Those who purchased the console version of Assetto Corsa for either the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One knew this was coming at some point, but finally seeing it manifest itself in a Facebook status update is surely the aspect of it all that’ll sting the most. Kunos Simulazioni spent several weeks, maybe even months, implying the long-awaited implementation of private lobbies would be arriving in the forthcoming update for Assetto Corsa, but as you can probably infer from the screenshot above, the release of that update has now been pushed back an undisclosed amount of time.
Shipping with a comparatively minimal amount of features and functionality when pitted against other current generation racers, Assetto Corsa was deemed to be an extreme disappointment by the majority of those who purchased it, yet the hardcore sim enthusiasts pledged their allegiance to Kunos Simulazioni in the hopes that one day, the console iteration of the popular racing simulator would offer the same type of overall experience found in the original PC counterpart. Though consoles typically aren’t the ideal platform for serious organized multiplayer league races, games like the Codemasters’ F1 series, Gran Turismo, and Forza Motorsport have proved that an equally dedicated group of sim racers call these platforms home, and were hoping to use the figurative playing fields of Assetto Corsa for future online racing seasons
Unfortunately, their patience and good-will continues to be put to the test, with no clear reward in sight – only to be hounded by fellow forum for not exercising even more patience. As a sim racing developer who rose to prominence through the 2014 calendar year by building an indie racing sim that skyrocketed in popularity thanks to a wave of over-zealous fanboys helping to perpetuate their eternal science project, Kunos were warned quite aggressively by third parties who could see the game for what it is that the console crowd would simply not stand for some of their more questionable development choices; ones that prioritized a steady stream of downloadable content over implementing functionality seen in games from previous console generations. This talk was at one point deemed libelous, and the individuals responsible for the controversial postings as “notorious trolls” who “irrationally hated” Kunos, but at this point it’s pretty hard not to call these predictions anything but brutally accurate; with Kunos continuing to fumble console updates and provide no tangible timeline as to when console owners can expect to have a game that resembles the vastly superior PC version, the company’s reputation has taken a pretty severe beating.
All kinds of colorful rumors have tried to explain the botched console release and subsequent shoddiness, from Kunos staff members not being entirely on-board with the console release from the get-go, or a rival coder supposedly hired to produce the work output from Stefano Casillo (and reduce the message board hostility), but unfortunately we’ve never gotten a clear explanation that accurately conveys why the same company held in such high regard by a number of sim racers could put out a woefully inadequate counterpart on another platform.
These delusions of grandeur also appear to stretch to the development team themselves, as Kunos staff members can be seen appearing at Codemotion Rome 2017 to discuss the process of preparing Assetto Corsa for current generation consoles as if the game was an excellent example of how to successfully accomplish this task, when in reality the team are consistently botching or outright delaying essential updates the community have patiently waited months for – not to mention the horrendous launch which saw both consoles unable to run the game smoothly for several weeks. It’s hard not to label what’s going on in Italy as a virtual cult of personality, as it seems there’s a pretty big detachment from how Assetto Corsa community members feel about the title and key developers, versus what’s actually happening from a basic consumer standpoint. Facebook “fans” have loaded the offical Assetto Corsa page with praise, thanking Kunos for the vague news on what in layman’s terms is an extremely shitty delay, but those who don’t need internet brownie points from fellow sim racers know you certainly can’t keep sitting around waiting for a product you bought eight months ago to add rudimentary features it should have had at launch.
It’s really just a bit old fashioned mess at this point, and in hindsight I’ve often wondered why Kunos even bothered to conceive a console variant of their simulator in the first place. The team weren’t exactly known for their strict development schedule even in the PC version’s Early Access phase, and before the game achieved 1.0 status was already being blasted by mainstream sim outlets for a lack of functionality. I have no idea why a company would intentionally and knowingly bite off far more than they could chew, especially with such a large chance that it would backfire and expose their incompetent traits on a significantly larger platform. Yes, we all know the answer to the question is “money” – plain and simple – but in the long run, is it really worth shitting a severely hampered version of your PC sim out into the wild for a few million?
The answer, quite simply, is no. Even if Assetto Corsa 2 is on the cards, every single potential customer is going to remember how it took eight months and counting just to add private lobbies to the game, and instead of purchasing the game out of curiosity like they did for the first title, they’re going to outright avoid it – especially with stuff like Gran Turismo Sport, Forza Motorsport 7, and DiRT 4 on the market offering a significantly more comprehensive overall package.
I’m under the impression that this delayed update is part of larger problem; the ship is sinking, and we’re merely starting to see the first cracks – though the losers who support Assetto Corsa like a rogue religion will only continue to demand more patience, and like Scientology, encourage you to contribute… er… support Kunos by buying both present & future DLC packs. My question is, when do these blind apologists also give up hope? Kunos sold an abhorrent game on consoles, and eight months later, it’s really not that much better aside from minor FPS improvements. When is reality going to set in that it’s just not working out, and they’re kind of a shitty company for putting out such a half-baked game when compared to the other products on the market?