Good news, bad news: Codemasters to make 2009 F1 video game

Formula One 2006 PS2

Formula 1 will finally get a new video game title in 2009, three years since the last official F1 game made by Sony. Formula One Management were reported to be demanding up to $200m for the rights.

First, the good news: the game won’t be exclusive to a single machine, and is expected to be available for ‘major home consoles’ (presumably PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii), PC and other formats. This is very important and I’m sure Codemasters’ expertise in producing cross-format titles helped them win the contract over the likes of Sony.

But the news isn’t all good I’m afraid.

The game will apparently be based on Codemasters’ EGO Engine software which powers Colin McRae: DIRT and the Race Driver series including the forthcoming title “Race Driver: GRID”.

I’ve not been very impressed with the recent versions of either of these games. The last Race Driver game had am impressive breadth of racing disciplines and circuits, but didn’t give a realistic impression of any of them.

The last Colin McRae game went for much the same approach: loads of different series and tracks but very short events, unconvincing physics and no depth.

I don’t want to pre-judge the new game before it comes out and Codemasters have made some excellent racing games in the past. Earlier instalments of both these series such as Colin McRae Rally 2 and TOCA 2 were excellent because they were chiefly based on a single discipline (world Rally Cars and British Touring Cars respectively).

Hopefully Codemasters will produce a 2009 F1 game closer to these classic titles and not just some disposable, short attention span trash that doesn’t deserve to have the F1 logo on it.

What do you want from a new F1 game?

I listed “make a decent F1 game” in the “Ten jobs for Bernie Ecclestone to do” article last year. Click here to read the other nine points on his “to-do” list.

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79 comments on Good news, bad news: Codemasters to make 2009 F1 video game

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  1. Jim said on 9th May 2008, 10:25

    “I’ve not been very impressed with the recent versions of either of these games. The last Race Driver game had am impressive breadth of racing disciplines and circuits, but didn’t give a realistic impression of any of them.”

    How can you say this Race Driver : GRID has not even been released yet and I am pretty certain the last Race Drvier game did not use the EGO engine as the EGO engine was introduced in Colin McRae : DIRT.

    • i think the ego engine will be massively improved for f1 2009 as they improved it a great amount for race driver grid when they re used it from dirt. so in conclusion it would also only be using one discipline aswell as the name is in the title F1 and i cannot wait for it to come out. get in!! lol

  2. sajonaraman said on 9th May 2008, 10:56

    If F12009 game drags me away from PGR4 I’m in.

  3. Nathan said on 9th May 2008, 11:03

    what do i want from an F1 game?
    simple = realistic physics!
    in my view, the geoff crammond series “grand prix x” r the best f1 games even tho they are years old!
    the most recent ones have gone for insane graphics but an arcade like feel.
    also, updatable performance/cars would b nice and to add new tracks! should b on PC so i’ll get it for sure, but thats what i want it to be like!

  4. Sri said on 9th May 2008, 11:12

    Me, am just happy to have another F1 game come out for PC. I do not compulsorily have to go out and buy a console to play the game. I just can’t complain.

    What i would like though is perhaps for the cars to feel realistic. Also, i’d like for them to perhaps make a game as per 2004 spec of the cars. Just for fun. Greedee i know…

  5. @Jim – there’s a demo version of GRiD available for the Xbox360 and it’s complete cobblers. The cars handle like Scalextric models.

    The challenge for any dev making an F1 game is to make it accessible to a wide enough audience that it’s commercially worth the cost of developing, but that it’s not hopelessly over simplified. The success of games like Forza 2 on the 360 and Gran Turismo on the PlayStation shows that it is possible to get this balance more or less right.

    TBH, I’d settle for Geoff Crammond’s GP2 with decent graphics and internet multiplayer.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th May 2008, 11:43

    From Codemasters:

    Formula One is ambitious in expanding its reach with more circuits planned beyond recent additions in the Middle East and China. It is also ambitious in expanding its reach via technology. The digital communities that computer and video gaming creates will play a key role in further growing the Formula One audience and connecting them globally.

    As a world-leading creator of driving games, this alliance with Formula One is the jewel in Codemasters’ racing crown and creates an undisputed segment champion. Formula One has gone with the best, the segment leader. It has gone to the home of the EGO Engine for quality; it has gone to the company that can host Formula One Online, to the company that is streaking away from the pack.

    More details here

    • what i want is an f1 game that will let me change my strategy mid race eg if bad weather happens etc.In the last game also if you knocked your front wing off in the first corner and had to pit for a new one the team instead of just putting on a new wing they take it as your first scheduled stop and fill you to the brim with fuel and change your tires after 1 lap.

  7. cyanide said on 9th May 2008, 11:51

    Full press release:

    Codemasters®, developer and publisher of award-winning racing video games, has secured the exclusive video game rights to FORMULA 1 it was announced today. In a worldwide licensing agreement with Formula One Administration Limited, Codemasters will develop a new generation of the multi-million selling FORMULA 1 game franchise across multiple platforms.

    Codemasters Studios, creators of genre-leading racing titles Colin McRae: DiRT™ and Race Driver: GRID™, will lead the design and development of official FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP games for home console, handheld and PC gaming formats.

