We Called It – Assetto Corsa announced for PS4 and Xbox One

On Monday, we ran a rumor that Assetto Corsa would possibly be announced for the Sony PlayStation 4 at E3 this year, based solely on one developer’s tweet where he mentioned he’d be in Los Angeles right around the time E3 was taking place. We also included a picture of a stack of PS4 dev kits sitting inside the Kunos office, as well as Giovanni Romagnoli’s linkedin account where he mentioned that he had played an integral role in converting Assetto Corsa’s graphics engine so the game could run on PS4 hardware.

This was the reaction the article received on other sites where it was linked:

called it“Ridiculous,” says one user. No reason to start working out the most crazy theories,” says another user. “That’s PretendRaceCars for you, they love to exaggerate everything” and “That’s a ridiculous thing to draw out of one tweet” say two longtime haters.

Eat your words, gentlemen:


I don’t think it’s the right call. Assetto Corsa is an incredible driving simulator, but there are virtually no game elements to it. Console players were underwhelmed by Project CARS once the bugs were mostly worked out, and that’s a game that has a full, working career mode, proper online functionality, as well as a whole host of things that Assetto Corsa doesn’t have, like night racing, rain, and the ability to select your livery in multiplayer. PC driving game enthusiasts are able to look past the shortcomings of AC because the physics are just so damn good, justifying the expensive toy steering wheels and hardware upgrades, but console gamers won’t because they are an entirely separate audience who collectively want something totally different. They want a game to compliment the killer driving physics, and AC neither offers that currently nor plans to in the future.

The bottom line is that if you have a desire to play no-nonsense, hardcore racing sims, chances are you already own a PC and Assetto Corsa. I can’t see it doing well critically because there’s not much to keep people playing past the initial “oh wow, this game has really good physics” period, , I can’t imagine it’ll be very popular online either.

Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how the small Kunos team balances a project of this magnitude.

Payware Mods – For Better or Worse, it’s the Future

A while back, we ran an article on how there was a race to turn sim racing into Flight Simulator with a slew of payware mods. James is completely right with his take on the absolute insanity  of payware mods for Flight Simulator. A quick google search landed me on a webpage offering a Mod Boeing 747-8 for $26.68.

but at $26.68, some people may be able to simulate what would happen if it did. 

Now I don’t know about you, but $25 could feed a family of five, and it did tonight. My family cooked up some flat iron steaks with green peppers and some white rice with butter and cheese. This might seem hypocritical because I have defended $10 DLC packs, and later in this article I will defend a series of payware mods released by an Assetto Corsa user. However, $25+ for a single airplane is an enormous amount of money to be sent to basically fly in a straight line for a few hours simulating a trip from New York to Orlando.

On the other hand, I found guy who is offering up some highly sought after sim cars for $6 a piece. I asked him if he was interested in being linked directly and or reviewed, and he declined. He is concerned about the legal ramifications of his payware mods, and for good reason: The cars he is replicating have been the subject of legal debate before. I will not refer to the cars by name but you can probably take a guess, or find the webpage yourself.

The email and process of getting to pay for the mods is something that makes you feel like you are doing something way more shady than playing video games in your boxers.

Accessing the cars is very similar to the mystique surrounding the actual brand itself. You have to give the modder a whole slew of information about how you sim race and your views on several different aspects of sim racing, including your views on sharing payware mods. After this process, the man is still rather suspicious of your intents. I am not sure if it is because he cannot speak English very well and doesn’t understand some of the simple vernacular associated with American English.

This man does put a great deal of work in to the physics and his model (no, they aren’t ripped from Forza and he does it in a way that’s pretty crafty but we can’t disclose that). Just watching some videos on his work, I was itching to get my hands on it and give it a try. When I was finally approved to buy his cars, I dropped them in to my Assetto Corsa folder and got myself on the Nurburgring.

First impressions? Wow.

