When something called Colin McRae Rally popped up on Steam last week, it was natural to assume that it might be an HD remaster or remake of the PC version of Colin McRae Rally 1 or 2. It's not. It's an updated port of a Colin McRae mobile game, lacking car customisation, a lot of stages and cars, and sporting an interface that hasn't been adjusted for PC. Before yesterday, the game's Steam page contained a misleading description that didn't mention the word 'mobile' once, but that's now been updated, at least a little bit. It still has a few misleading sentences like "The classic rally experience races onto PC and Mac". More generously, Codcemasters are offering refunds to anyone who feels like they were duped into buying something they didn't want.
Codemasters has announced their latest F1 title and, weirdly, it's not adhering to the tradition of being named after some hypothetical future year. F1 2014 will, instead, release in 2014 (spooky), leaving the 'next-gen' F1 2015 to the numerically appropriate 2015 F1 season. This year's entry will likely be a little less visually sparkly than next year's, but Codies are still promising big changes to the business of driving fast cars around a track, including a "driver evaluation system" that will analyse your skill level during play, before suggesting game settings tailored to your ability—or lack thereof.
Ordinarily it’s hard to feel sympathy for games marketing folks. They use portmanteaus like RealFeel or TrueDrive when they mean handling, and talk about that sweet spot between arcade and simulation like it’s a slider on the dev’s toolset that no-one thought to include before. But you have to feel for whoever was in charge of penning Grid Autosport’s back-of-box brags; it’s a fantastic game, but its strengths lie in perfectly nailed fundamentals rather than new features. Er, the racing feels really, really real? No dice. Back to the drawing board, marketing person.
Grid Autosport is all about performance; about power under the hood, junk under the trunk, and other things that racing enthusiasts probably say. In that sense, it's not dissimilar to PC ownership—something that can equally descend into stand-offish posturing over specifications and build quality. Codemasters recognise this, and have responded with free PC-only launch-day DLC: an HD texture pack that will separate the computers in pole position from those in need of a pit stop.
Endurance is not just a stat in Dark Souls 2, or the name of Shackleton's doomed ship - it's also an event type in Codemasters' upcoming GRID Autosport, which will have players driving around tracks for a really, really, really, really long time. Actually, throw a couple more reallys in there. The following trailer shows a glimpse of these events in action, interspersed with talking heads of (presumably) famous racing people who have been roped in to say things like 'drive shaft' and 'wheels'. The real meat lies in the accompanying press release, which has some interesting titbits to share about the event. Join me for a couple of laps after the break, won't you?
Grid Autosport's June 24 release date is coming up fast, which is good news for racing game fans buoyed by Codemaster's insistence that the latest entry will "move the series back in line as a more authentic racing game". The latest trailer follows that up with words from real racing car drivers discussing the intense nature of the touring car discipline, amid shots of the game in action.
Over the years, it's become increasingly difficult to summarise the various Codemasters racing series. There was a time when each game's "thing" was obvious. You had Colin McRae Rally, which was a rally game, and TOCA, which was a touring car game. Since then, we've had the DIRTs, which were about rallying, skidding ostentatiously around corners and Americans, and the GRIDs, the focus of which seemed to be "stuff on a road".
Now, Codemasters have announced Grid Autosport, which aims to focus in on a single, specific idea: racing fast cars very fast around racing tracks.
It's Codemasters turn to flaunt their goods on Humble's digital sale shelf. Seven games, including various DiRTs, Overlords and Operation Flashpoints, have been bundled together, in a genre mash-up that has tiny imps erratically driving rally cars away from hyper-efficient snipers. Okay, so it's not that - it's the more traditional bundle of games collected for a pay-what-you-want price.
It's a good package, specifically for the quirky Overlord series, the excellent DiRT 3, and the kinda-fun DiRT Showdown. Unfortunately, the bundle does still necessitate a warning. With GfW Live's rumoured July 1st shutdown, both Operation Flashpoint: Red River and DiRT 3 could potentially stop working. While Codemasters have confirmed that DiRT 3 will be getting the Steamworks treatment, they've made no comment on their plans for Red River.
Like an unpopular and neglected combination of game client, social platform and DRM system, Games for Windows Live is fast approaching its ultimate shutdown. Oh, hold on, that wasn't a clever analogy. That's what Games for Windows Live is. In preparation for its sort-of announced shutdown, a variety of games have been looking at ways to hack off the dying flesh, in the hope that such self-amputation will stop the creep of necrotic tissue, thus ensuring the survival of the host. Okay, that was a better analogy.