    “FORMULA 1 is ambitious in expanding its reach with more circuits planned beyond recent additions in the Middle East and China. It is also ambitious in expanding its reach via technology. The digital communities that computer and video gaming creates will play a key role in further growing the FORMULA 1 audience and connecting them globally,” said Rod Cousens, chief executive officer, Codemasters.

    “As a world-leading creator of driving games, this alliance with FORMULA 1 is the jewel in Codemasters’ racing crown and creates an undisputed segment champion. FORMULA 1 has gone with the best, the segment leader. It has gone to the home of the EGO Engine for quality; it has gone to the company that can host FORMULA 1 Online, to the company that is streaking away from the pack.”

    “Codemasters’ success and recent innovations in the racing game space makes the company more than appropriately tuned for the challenge,” said Chris Deering, chairman, Codemasters. “The combination of FORMULA 1’s new momentum of expansion and Codemasters’ contemporary technology and past experience is the breaking of a new dawn for the sport, on the track and on the HD game screen.”

    The worldwide deal provides Codemasters with rights to feature all Grand Prix circuits, FORMULA 1 teams, cars, and driver likenesses.

    The FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP games will be developed using the evolution of the award-winning EGO™ Game Technology Engine, Codemasters’ highly versatile cross-platform middleware technology. Its advanced graphics and physics technology brings an unmatched cinematic quality and realism to interactive entertainment.

    The EGO Engine is currently being deployed in the creation of Race Driver: GRID™, the latest in Codemasters Studio’s international circuit-based racing series. Set to be a landmark release when it launches on May 30th, Race Driver: GRID was recently hailed as “The driving game of the summer” by BBC Top Gear magazine.

    Codemasters expects the first game based on the FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP to launch in 2009.

  8. cyanide said on 9th May 2008, 11:57

    For me, as long as the game is moddable, I’ll be happy. There are enough F1 Fanatics (heh) who’ll make the game worthwhile as long as they’re given a chance. Atleast this time, we’ll get an official F1 game for the PC.

    Race Driver has been fun only because of the amount of variety in the driving disciplines. The physics/simulation are nothing to write home about. Hopefully, the engine will be tweaked to correctly make the cars feel like real F1 cars (pretty much on the edge of control when going flat out).

  9. Sri said on 9th May 2008, 13:49

    I must say that for the first couple of weeks when i first started to play the F1 game, i was pretty useless at it. However, in a months time i could tell you i learned to appreciate true brilliance of the game that was F1-2002. Since then i’ve tried many various mods and i loved all of them. The only racing game which i liked apart from F1 was CMR series. Need for Speed is ok, at best, a variety if i might say so. Now, i can just start any racing game and be a god(no kidding). Playing the game improved my sense for car control(virtual only :P ) so much that i can’t impress that upon you. When i first tried to ride a bike in real world, i was bloody looking for gaps in the traffic(i live in India, there’s a lot to deal with in most of our cities). May be am just mad, or may be, i like racing just a tad too much and it flows in my veins(cliched, i know….).

  10. Yes yes yes. DIRT was poor and the demo (yes it IS a demo so who knows if itll change) of GRID (yes, based on the DIRT engine) is very very poor. The handling is shonky, wooly and just plain disappointing.
    That said, Im comparing it to Forza2 and the TOCA series has imo traditionally been more arcadey than the ‘racing sims’ like GT and Forza so maybe its an unfair criticism.

  11. Chris said on 9th May 2008, 14:18

    Codemasters getting the license is better than Sony, but I’d be way happier if the task was given to ISI or Simbin. ISI made the previous titles that came after Crammonds Grand Prix series and they’re current game rFactor has loads of openwheel mods of very high quality.

    Codemasters racing games hasn’t been very realistic and the feeling of driving the cars in CMR: Dirt isn’t very inspiring, so I wont get my hope up for this game, but I’ll sure test a demo or something.

  12. Dan M said on 9th May 2008, 14:29

    I learned to love F1 through “F1 2000″ for the Sony Playstation. Having no knowledge of the tracks, drivers, or teams, this game was able to get me up to speed much quicker than watching the races, and listening to the bland commentary.

    If this game is able to get people interested in the sport then I’m all for it. I’m going to wait for Rfactor2 unless this is a masterpiece.

    I doubt the game with have mods for the consoles, but anything is possible on the PC. But again at that point you might as well invest in Rfactor.

  13. AndyWolf said on 9th May 2008, 15:16

    Listen, forget any of this new nonsense. Buy a copy of Crammonds’ GP4 in the bargain bin (It even works a treat in Vista!). Not only are the graphics reasonable, but you get the best thing ever in a race game, variable weather! It’s a hoot, watch that racing line dry out! Let’s not forget you get to race on the proper Hockenheim track, and also Spa with the bus stop…….

  14. This really sucks. Colin and TOCA sure were good games, but that’s the problem, we don’t want a F1 game. We want a more simulator feel. Racing arcades should have stopped at OutRun ;)

    We’ll have to wait and see… I hope they add multi monitor support.

  15. To Nathan:

    How on earth does one get or installs or whatever that CSM thing that’s needed to run the mods of Grand Prix X?

    Never heard of it, and the forum is not the most informative thing in the world…

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