Though there haven’t been many clear or even partial indicators regarding the future of Kunos Simulazioni and their beloved homegrown simulator Assetto Corsa – aside from the controversial acquisition by Digital Bros. – recent job postings have hinted that at the very least, Kunos are planning to stick around for more than just a string of downloadable content packs. Posted just a few short days ago to the official Assetto Corsa forum, is a link to a handful of programming positions that have recently became available within the company, implying Kunos will be looking to at least partially expand Assetto Corsa over the coming months, if not outright work on a sequel altogether.
The job openings come at a very pivotal time, especially for Assetto Corsa supporters, as the game itself is in a bit of a crossroads right now. No longer the quirky early access racing simulator with a lot of potential we once knew it as, Assetto Corsa is now a veteran of the sim racing scene, yet hasn’t exploded in popularity as the original rFactor did many years ago – a game released with similar goals for the software in mind.
The modding community is good – not great – those interested in online racing are still split between numerous traditional leagues and the excellent SimRacingSystem app (meaning online participation isn’t totally centralized for online racing in Assetto Corsa to take off), and as a whole certain elements – such as the objectively brutal user interface – still feel as if they were tacked on at the last moment, to be substantially improved upon at a future date. While new content is nice, especially with the overall feel conveyed by the tenth iteration of the game’s tire model, it’s certainly time for the rest of the game to receive the same tender, love, and care as the cars always do. Hopefully, the new openings will allow Kunos to apply that level of polish to the areas of the package that need it the most.
My first guess, is that the team are looking to somehow integrate SimRacingSystem – or their own unique equivalent – into the vanilla Assetto Corsa experience. The Portuguese third-party application has been a life-saver for Assetto Corsa’s online scene, providing a structured experience that’s identical to iRacing within a significantly more realistic driving model, and I have no problem saying it’s partially responsible for the game’s long-term appeal in 2017, especially considering the simulator is quite stale otherwise. Kunos building their own counterpart to SimRacingSystem would turn the game into a valid alternative to iRacing almost overnight, drawing in hundreds if not thousands of players to the PC variant of the game. Strategically offering several online championships making use of DLC cars would also help Kunos generate a steady stream of revenue, to extend the lifespan of Assetto Corsa 2 if a sequel is not on the board, as the new content could be used almost as a mock “entry fee” for newer championship rotations. I’m not saying I’d agree with an influx of DLC, but if you want these guys to survive solely off of transactions relating to the game currently on the market, that’s the way to do it.
My second guess, is that Kunos Simulazioni are in the early planning stages of creating Assetto Corsa: The Second, and the first order of business is obviously to expand the roster of staff members. However, in my opinion this is a bit of a stretch estimation, as the first game was quite the ordeal for Kunos Simulazioni, with tales of mortgaging homes and extremely high stress levels surrounding the development of the game – and I just can’t see these guys wanting to go through that again unless a third party offers the resources to do so. With the console renditions of Assetto Corsa not doing particularly well among both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners, I also couldn’t see Kunos beginning work on a PC-only sequel when it’s hard to imagine what a sequel would actually look like. More cars? More tracks? Why would that justify an entirely new game when they can just add to the current one?
My third, and most prolific guess, is that coding whiz Stefano Casillo is planning to step away from the sim racing industry altogether, and this act is merely to find a partial replacement crew. It’s no secret across sim racing message boards far and wide that while Casillo is a literal genius, and his work is a large part of why Assetto Corsa blew us all away when it first arrived on the scene, but the guy just can’t handle the community element that plays an integral role with the day-to-day shenanigans taking place among this industry. It is entirely possible that this is all a build-up to Stefano announcing his departure from Kunos Simulazioni, but that’s not something we’ll know until that piece of news has been published on much more prolific websites than ours.
Regardless, if you have the proper credentials and would like to work for a prominent figure in the sim racing ecosystem, Kunos Simulazioni are hiring.