Codemasters have shown off F1 2012 at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. The following is a seventeen-minute video with Gamespot where they describe some of the new features:
If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, here’s a summary of the game’s design (in the order they are presented):
- Codemasters think that they struck the right balance between hardcore simulator and accessibility with F1 2011, so the focus of the game has shifted to making the game and the sport appeal to a wider global audience.
- The graphics have not changed much from the previous games, but the gameplay mechanics will evolve again, as they did between F1 2010 and F1 2011.
- They really want to work on improving the career mode, particularly making the off-track stuff more involving (a common complaint in reviews). Codemasters will reveal a few new items over the coming weeks, but Hood admits that they want to tell the “story” of a season, with various subplots – like inter-team rivalies – running throughout to make each race feel connected to the others, and create the overall experience of being a part of one whole season rather than twenty races in isolation.
- Career mode will feature the Young Driver Tests as a tutorial mode for novice players. There is no word on whether this can be skipped by more-experienced players, but the idea behind it is once again accessibility, to get new players up to speed faster instead of dropping them into the middle of a season and expecting them to work it out for themselves.
- Replays will have more-realistic and “cinematic” trackside camera angles, plus angles used in the actual broadcast (ie McLaren’s front wign).
- The development team are trying to match the overall performance of the cars to their real-life counterparts, by taking all of their results to date into consideration.
- Multiplayer may have the option of running cars with realistic or equalised performance.
- Objective systems will take strengths and weaknesses of the car into consideration before providing an objective (in F1 2011, Williams often had objectives that would have been very difficult to meet in the FW33). This will also be expanded to multiplayer.
- Codemasters want to encourage players to play the multiplayer modes properly, rather than barge into everyone, but they are finding it difficult to refine the system because more complexity means more loopholes for players to slip through. The online penalty system will be improved from F1 2011, though.
- The game will incorporate the element of randomness that sometimes strikes the sport, like mistakes in the pits, but Codemasters are very conscious about penalising the player for something that is beyond their control or ability to influence. Pit performance in particular will be tied to a team’s overall competitiveness (ie Ferrari will be better at pit stops than HRT).
- The game will give players the option of staying with a favoured team over the course of their career, rather than staying with one team until they get a better offer. Meeting R&D objectives will improve the overall performance of the car, and this will carry over from year to year, allowing the player to take a team like Marussia from the back to the front of the grid.
- Possibly the biggest new feature was saved for last: the game will feature “active weather”, which is a localised wather system that means different parts of a circuit can (and will) feature different conditions. So if you’re racing at Spa, La Source might be bone-dry, but by the time you get to Les Combes or Stavelot, the track might be very wet.
The game will be released on the 360, PS3 and PC (but not the Wii-U) in “late September”.