Five crazy ways Project CARS changed from the initial pitch

Every once in a while, there’s a nugget of info landing in our email that really shows off how crazy game development can be. In today’s case, we received a link to a design document for Project CARS, one that was shown to WMD members in the early stages of development. Most games obviously go through a large amount of cuts from the brainstorming process to the time the game actually arrives on store shelves, so this isn’t really a knock on the game, but rather a showcase of how radically different the title was when it was first pitched to investors back in late 2011 and early 2012.

The full design document is 30 pages long and can be read here, but due to budget constraints we’re only going to show you the five most prevalent features removed from Project CARS during the game’s development. According to the file name, the document was uploaded in February of 2012, and I personally remember flipping through this when I dropped $35 CDN to get the second lowest level of WMD membership. From what I remember, this is the document that really got the initial investors hyped for the road ahead, and it’s really amazing to see how none of the premier features made it into the game – instead we received a buggy, shiny version of Race 07 when all was said and done.

Slide1#1 – No Wii U Release

Project CARS was only recently cancelled for the Wii U, but as far back as 2012, really when the project initially took off, Slightly Mad Studios were committed to developing a title for what is now Nintendo’s flagship console. As the system requirements for the game proved too much for the aging hardware, the game was promptly cancelled for the Xbox 360 & Playstation 3 as well, with the dev team opting to move on to bigger and better consoles – most notably the Xbox One and Playstation 4. However, they remained fully committed to Nintendo’s console even though reports from absolutely fucking everywhere that the console wasn’t powerful enough to support a game like Project CARS. Given that the Wii U release was announced so early into the game’s development, again, all the way back in February of 2012, Nintendo users have every right to be pissed off that the game was inevitably cancelled for the system in mid 2015.

Slide 2#2 – Neutered Career Mode and Missing Disciplines

I don’t think anything from the slide above made it into the final game, aside from “getting scouted for a pro team”. There’s no car purchasing, there’s no creating your own team or liveries, there aren’t any track days, and there aren’t any sponsor endorsements as you’d see in a game like Race Driver GRID, where you have total control of the exact contingency decals you run. The full game shipped with a career mode where nothing needed to be unlocked or purchased, and you could start in whatever series you wanted. While you could indeed be recruited for different teams in different series, you couldn’t even pick your own car number and have it reflected on the car you’re driving. In short, Career Mode doesn’t look anything like the above pitch. And what happened to, Drift, Rally & IndyCar racing?

Oh wait, some racing disciplines were removed and added as a new feature for Project CARS 2.

Team management#3 – No Team Management

Online competitions were to be one of the strong selling points of Project CARS, allowing you to start your own virtual race team with your friends, all within the game. Nothing from the above capture made it into the game. You couldn’t create a team, third party livery support is sub-par compared to other racing sims, and obviously not being able to create a team means there’s no recruitment, stat tracking, sharing setups, or tournaments. In fact, all of these features are now “visions” for Project CARS 2:

pcars2They are definitely graduates of the Electronic Arts School of Marketing, that’s for sure…

marketplace#4 – No Community Marketplace

It looks like Slightly Mad Studios were hoping to implement a marketplace to rival the storefront seen in the Forza series, with the added catch that everything you create would be sold for real money instead of contributing to the in-game economy. Again, this is nowhere to be found in the retail release of Project CARS, and it remains to be seen how the masses would have reacted to this.

monetization#5 – Hardcore Microtransactions

The price of DLC got cut in half by the time the game landed on store shelves in the spring of 2015, but even in early 2012 when the title was just starting to get off the ground and people were messing around with the early builds, there were plans to nickel and dime the consumer far beyond other games already on the market – including plans for a virtual currency to go along with the marketplace mentioned above. We’re looking at a title that would have been sold for $60, and designed specifically in a way for the cost to double or even triple with in-game purchases. Thankfully, this approach was removed entirely, and although there are definitely a plethora of DLC packs already available for Project CARS, they are all priced to be affordable for the majority of users.

brandingI think it’s crazy to flip through this PDF file and see all of the features that failed to make it into the game. Again, this is a document that really got people hyped for the title’s release, and caused some to spend several hundred dollars on toolkits to help the title achieve all relevant financial goals during the WMD phase. To see so little of the initial pitch make it in… Damn.