This wasn’t your run of the mill mod, this was about as close to what I was expecting the car to feel like as you could get. Numerous articles and Chris Harris videos described what I was feeling from the two cars this car was portraying. Each one uniquely different and accurate to their real life counterparts. For $12 I had myself another addition to my sim racing heaven also known as my Assetto Corsa folder. I do wonder if this goodness can be attributed to the underlying physics and tire model that Kunos gives modders to work with.

Am I making an endorsement for all payware mods? No. URD makes some fantastic mods and my nameless friends do too, but this is certainly not the case for everything. Most Assetto Corsa users are aware of the Russian guys ripping Forza cars slapping Kunos physics in them and selling them for like $10. This is not acceptable, nor should it be.

Mods take a lot of time and work to create for the individual or team behind them. Traditionally it has been a work of passion, however reality sets in more often than not and they seek payment for their labor. From what I have been told, modders with a donate button in their profiles maybe can make $100 in an entire year. Does this mean we should be sitting here ready to throw $26.68 at modders for a single car? I don’t think so but something in the $2-6 dollar range as a “suggested donation” would be a good deal for modders.

Modding in general is a legal issue. Many modders would rather not get involved in the added notoriety of having a payware mod and choose to release their cars for free. Free mods under fair use laws are the subject of many internet debates, it is not clear how this works as I am not a lawyer nor is your average sim racer. Free mods have been the targets of corporate lawyers too, Ferrari shut down a free to play browser game several years back. There is no telling how a far a corporate lawyer looking to justify his job will go when it comes to mods.

It’s just a coincidence that the Arthur Merlin looks like the car James Bond is notorious for driving.

I know my opinion is a little bit different than what most people have, Steam recently had a ton of backlash for their payware mod system. I hope that we see a nice healthy mix of pay/donation mods, and free mods. Mods have the ability to not only extend the life of our sims, but give exposure to car manufacturers that in my opinion is free and easy. Certain brands and models are not represented properly in sim racing for a variety of reasons, but there are passionate fans who support those auto makers and would love to live out their fantasy and pretend they are driving a car they might not be able to do otherwise.

How Kunos could put Assetto Corsa on the PS4 and be successful

My creative side got the best of me tonight, and with our own rumors fueling my imagination, I got to thinking, how in the world could Assetto Corsa be successful on the Playstation 4? Despite hands-down the best overall driving physics ever seen in a consumer simulation, Assetto Corsa on PC still has its flaws. The game’s AI needs work, online modes and functionality are nowhere close to what’s seen in gMotor-based simulations (and what we’ve come to expect from racing sims in 2015), and bugs within the software itself are still being ironed out as we speak. Kunos, I love what you’ve given us so far, but there’s still a long road ahead.

And with the disastrous launch of Project CARS, one marred by bugs, glitches, and bad game design choices, the door is wide open for a game like Assetto Corsa to steal the thunder away from Slightly Mad Studios and drop a fantastic racing sim on the masses.  The problem is, with the game still having unfinished elements on PC, and Project CARS players already becoming bored with a fully-featured career mode and online format, how in the world do you make the best with what Assetto Corsa currently has to offer? You can’t just drop a bare-bones hardcore racing simulation on console gamers, it doesn’t end well. Race Pro and Project CARS already proved that straight PC ports of racing sims don’t translate very well into the console environment.

So here’s what I’m thinking…

9254807732_8884b77933_oYou sell it as a digital download on the PS4 marketplace for $24.99. This price undercuts every major competitor on the market, from R3E and its expansions on the PC, to Project CARS and Driveclub on the PS4. This approach worked for 2K Sports when competing with the historic Madden NFL franchise a decade ago. People will automatically be interested in Assetto Corsa just on the price tag alone – they want a racing game, they’ve heard good things about it on the PC, and what’s this, it’s twenty five dollars? Why even bother paying attention to Project CARS and the never-ending list of patches, Driveclub with its abundance of DLC packs, or Need for Speed Rivals when a new NFS game is on the way?

acs 2014-05-18 22-43-59-36You totally ignore the singleplayer part of the game and focus on Multiplayer. Look guys, the PS4 audience is a different crowd, and the AI still needs work. Leave the AI out of this altogether. The PS4 audience want to play all their games with friends, in a way that’s quick and easy to set up. You know Gran Turismo 7 will have a robust single player experience, and you know that currently, no racing game exists for the PS4 that offers any sort of competent hardcore online racing. Assetto Corsa shines on the track, so let it shine on the track.

