in favor of a very mundane and excruciating mass-market approach, which sees non-drivers attempt to play a game they wouldn’t otherwise purchase for their home console setup after clocking out.

And as a result, dedicated sim racers, the crowd this franchise has been built for, funded by, and originally named after, have been left completely in the dark as to what they can expect this fall.

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89 thoughts on “A New Project CARS Game Warrants the Same Lackluster Mainstream Coverage

  1. SMS : Scientist Marketing Strategy. That’s all.
    Creating a Sequel while the 1st is unfinished is a NO GO for the products of this company. I call it : Planned obsolescence and it’s condemnable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I personally have put away my wheel for pCARS2. I’m using a pad exclusively and I’m insisting that we retain the dynamics of the car but allow the player to control such things as sharp front end turn in and on the apex and on-throttle balance with full throttle oversteer and opposite lock controllability (if that makes sense)… ”

    – Ian Bell

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  3. About the guys “who were not able to drive straight”: German YouTube simracing personality P1TV also played the game and he said that it was almost undrivable thanks to stupid controller settings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi James,

      greetings from Germany. Sadly the poster above straight up lied to us. P1TV, who is a trustworthy and competent sim racer, did not say such a thing at all. I watched P1TV’s PC2 videos and will paraphrase what P1TV said in his first look & impression video and wrote in the YouTube comment section of his videos:

      – They were only allowed to drive Mercedes cars in the preview. Seems to be a sponsor deal.
      – He tested PC2 mostly with a controller and he did a few laps with a Logitech G27 wheel.
      – Most of his driving was done at Fuji Speedway using the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
      – Traction control could not be turned off in the preview version.
      – Positive impressions of the physics which he called comprehensible and pretty realistic.
      – “Average” FFB when using the wheel.

      If you don’t believe me, just ask your friend Sev, he will confirm what I’ve written.

      Keep on doing what you’re doing, a site like PRC is much needed in the current simracing world.

      PS:
      I have no axe to grind regarding Project Cars. I am not a fan of PC1’s driving model and physics.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jokes on you for still believing Ian makes games for people like you. His target audience ever since Shift 1 has always been 12 years old kids on console that will buy any steaming turd, if it presents itself as a shiny piece of Belgian chocolate.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is just delusional.

    Hardcore simulations don’t sell. Shiny turds do. The video trailer has been reuploaded by all major wankers “journalists” over at IGN, Gamespot and the like as well as articles being pushed out by all the other wankers over at Eurogamer, Kotaku and so on, each video has more than 50.000 views, and there isn’t a single comment about some guy wondering if it’ll be good. Everything is “oh my God, these graphics are amazing”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ian was so confident that it had the best handling yet they have clearly crossed to the other side of the road here avoiding any meaningful analysis of it. 90% of sales was console on the last game, how many of those are more capable drivers that those guys in the videos? I wouldn’t say we are the core market.

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    1. “90% of sales was console on the last game”

      Your numbers are horribly wrong, but you’re right, >90% of people can’t drive competitively, even on PC.

      Like

  6. James you are such a Dick once again your continual barrage of shit you throw at KS
    Quote from your crap spewing mouth”Slightly Mad Studios have not begun waving their dicks around after acquiring certain licenses in an effort to temporarily distract their customers. We’ve seen before how that approach can only go so far with the trio of Porsche packs released by Kunos Simulazioni.”
    Can you not let bygones be bygones and move on? Particularly the altercation you cused in the first place because you did not get what you wanted and threw your dummy out the crib! Oh! I forgot you are still in a diaper, to catch all that shit you excrete. You have not learnt to hold your waste and and dump it in the correct and private place.

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  7. Why can so many people not get their head around the fact that SMS has a detailed marketing plan, that apparently even includes inviting PRC people to the event in Sweden. This initial reveal was meant to get the hype train going in the main stream press and troughout the year certain yt/sim personalities will most likely get their 1:1 with the new product. On top of that, Sev is a (very active) WMD member and the current state of the sim is without a doubt topic in PRC internal hangouts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is camber still broken? I feel Ian has invited incompetent drivers to hide the shitty driving and tire model, it’s a good marketing strategy though.

      Like

  8. Apparently the FFB is like the PC1 so no buy for me:
    “It will look good for sure. As for the FFB, not so hopeful. If it’s like Project Cars 1 ( and reports from beta players says it is), it can kiss ma…..”

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      1. ok, what I heard is hearsay so that’s encouraging what you have said, by ‘nothing like pC1’ I hope you are inferring it’s better

        Like

      1. Is the basically the same marketing tactics done by x-motor-racing guys, rfactor2, project cars. But LFS marketing is more trolling, although…

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  9. cant wait to see the foggy weather and fancy lightning i will also put my wheel aside and take a gamepad to….huuuh what?Fuckn stop doing promotional events at the edge of nowhere wasting money you need to develop the physics engine or to give Jan a proper Hair transplantation

    Like

  10. Pretty good article & I agree, I just don’t think PC2 is aiming for the PC SIM crowd any more, probably too much hassle, money is in console’s, footage it is seems from console playing pad users……

    Like

  11. There’s actually really good FFB hiding within pcars1, but it’s basically a mini-game of its own trying to figure it out. Took me nearly 2 years. I had long since given up, but I really wanted to drive that Alpine A442b, so I ended up stumbling onto a forum post that gave all the correct settings for my TM wheel.

    So – SMS can do it. It’s already there in PC1. In the RD interview, Ian Bell directly addressed the hyper-complexity of the PC1 FFB settings and seemed to take full ownership (now that the game is no longer being marketed!).