Project CARS Cancelled on Wii U after months of “it feels amazing on the Wii U”

NintendoLife dropped news on us today that we all knew was coming at some point – Project CARS has been cancelled on the Wii U.

lelThe Wii U is a gimmick console and hasn’t been taken seriously since launch, so again, I’m really not surprised. It’s a console meant to capitalize on the popularity of tablets overrunning the casual gaming market with bogus titles like Angry Birds, so you sort of knew that even with Nintendo behind it, there is only so much a gimmick can do when it comes to running software on the hardcore end of the spectrum.

But the biggest problem I have with this news is the way how Slightly Mad Studios have handled the Wii U “launch” since the initial announcement.

First, the Wii U was “more than capable” of running Project CARS:

liesAnd then it got delayed:

Wiiu3Then, it was “it feels amazing and runs in 720p at 30fps”:

30fpsA few months later, it struggled to hit 720p/30FPS:

23fpsThen came the famous “we really dislike Nintendo users” comment within the WMD forums:


And now the game has been cancelled on the Wii U:

errorsThis is absolutely amazing for all the wrong reasons. Even the most brain dead idiots knew the Wii U was underpowered at launch and served to be a gimmick console for the younger crowd of gamers looking for the next Mario or Zelda title. Why you’d spend months years hyping up the title, only to continuously backpedal and then outright say you “dislike Nintendo users” before cancelling the game, is beyond me.

Was it really so hard to come out in 2013 and say “we’d like to have it on the Wii U as well because there are a lot of diehard racing sim fans over there, but we know there will be challenges?” And then once you get the title in a playable state that consumers will be happy with, formally announce it? Cause all this backpedaling does makes us look credible and totally not insane as SMS leads others to believe:


Crashing to Desktop and Unexplainable DNF’s highlight the Project CARS 2.5 Patch

While Xbox One and Playstation 4 owners have just received Patch 2.0 for Project CARS, with Xbox One owners late to the party due to a hiccup in Microsoft’s certification process, PC owners are already on Patch 2.5, which has brought a whole new roster of bugs for Slightly Mad Studios to fix, some of which prevent users from even playing the game.

Project CARS forum user zielinski1 describes an issue where grass has totally overrun the entire track, obviously not ideal for his driving experience:

attachment.phpAnother user, with the creative name of MetheadMan, writes that he was disqualified from a race just for finishing with barely any fuel in the tank.fuel1Other forum users try to claim that real racing series disqualify you if you cannot complete the cooldown lap, although this is incredibly false. In the most prominent example, NASCAR drivers are notorious for running out of gas during victory burnouts due to how many races come down to fuel mileage tactics, and several have run out of gas on the final lap. No drivers are ever penalized for running out of fuel on the final lap, or after crossing the finish line in North America’s biggest auto racing series, and this does not magically change when it comes to European road racing. This is simply damage control for a broken game mechanic, and throws a curveball into long races where fuel mileage comes into play, as there is no way to properly figure out how much fuel the AI needs to complete the cool down lap.

fuel2But the biggest issue brought to light with the newest version 2.5 patch is the inexplicable crashing that seems to have plauged a huge amount of people playing Project CARS on PC – over 100 pages and 1000 posts have been made in a topic dedicated to an Unhandled Exception Trapped error. This thread was originally started back when the game was first released, and although previous patches seemed to rectify the issue for the time being, it has now returned with the latest patch, and an entirely new thread has been created to sort out the new cases of the crippling error:

uhe2222It seems that even though the WMD portion of the program has ended, users are still being asked to troubleshoot and hunt for bugs long after the game’s landed on store shelves, instead of playing and enjoying the game.

EDIT: Forum user OctoberDusk06 writes that online pitstops are now fundamentally broken.


We played the beta of Project CARS 2 so you didn’t have to

The copious amounts of advertising money we receive from the various ads plastered all over the site means there comes a point where we at the HQ grow tired of orgies with the finest escorts available in North America and occasionally have to spend some of that cash on the latest and greatest video games. After it looks as if we’ve been trolled by a pCars video masquerading as pCars 2, ad revenue we’d put aside for Chris to spend on Ultimate Team packs in FIFA 15 has now been prematurely blown on the Bronze membership to Project CARS 2 to get our own impressions of the sequel to the bug-ridden racing sim released earlier this summer.ayy50 GBP translated into roughly $105 Canadian, and this approach was taken by Slightly Mad Studios to ensure a lack of trolls on the WMD forums. Personally, I do not understand what they’re trying to accomplish here, as one of the main marketing points of the original pCars was the fact that 30,000 80,000 people contributed to the development of the game, and now for the sequel, suddenly a huge amount of people helping out with the game and contributing funds is seen as a “bad thing”, and access must be restricted to an elite group of people. Man what?


