In an age where playing a games console can be easily mistaken for watching reality, racing simulation games have proven a tricky task to master. The tracks are so accurate that you’ll feel the crest coming out of the tunnel at Monaco, or the force of downhill braking as you descend the mountain at Bathurst. Yet there has been one aspect that is yet to be conquered – recreating the full driving experience through to the gamer. Well in Project Cars, they might just have cracked it.
Using the assistance of Ben Collins, otherwise known as Top Gear’s The Stig, European Le Mans Series championship leader Oliver Webb and former Renault Clio Cup and European Touring Car Cup driver Nicolas Hamilton – younger brother of F1 champion Lewis Hamilton – Project Cars has been developed to produce the most realistic race simulation experience on the market.
They have already taken a step ahead of their rivals by making Project Cars available on all platforms. While Gran Turismo has dominated PlayStation for years, Forza has made the Xbox their own, but Project Cars can make a case to rival them both.
The long-standing problem has been how to build a game that reflects how different cars handle and behave in different conditions, as Webb tells The Independent.
“People can’t lie on their morals anymore, Andy [Tudor, creative director] was talking about the graphics at the start of the day, and everyone’s graphics are amazing, everyone’s got CAD data now, everyone’s got laser track,” said Webb.
“There’s no ‘oh that’s better than that’, they’re all pretty much as real as they should be. The only influence now is the CAD data for the cars themselves, how can you improve that? Well that’s where you can get us in and we can tell you what it’s like, if you’ve got standing water at turn three at the Nurburgring with 1,000 horsepower and one wheel on the grass with 20 degrees of lock on, no number can give you that feeling or the feeling in your bum and your stomach and the way you’re sitting in the car and what that’s like.
“So that extra per cent, we’re not saying we’ve made the game by any means but we can give that extra emotion in how the car drives. When people get hold of it they go ‘wow’, even if they haven’t driven the car. I can imagine this is exactly how it will feel.”
With the game set for release on 18 November, Turner has already announced a number tracks that will feature on the game. The usual suspects are all there, ranging from Silverstone to Le Mans and the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit. But they got beyond the call of duty, with local circuits like Cadwell Park and Snetterton joined by two country road runs in the form of the California Highway and the Azure Coast.
For Collins, he explains how the excitement suddenly started to build once the game took a new realism, and why that has been absent in any game or simulator he’s experienced before.
“Weirdly, obviously I love driving - I love driving anything - but I’ve particularly enjoyed driving the car in the game when it suddenly became much more life-like,” said Collins.
“At the beginning it was quite clunky for me. Not being particularly into car games, it was that point that it really broke through and made it drive the way real racing cars do, and then suddenly you start working up a sweat, you start grinning and suddenly an hour goes by very quickly.”
30 games released before Christmas
30 games released before Christmas
The $500 million ‘shared-world shooter’ from Bungie has arrived. Release date: 9th September 2014
2/30 Hyrule Warriors
The first of a few big upcoming releases for the Wii U, Hyrule Warriors will see Link hack-and-slashing in Hyrule. Expect a closer likening to Dynasty Warriors rather than a typical Zelda game. Release date: 19th September 2014
3/30 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
The open world adventure which follows a detective with paranormal powers used to solve crimes promises suspense, mystery - and gorgeous graphics. Release date: 25th September 2014
4/30 FIFA 15
The best-selling sports video game franchise in the world is set to return with Lionel Messi as the cover star, all 20 Premier League stadiums and scarily lifelike players. Release date: 26th September 2014
5/30 Forza Horizon 2
Exclusive to Xbox One and 360, racing fans will get to see the roads of southern Europe – with three times more driveable areas than the 2012 original. Release date: 3rd October 2014
6/30 Super Smash Bros
Coming first to the 3DS, players will be able to smash the shell out of Nintendo characters such as Yoshi, Link, Fox, Mario, Mega Man, Pac-Man, Pikachu, Fox, Peach and Donkey Kong. Release date: 3rd October 2014
7/30 Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
The UK’s favourite detective takes a Dostoyevsky turn, as he must make moral choices when he finds the culprits. Release date: 3rd October 2014
8/30 Alien: Isolation
There’s no doubt about it, this looks really scary. Set in 2137, 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years prior to Aliens, the game follows Amanda, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother Ellen Ripley. Release date: 7th October 2014
9/30 Project Spark
For creative minds, Xbox's Project Spark offers players a blank canvas to draw on content to make events, games and music. Release date: 7th October 2014
10/30 NBA 2K15
2K Sports aim to make their new basketball release more authentic than ever. With Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder as the cover star, Crew mode will be coming back, and MY League introduced. Release date: 7th October 2014
11/30 NBA Live 15
Up against NBA 2K15 on the same day is this basketball title from EA Sports, who scanned 70% of NBA players for added realism. Release date: 7th October 2014