To focus on Multiplayer, it’s time to implement playlists and matchmaking.

img_50905c0c97a7fAbove is something that console gamers have gotten used to over the years; the playlist selection screen from Call of Duty.

My ideal version of AC on the PS4 would obviously feature a test track with all available cars and tracks for practicing at will, but the bulk of the game would revolve around CoD-like playlists. While I admit that all racing games need custom lobbies, Project CARS proved that very few people on consoles actually do a competent job of hosting their own sessions, and everyone who is serious about sim racing and wants to host their own session already owns Assetto Corsa on the PC so this would be a design decision largely aimed at console players. A different crowd means a different approach.

Playlists would be separated into three distinct groups; Street, Open Wheel, and GT. Upon booting up the game for the first time, only the Supercar, Amateur Open Wheel, and BMW M235i Cup playlists would be available. All three would feature a pre-game lobby, followed by a ten minute qualifying session, and a ten minute race. As you progress up through the different playlists, the races would become longer and the top playlists (such as Track Day Special, Modern GP, and GT3) would include a mandatory pit stop and accelerated fuel/tire wear. The next level of playlist would be unlocked after achieving five top-three finishes in the current playlist. This extremely simple method of ranking up, plus capping the field size at 16, would keep the carnage down and you would know once you’ve unlocked a playlist or two that you’re among clean, respectful drivers.

ProgressionObviously not all cars are included in the above list, and that’s because there are some cars that just aren’t interesting enough to drive in a competitive setting. I am sure nobody is going to cry if the Fiat 500 is not in the PS4 version of AC. As cars get added to the PC version of AC, and the roster is fleshed out with multiple cars in a competitive class, updates to the PS4 version could include a handful of new cars at a time, with a new playlist or two. This would allow Kunos to work out all the bugs first with hardcore racers on the PC giving feedback, before putting the new cars into the console game.

It’s a very simple concept, a $25 racing sim that plays to its strengths. Would it work? I think so.

What’s Stefano from Kunos doing in Los Angeles?

asdasdasdasdA cryptic tweet today as Stefano Casillo from Kunos Simulazioni reveals he’ll be traveling to Los Angeles shortly. While on the outset this trip may seem insignificant, E3, the world’s largest consumer video game expo, will take place in the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 16th to June 18th. I’m unsure how Kunos would participate in this year’s convention directly – Assetto Corsa has already been released to PC driving game fans worldwide via Steam, and the team is hard at work building new cars, tracks, and updates to support the game well into the future.

One theory I have is that the game may be formally announced and even demonstrated for the Sony PlayStation 4, but so far there is almost zero talk of a console release on the official forums, aside from rumblings we’ve already reported on, findings that don’t indicate any serious work has been done on bringing the popular racing sim to Sony’s new console other than a “proof of concept” experiment.

nqhSSOz10258223_10202046649641751_7530986638163255551_oI also struggle to comprehend how Assetto Corsa would look on the PS4, as the game is geared towards sim racers and sim racers only. There is no fancy career mode or “game element” like in Project CARS and the Gran Turismo series, things that are pretty much required in a console title at this point.

Another theory I have is that the game will be used to demonstrate the new Logitech G29 toy steering wheel.


Regardless, Assetto Corsa fans should start getting excited for E3 2015 because these guys don’t just fly halfway around the world for no reason.

netKar Pro Goes Freeware

According to Stefano Casillo, netKar Pro will become freeware as Kunos will be ending official support for the title later this year.

What this means in terms of whether people will be able to look into the source code; the potential for third party mods and user supported multiplayer is yet to be seen. However, if you’re interested in trying out a decent sim that has above average physics and a tire model that is a close match to Assetto Corsa, now is your chance.