Anyways, once you sign up for the forums (I had to use my real name, they’re gonna find me right away), you’re given an option of the many toolkits available, and after a few easy hoops to jump through, you end up torrenting a 1.2 GB copy of Project CARS 2. There appears to be no NDA restricting what you can and can’t say about the game away from the WMD forums – it is the same basic advisory screen that consists of “don’t be a cunt and show the game bugging out”, followed by links to a few other threads that also say “please don’t be a cunt because the last WMD period was a disaster with all the trolls.” Keep in mind, the trolls they refer to are kids who pointed out bugs and silenced by moderators unable to take criticism.

While the game was downloading, I clicked around the forums. As commenters on here and Reddit have described, it’s essentially an echo chamber, the game’s own users blind to their blatant hypocrisy. In one post, a user slams Reiza studios for their upcoming unlicensed V8 Supercars, blissfully ignorant of the fact that Project CARS shipped with unlicensed prototypes:

Untitled-3They also haven’t been too kind to us, believing us to be insane and delusional for simply linking to videos of the game bugging the fuck out and drawing attention to important figures picking fights with random users who dare to criticize the quality of the game:


Chris: I guess someone forgot to tell Ian that the Brazilian bunch actually have a working game with above average physics based off 10+ year old rFactor. The only thing they copied was the crowd funding idea that he didn’t invent but the internet did several years back with gofundme, kickstarter and steam green lighting.

The first major problem I ran into during installation, and I wouldn’t call it much of a problem, just something that’s going to make many people laugh, was a little box that popped up in the initial phase of getting the game onto my PC. Upon trying to install the beta for pCars 2, the installer asked if I wanted to get rid of pCars 2 as it was already detected on my system. I never previously owned pCars 2. I had a shitty repacked torrented version of pCars Version 1.3 that I blew away a few weeks ago and some files were still left over, but not pCars 2.

For a game that is supposed to be a technological leap forward and won’t be landing on store shelves for 2-3 years, the base components of the new game are so strikingly similar to the old game, it genuinely believes a few loose files from a shitty outdated repacked torrented copy of pCars is actually a beta version of pCars 2. This is raw confirmation of a cash grab.

PreviousAnyways, you boot the game up, and the menu is the exact same as the original pCars, but with a white background to give it the beta look. It’s the same UI as Project CARS all throughout, hopefully won’t be used for the final product, and in a shocking twist of events, it imported all my old display configuration settings from the original game. A quick trip to the controller menu to assign all the proper buttons on my controller and I was ready to go.

pCARS2Gld 2015-07-18 08-15-30-80You get Mugello, Sachsenring, Sampala (ice racing track), Wildcrest (rallycross), and a Surface Test Track to screw around on. The game comes with three cars, all given unlicensed generic names such as SMS FWD, SMS 4WD and SMS RWD Buggy. Away from licensing issues, it’s a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 (I think, someone please help), an Ariel Atom, and a Ford Focus RS.

I don’t like any of these cars.

pCARS2Gld 2015-07-18 08-09-38-62The first track I tried was Sampala, an ice racing track located in Canada. Even with the bare minimum details, it looks gorgeous. That’s it for the positives.

As for the negatives, there was no option to pick winter tires or even off road tires for the Mitsubishi Lancer. I was left with a few unlicensed track day brands that didn’t indicate I’d been given a proper tire compound for the icy surface. Even crazier, while running laps, it felt like the behavior of these tires had been fudged so the game wasn’t a complete clusterfuck on snow. I was driving on tires clearly meant for asphalt racing, and the game appeared stuck in a weird state between “why did you select this tire compound” and “we have magically adjusted grip levels on this compound because we don’t know how to properly model snow tires.” I could never fully predict what the car was doing at any given time, because the physics and tire model were so lackluster. It was very reminiscent of early Assetto Corsa rally tracks where track grip levels had been adjusted to simulate loose surfaces. Whether the adjustments were made within the tire behavior, or surface properties, I’m not sure, and I don’t really care. All I could think was “this is bad and I don’t want to play it anymore.”

I live in Canada. Myself and 38,000,000 other people have to drive to work in the conditions above for eight months out of the year. If this was how our cars behaved in real life, going to the 7Eleven for Milk would be an extreme sport, and there would be 250+ truck pileups on the highway when all the cocaine addicts went back up north to work in the oil fields. We seem to be doing alright, so I don’t understand why driving off-road is portrayed in such a bizarre way within this sim.