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    1. I don’t think it is, I think the FFB is broken in parts. It does some things really well, but then fails completely in other areas. Its usable but i wouldn’t say ‘reall good’ with some cars its completely broken. From what i here PC2 it is more complete.

      Like

  12. So how long until the next ‘René Rast’ video?

    From what I remember, WMD was more obsessed about him just ‘showing off’ the game, rather than asking for/sharing his feedback from it.

    At least there might’ve been an attempt for PRC feedback, that would be hilarious, shills losing their minds over it and all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was René not just an “ordinary” member in the original wmd, not handling consultant? IIRC he didn’t talk much on the forums.

      Like

      1. Not sure, but that’s just it, for all the craze over his triple-screen videos and ‘Le Mans practice’, I don’t recall him making much of an influence on the final product, other than boosting sales slightly if at all.

        I think Lewis Hamilton’s brother was involved to some degree too, but again, don’t recall it affecting much end-product wise.

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  13. Anyone expecting this game to be anything more than a refinement of the original is going to disappointed. It’s not a sim, and clearly isn’t trying to be. NFS Shift 4 is all we’re looking at here.

    And honestly it wouldn’t be such a terrible thing. I got some enjoyment from pCARS. The problem is they must stop claiming that it’s the most advanced simulation on the market and all that other nonsense Ian has spouted about these games.

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    1. Hello Assetto Corsa, how’s your brake temps?
      Words to look out for in project cars material “2-layer brake heating”
      Does exactly what it says on the tin.
      #ShillingIntensifies

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      1. TBH I prefer Assetto Corsa approach. If you can´t do it, don´t do it.

        In PCARS I´ve ran full race distances on the Formula Renault with temperatures over 1000cº on the straights and peaks of 1300cº in the heavy braking zones. Zero performance lost. Plus wear never comes into play anyway, anytime you need new tyres you pit and get free new brakes instantly.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. BE AWARE OF AUSTIN’S PROJECT CARS 2 SHILLING THIS YEAR! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…

    WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING FOR AUSTIN TO GET HIS HANDS ON THE GAME AND TO TELL US IT’S A FUN JACK OF ALL TRADES SIM AND THAT WE SHOULD IGNORE ITS SHORTCOMINGS.

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  15. James, I hope Project CARS shills get the treatment they deserve here. They’re the worst of the worst, selling their souls just to protect their measly double figure investment.

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    1. It appears he’s migrated to gtplanet, of all places. With the amount of ‘news’ covering the game on their homepage you’d think it was VirtualR or something.

      Literally every other link is to a post of his in the forums.

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  16. Austin, you shit on Kunos for doing these promotional events and now you’re telling us you considered accepting an invite for a Project CARS event. You’ve blown your cover!

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        1. First on-track experience I ever had was at the temporary Edmonton Indy course in late 2012 only a few weeks before they started knocking it down.

          That was followed by a summer of illegally street racing a couple of go-karts (and there’s a reason we haven’t uploaded the rotax kart footage).

          But yes, I’m scared of anything that isn’t an oval. Okay then.

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          1. I don’t blame you for not going. It’s just too big of a trip if you can’t get out of work and other obligations. Sev was the better guy to ask.

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      1. Yes you said that in the article. My point is you seem OK with these promotional events as long as you are invited or worse, you are turning a blind eye because it is SMS and not Kunos.

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      2. I think the reason you said no is because it would then be known that the guy that are cocky on his blog is a very different person in real life – a very shy guy that just nod when people talking to him.

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  17. Nice article James , very valid points .

    They really do need to let someone who can drive play this thing , I watched the above video yesterday with Hamilton and co and the guy driving is just bloody awful , drives like my 7 year old . My misses drives better than this bloke and she is in the hopeless category .

    The game looks great but we already new this , the weather looks nice and the cars are pretty , tracks are a plenty ” all things we know ” or new.

    As far as Ian putting away his wheel , that’s just fluff to make the console guys feel all warm and fuzzy after all the complaints last outing.

    I’m not going to say I’m not looking forward to what they can achieve because I am , I’m extremely interested in if the damage is going to be better implemented , tyre ware , racing rules , pit stops , all important things in real life racing and this is what I want to see in a video of what SMS can do.

    September /October / November / December what ever the release date is it will be a day one buy for me even after the debacle the first game was on ps4 , I see some talk about psvr and people getting excited “this isn’t going to happen” unless its one car doing hotlaps.

    I’m looking forward to hill climb stages / tracks , should be fun . I really do hope it surprises us at the end of the day .

    I completely understand the hate as Ian’s words / promises certainly didn’t count for much last outing .

    We will see soon enough if this ends up just another generic racing title like 99% I have on the shelf.

    Have a good day gentlemen .

    Like

    1. > I’m looking forward to hill climb stages / tracks , should be fun .
      > I really do hope it surprises us at the end of the day .

      Sadly there will be no hillclimb. 😦 To quote Ian Bell from GTPlanet’s forum:

      “Yes, we cut Touge and Hillclimb. They were part of the initial ‘vision’ but not the post ‘pre-production’ plans. They simply felt excessively niche and didn’t appeal to a large swathe of the potential punters. So they’re not on the radar at the moment. We’ve doubled down on the areas people enjoyed and added much more content there, in a big way.”

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    2. Honestly I don’t understand how this could be a day one buy for anyone who understands what a debacle the launch of the first game was. I’m willing to give SMS a second chance, but I’m not going in blind on day one. They have to prove they can launch a game that functions properly first.

      Like

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