When you absolutely, positively must take a ride in a 1996 Michael Schumacher Ferrari, F1 2013 has you covered. Developer Codemasters has released a pair of classic 1990s car and track DLC packs, content that has until recently been locked-up in the standalone Classic Edition of the racing sim.
It's Friday afternoon and, while that's no guarantee of where (or when) you'll be reading this from, as far as I'm concerned, it's a time for relaxing. And what better way to enjoy the end of the work week than with a bunch of cars smashing all up into each other?
Alternatively, what better way to take out your still-working frustration, than with a bunch of cars smashing all up into each other? That's what you'll get with Grid 2's Demolition Derby update, which has now been trailerated.
Are you a car? If so, firstly, thanks for reading. I'm not sure how you're doing it, but it's appreciated. Secondly, you might want to steer clear of the site today, because there's an unusually heavy amount of news featuring twisted frames and crunching bodywork. Not only is a Destruction Derby type game being crowdfunded, but also Codemasters are today releasing the free Demolition Derby mode for Grid 2.
This is a surprise. Codemasters' more recent racers have been perfectly fine PC ports (aside from some dark times with GfW Live), but they've never seemed interested in the more flexible aspects of the platform. Naturally, the community has been happy to break open their engines and go tinkering inside, but the mods they created were never officially supported. That's set to change with Grid 2: the developer announcing that mod tools will be introduced in the upcoming Community Patch.
The original Grid came with a Demolition Derby mode, but that mode was curiously absent in its sequel, which we otherwise quite liked when it came out at the end of May. Thankfully, Codies are making up for that, and are preparing to release two big updates to keep us racing around and rewinding time and then racing around again in perfect harmony. The first adds the aforementioned Demo Derby, while the second is a 'Community Patch' adding requested features and changes to the game, which you can read about below.
While I work on my pronunciation of 'Hungaroring', the motor-racing circuit in Hungary, wrap your eyes around this new trailer for Codies' F1 2013 - then put them back in your head where they belong. Their latest F1 tie-in will release on October 4th, just in time for the Korean Grand Prix.
Codemasters have announced the next entry in their ever-increasing garage full of racers. Which of their roster is getting a new model? I'll give you a clue: the year is 2013, and the last released Formula 1 game from the company was F1 2012. You don't have to be as fast as Nigel Mansell to work this out. This time, as well as featuring an updated line-up of cars, tracks and drivers, F1 2013 will also look back to the championship's history with its '80s and '90s-set Classic Edition.
There’s a long corner arching through a part of Grid 2’s sun- drenched Californian track where a squirrel dashes across the road. It’s always at precisely the same point, and always just as your car lurches into the basin of a gentle drop and rise. And, despite racing that stretch of road 30 or even 40 times, I still haven’t been able to hit it.
And nor should I, really – it would be an unjustifiable act of violence, and more importantly some bloodied shreds might get stuck in a delicate part of the engine. But the squirrel is symbolically significant, even if it refuses to be run over. It speaks to Grid 2’s wonderful presentation, which is glistening and iridescent and other things your car would be if it was really clean.
But hardly anybody uses the cockpit view! That's what Codemasters had to say, anyway, about the discontinuation of the cockpit view in its latest racer, GRID 2. Try telling that to PC gamers, though. Following GRID 2's release last week, modders have been working to build their own cockpit view—here's what they've come up with so far.
As far as I can tell, Codemasters exist in a separate universe to the rest of us. It's almost exactly the same as our version of reality, except for one key difference: YouTube. First it was Dirt 3, which constantly recommended I upload uneventful wins to the video sharing site, seemingly untroubled by the fact that no-one would be remotely interested in displays of moderate competence. Now it's this Grid 2 trailer, previewing the game's "redefined" multiplayer and social features, including YouTube intergration.
I'm just not sure "Can ANYONE beat this guy?!?!" is a sentence that any commenter would type.
Not responsibilities like "always wear a seatbelt" or "hands at 10 and 2." No, Grid 2 stresses the responsibility of every racing game to pour on the slow-mo during power slides, crank up the bloom, and wrap it all up with a narrator a little too obsessed with winning.