Exclusive to PS4, this racing release will see top speeds and atmospheric conditions - plus PlayStation Plus subscribers will get a free version. Release date: 10th October 2014
13/30 Skylanders Trap Team
The third release from the ridiculously popular-with-kids franchise will include traps where players can catch the bad guys and play as them. Release date: 10th October 2014
14/30 The Evil Within
In our preview, it’s been described as ‘a survival horror fan’s best worst nightmare’. Release date: 17th October 2014
15/30 Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
The third game in the Borderlands series, and a prequel to the 2012 game Borderlands 2, and will see new weapons such as anti-gravity, freeze, and oxygen tanks. Release date: 17th October 2014
16/30 F1 2014
Based on the 2014 Formula One season, this racing game from Codemasters will feature the new Sochi Autodrom. Release date: 17th October 2014
17/30 Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes
The other popular toys to life series will see superheroes join the team, including Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man. Release date: 18th October 2014
18/30 Fantasia: Music Evolved
Based on the music from Walt Disney's 1940 animated film, your body will control the rhythm and sounds. Release date: 21st October 2014
19/30 Bayonetta 2
The sequel to Nintendo's 2009 game sees Bayonetta battling the bad guys with smart combat and sharp graphics. Release date: 24th October 2014
20/30 Sunset Overdrive
The colourful comic style offering exclusive to Xbox One combines the feel of Sum 41/Tony Hawk with a random mix of mutants and energy drinks. Release date: 31st October, 2014
21/30 WWE 2K15
Sting, Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin will appear in the next wrestling saga, which will next have story mode My Career. Release date: 31st October, 2014
22/30 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
The 11 year-old military first person shooter series is about to become more futuristic, with characters that look more realistic than ever - plus, Kevin Spacey stars as the bad guy. The downloadable content for will be released first on Xbox Live. Release date: 4th November 2014
23/30 World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
The fifth expansion to MMORPG World of Warcraft will will raise the existing level cap from 90 to 100 and will introduce player-built, upgradeable garrisons - plus a tribute character to Robin Williams. Release date: 13th November 2014
24/30 Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Consisting of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4, this is obviously one for Halo super fans. Players will also get access to Halo 5: Guardians beta. Release date: 14th November 2014
25/30 Assassin's Creed: Unity
Set in Paris during the French Revolution, for the first time, four players can take on missions in multiplayer co-op, and there's also a new stealth option, which contrasts well with the fluid movement of the deadly Assassin. Release date: 15th November 2014
26/30 Far Cry 4
Set in a region of the Himalayas, you get to ride on an elephant with weapons, and invite friends to join you to play via PlayStation Plus, even if they don't own the game. Release date: 18th November 2014
27/30 Little Big Planet 3
Sackboy's got some new friends this time round in PlayStation's puzzle platformer, each with different skills opening up a range of different, and cute, challenges. Release date: 19th November 2014
28/30 Dragon Age: Inquisition
Bioware's RPG sequel to Dragon Age 2 will let players explore more than ever before - and there are several different major endings depending on your decisions in the game. Release date: 21st November 2014
29/30 Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal
The latest outing for everyone's favourite hedgehog sees the first released on the Wii U, and the second for the 3DS. The two games form the final part in Sega's partnership with Nintendo, following Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Release date: 21st November 2014
30/30 Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
The 3DS remakes of the 2002 Game Boy Advance titles Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire will be a must-have for Pokefans. Release date: 28th November 2014
Of course, having a virtual racing champion on board does always help, and with Hamilton providing his expertise on car feedback, Slightly Mad have been able to fine tune their touring cars from their supercars, their Le Mans prototypes from their single-seater F1’s. It’s been a dream come true for Hamilton to help develop the game, and he’s looking forward to seeing how the finished product fulfils the quench for a pure-motor racing game to hit the shelves.
“Without sounding bias probably all of it,” says Hamilton when asked what his favourite part of developing Project Cars is. “I’ve been working on games since I was the age of four and a lot of people want to work on games for a living so to get the opportunity to work with Slightly Mad on a great project that is Project Cars is pretty much a dream come true for me. It’s good that they see the value of really developing a good platform for people to enjoy themselves.
“My experience pretty much ranges from seven years of simulation gaming because that’s where my career started, doing world championships and national championships, so it’s something that I can just implement into my role with these guys”.
Project Cars will need to go out and beat its nearest rivals – namely Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. While that’s a mighty task, the knowledge and experience of the three professional drivers combined with the extensive development of the game itself certainly makes Project Cars one to look forward to.Reuse content