F1 2012 - New Game of the Day #43
What? The new F1 season is underway, and right on cue Codemasters has announced its plans to release a new F1 game this year, aptly called F1 2012 following the success of F1 2011.
Where? PS3, Xbox 360 and PC
When? September 2012. Just in time for the end of the season once again, then.
F1 2012 marks the third consecutive F1 game since Codemasters took over the license, harkening back to the days when F1 games were annually released alongside other popular sports franchises such as FIFA.
The problem with annual franchises however is that there is often little innovation, as new features are implemented to keep the game up to date with only minor gameplay improvements. To a degree, this was evident in F1 2011 – the handling was tightened and we finally got an in-game Safety Car, but the showpiece features were the updated tracks, drivers and new racing rules.
If there was one area that needed improving, it was the “Live the Life” dynamic that tried to immerse you into the life of a top-tier F1 driver. It’s a mechanic that never really delivered its full potential in F1 2010 and F1 2011 however – selecting pre-set answers to lifeless press interviews just wasn’t much fun.
Details are currently scarce for F1 2012 (not even a sneaky screenshot or render to work with), but the announcement focuses on a new “Young Driver Test Mode,” that acts as a tutorial for new drivers to hone their skills as they get to grips with handling an F1 car before earning a drive for a team in the 2012 championship.
Hopefully this new mode will act as an expansion to the established “Live the Life” formula to create a more immersive career mode, offering a new perspective and deeper insight into what it takes to become an F1 driver.
Apart from the inclusion of the new US track in Texas and the return of Germany’s Hockenheim circuit, we know very little else about F1 2012, but Codemasters promise “a host of new features.” Ideally, we’d love to see a more simulation-focused F1 game from Codemasters, but it seems unlikely since the PC market usually caters for that crowd with the likes of dedicated race sims such as iRacing.
Developer legacy: When it comes to racing games, Codemasters need no introduction. Tracing back to the early days of Colin McRae and TOCA: Race Driver, Codemasters has since focused on reinventing the rally genre with their acclaimed DiRT series, which will see its latest sequel this year with DiRT: Showdown, along with its sister series GRiD which is looking set to make a comeback at this year’s E3.
In 2008 they acquired the F1 license from Sony, and recently extended their contract to continue working on F1 games for the foreseeable future. They are also currently developing the browser-based F1 Online: The Game, which will be free to play.
They say: “In F1 2012 players will feel the unparalleled thrill of becoming a FORMULA ONE driver with a host of new features, wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements and extensive competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2012 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the debut of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin, Texas and the return of Germany’s famous Hockenheim circuit to the calendar."
We say: Codemasters rarely let us down, but now that F1 2010 and F1 2011 have set the foundations we’re hoping to see some stronger innovation in this year’s F1 game.
Can't wait? Play this: Codemasters' F1 2011 is a no-brainer, but if you want a taste of how F1 games fared under Sony's wing then F1: Championship Edition would be your best educational tool.
Words by Martin Bigg (Twitter: @drivinggamespro)
We take DiRT Showdown for a spin - but is it everything we hoped for? Review by Dave Harrison
A quick look at the games due for release this week...
Racing rumours inbound! E3 2012 could have plenty in-store for driving game fans, with a new Race Driver game and the return of a legend.