Yanking the handbrake as I would in DiRT Rally, a title that is basically the number one rally sim on the market, caused me to violently spin out. Once I got the hang of how lightly I had to tug on the e-brake, I couldn’t carry a drift to save my life. It was really bad.

pCARS2Gld 2015-07-18 08-20-28-95Heading out to Wildcrest yielded similar results despite a total change in the environment. Wildcrest appears to be a fictional Italian rallycross circuit despite the totally not Italian name, and is probably the worst track layout I’ve ever driven on in any racing sim. The track is a 50/50 mix of dirt and asphalt, with unnecessary chicanes and giant rumble stribs that only exist to frustrate you. This track would be a total nightmare online. It doesn’t flow well at all, the car handles just as bad on dirt as it does on ice, you get massive air off the rumble strips (which will cause several people to roll and clog up the track with wrecks), and there’s a jump three times the size of your car on the final straight that sends you flying right off the track if you’re not careful, which can be seen in the distance here:

pCARS2Gld 2015-07-18 08-13-36-68There are still problems with the HUD not saving your configuration settings. At random, the game would enable mouse look, completely screwing up my cockpit view to the point where I’d have to exit the game. A few instances, it failed to save my FFB adjustments in the options menu. Little shit like that, stuff that should have been eradicated in the first game which is already on store shelves, hasn’t been eradicated in the beta for the second game.

Meanwhile, games like Assetto Corsa launched with a near perfect driving model in their own tech preview that featured one car and one track. Like, the more I dicked around in the pCars 2 beta, the more I kept finding shit where it’s just like “why?”

pCARS2Gld 2015-07-18 08-11-04-18It’s a cash grab. The game looks the same, drives about the same, and even thinks leftover files from pCars 1 are in fact from the pCars 2 beta, meaning nothing has been changed under the hood. It has the same annoying bugs (and a few new ones), the same free cam controls, and the same canned FFB effects as the original game release two months ago. People will scream IT’S PRE-ALPHA, but the difference here is that there’s already a complete game to build upon.

So I’m not sure what SMS are trying to accomplish here. It’s not devious enough, nor does it cross enough lines to be labeled a scam, but it definitely doesn’t warrant the praise the endeavour receives from certain publications.

Someone from SMS will probably get booty blasted enough to find my account, ban me, and give me a full refund because they’re legally required to do so, meaning I effectively got to try pCars 2 for free and report back to all readers of

We’ll get our money back, but a lot of people won’t.

Did Patch 2.0 Break Project CARS Even Further?

I think this might be the nail in the coffin. Project CARS forum user odytsak has uploaded a video to the game’s official forums displaying the AI in a state of utter despair, all parked on the side of the track as if a nuclear bomb has gone off and the field of drivers are desperately dialing their loved ones to plan for a post-apocalyptic lifestyle.

Duck and cover.

Project CARS shipped in a less than stellar state after an insurmountable hype train that turned a portion of the sim racing community into viral marketers. The Version 2.0 patch promised to fix major issues with the title although it seems like that effort is becoming increasingly futile. The thread dedicated to known issues with the PS4 version of the game features a list of over 100 developer-acknowledged problems, with just under 100 to add, and in eight weeks, only two of them have been fixed.  The thread dedicated to known issues with the Xbox One version of the game includes 68 developer-acknowleged problems, with around 100 to add, and only five of them have been fixed since the title’s launch. Slightly Mad Studios have become notorious for their way of handling crippling issues, chalking them up as customer preferences.

pref4Forum user Fanatest summarizes the debacle quite nicely in a lengthy forum post, drawing attention to the sad attempts at damage control where developers and figureheads blame the customer, trolls, or even haters for faults in the product than acknowledging issues displayed in the video above that clearly indicate a broken video game. I’ve chopped up his post and gotten to the important bits here:

111Threads drawing attention to the quality of the game are popping up left and right, most notably a thread started by AOD_Danneskjold, a member of Clan AOD, one of the biggest online racing leagues using Project CARS. He writes:

DannWhat’s even more disturbing is that shipping an unfinished, broken game appears to have become a trend within the industry as of late. While mainstream reviews praise these games to the point where they are obviously nothing more than third party marketers, customers are left with titles in such a dismal state that they’re being pulled from the shelves and several leaps backwards compared to previous games in the series. Driving game fans wanting an alternative to Project CARS have been treated to an equally unfinished, buggy mess in F1 2015.

1436645346627We’re at the point where it might be easier to just torrent Shift 2 Unleashed and turn it into Gran Turismo for your serious-but-not-too-serious racing fix.