Have you already heard about crowd funding? I am sure you have. For example, Kickstarter is just one of a bunch of money-raising projects allowing independent creators (private persons and companies alike) to acquire financing for their creative projects. They can then award every single one of those tiny investors with some project benefits. One of the projects that sought crowd funding is a yet-to-be-released (on PC, X360, PS3 and WiiU) racing game named Project CARS, developed and co-financed by Slightly Mad (SM) – the studio behind EA’s Need for Speed: Shift and Shift 2 racing games.
With EA having turned their ship back to a more secure destination than a realism-driven racing game, Slightly Mad studios were left in the middle of nowhere. But they weren’t ready to call it quits. They had a brilliant idea, ambition and the skills needed to pull off a really well-creafted racing game that could potentially compete with iRacing for the attention of realism-crazy gamers. All that Slightly Mad needed was enough money to make it happen. Instead of looking for a new publisher for their game, they decided to ask gamers to help them both finance, invent and control the development of their upcoming title.
Slightly Mad started the World of Mass Development portal which acts as a place for devlopers like they are, seeking not only funding, but also new ideas and development control from the people who decided to donate money to their cause. This gives all donators a unique possibility not only to track the development process, but to also get their hands dirty by getting directly involved in the development process.
Thus, Project CARS developers prepared a pretty long list of ranks, tools (project permissions) and perks that are awarded to everyone who invested in the game, depending on the sum of money each individual or company donated. The idea is simple and fair – the more money you invest, the bigger your permissions are. For my 25€ spent on the project, I was given permission to create new threads and post in existing ones. In the dev forums it entitled me to download weekly game builds and to read minutes from the development teams meetings. I also secured myself a 25€ rebate on the product (when it is released), access to exclusive car(s) and one of the in-game opponents will be named after me. This is, by my book, a fantastic deal considering the fact I can comment on and start new development-related threads (which I am planning to finally start doing early next week) and will sort of get my money back when they release the final product for 25€ less than its retail price. Don’t you think?
The game itself has now been in development for approximately a year and is being more and more polished almost every day, with full builds being put together at least twice a week now. There is alot going on developers’ wise and changes for the better can be seen every week. Many fixes have been introduced over the last three months (since I joined the cause) eg. overall game stability and performance which is now really good, alot better compared to what it was three months ago.
Slightly Mad have acquired licenses from several authentic car manufacturers that are dear to the heart of every racing freak on the planet. This is however no Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport or Need for Speed. You won’t find supercars and other (still pretty mainstream) road cars such as the Ferrari FXX or the Porsche 911 in Project CARS. But in turn, you’ll get to sit behind the wheel of race track legends from Caterham, Pagani, BAC or Jaguar – not only from recent years, but also from the golden era of motorsport. Quite recently, SM have also signed a licensing deal with Ford and the game will further benefit from the addition of eleven iconic Ford vehicles, such as the 1980 Capri and the 2012 Focus ST.
Realism-wise, Project CARS is way more mature than any of the Need for Speeds‘ or Dirt titles, but also surpasses Live for Speed and probably rFactor, too, in that field. The feeling of racing a really fast car (especially an open wheel one, which there are plenty of in the game!) is simply breathtaking. Mixed class races are really fun to take part in – something you can’t find in many racing games!
This all works towards making Project CARS a really great and very popular racer and even though many features of the final product are not even ready for testing yet, I’m still very looking forward to laying my hands on the final product.
And if that wasn’t enough, we are presenting you with a list of all the major features planned, as well as a 6 minute long video with yours truly, humbly racing a Jaguar JP-LM on the Belgian Forest track (Spa Francorchamps), using a cabled X360 game controller. Enjoy, and see you on the track!
- FRANCHISE MODE allows you to carve out a personalized career starting in the Karting world and then progresses on to whichever motorsport specialization you prefer including Rally, Touring Cars, Open-Wheel, GT, Le Mans, and many more!
- Play CO-OP with a friend as Driver/Co-Driver
- FULL TEAM MANAGEMENT… Have a large number of friends? Create, manage, and compete together!
- Experience the excitement of PIT STOPS like you’ve never seen before!
- Revolutionary PIT-2-CAR RADIO gives you the strategic advantage
- DYNAMIC Time Of Day & Localized Weather make every race unique and challenging
- 10+ GAME MODES covering every form of motorsport
- CLOUD-BASED SOCIAL NETWORK allows you to connect with friends, compare times & scores, compete and challenge each other, and share content
- USER-GENERATED CONTENT – Create your own liveries, decals, tuning setups, and even events! Then share them with the world – either for free, in-game credits or even real money!
- PUSHING TO THE LIMITS – Advanced physics, lighting, and AI