Slightly Mad Studios returns to the circuits this year with Project CARS 3, the third installment of its driving simulator that comes with the promise of having more content, more options and greater accessibility for everyone, but without skimping on the realism that is so popular. Has made the saga. All this with the director of Driveclub in the team.
T has been made to pray, but Project CARS 3 is finally heading to the circuits of PS4, Xbox One and PC. Fans of simulation and racing will already know that the game was first announced in 2018, although Slightly Mad Studios has not revealed many details about the game since then … Until now. Last week, Bandai Namco invited me to a Project CARS 3 event in digital format where I didn”t get a chance to play the game firsthand, but I did get to witness an extensive video presentation. I was also able to interview its developers, and the feelings their words left me can be summed up in this sentence: the whole challenge of Project CARS, but much more accessible.
And this does not mean that Project CARS 3 is going to be an easier delivery behind the wheel, or that the game has been “casually”. No, far from it. Rather than his study he has taken good note of the different trends in the genre, and in online games in general, to turn his game into a rounder experience. An installment that invites the most novice players to enter their tracks, and that offers new ways of competing to the veterans of the Project CARS saga.
This translates into new competitive game modes, new ranking and matchmaking systems, a career mode built from scratch with greater freedom, new progression systems, and deeper customization options for everyone… A series of additions here and there that expand the proposal without betraying realism in racing. “The issue has been taking the things we like, which is racing simulation, the heart of Project CARS 2, and turning it into something that can be enjoyed more often by more people,” Pete Morrish told me. , studio production manager. But these words are of little use regardless of what the news is, so let”s get to it.
Compete as you like, progress freely
Project CARS 3 wants to be accessible to many more people, and this starts from the very base of the game, which is its progression system. Here, each and every one of the things we do will bring us money and experience, regardless of the game mode or the settings, to offer more freedom when playing what you like the most. In fact, during the races you receive experience points for making good overtaking, taking perfect turns and similar actions, which offers constant small challenges for the players to aspire to improve at all times.
This is directly linked to the new Career mode, which they told me was created from scratch, with the freedom of the player at its core. At all times you have several categories to compete, and if for example you do not like the event that touches you now, but the next one, with your experience points you can unlock later competitions before time , so you are not forced to play to what you are not interested in. The experience also unlocks new vehicles to acquire with the credits, and here it is important to note one thing: there will be no micro payments of any kind in the entire game. But back to the Career, the other important detail is the variety of disciplines that the study promises.
“Our Career mode is almost like a collection of greatest hits,” Morrish told me. “So, instead of limiting players to a simulation of a real career as pilots, where they start from the bottom and are tied to a specific discipline by specific tracks, we are going to take them around the world and we are going to propose shorter races, longer races, various types of competitions and a greater variety of objectives to progress … There is more choice, there is more breadth, we want the player to feel that he is constantly progressing , that they have the opportunity to choose when necessary, and retain them for the long term with an experience made for them. ”
With money and experience, you can also improve the vehicles with new parts that increase their performance to move up the class. And here Joe Barron , Marketing and eSports manager, told me that it is perfectly possible to take a car from the lowest performance class to the highest in the game: “what you can do is follow a process of gradual improvement, which increases the characteristics of the vehicle and what we call it ”performance index”. […] The idea behind it is that if you find a car that you really like very early in your career, you are not forced to abandon that car on the other when you pass class. And also, some road vehicles will have race kits to transform them into fully spoken racing cars. ”
But players” freedom is not limited to Career mode. At Slightly Mad Studios they want people to run however they want, when they want and where they want, something that also applies to the online multiplayer sections of the title. On the one hand, they have introduced a matchmaking system based on the skill of the players within the Quick Play mode. This feature looks for players to quickly find races of their level. And so, when competing against matched rivals, have a clear sense of progress whether you”re a veteran who competes against the best, or a newcomer who loves driving but still struggles with physics and handling. Game.
Alongside these games are the typical custom game lobbies, to create your own events. And there is also a third mode called ” Scheduled Events ” with multiplayer races scheduled by the studio for a specific date and time. In this way, players register for the event, and when the time comes, the game will search for a skill-matched session – as with fast games – to participate in the race. It is a way to keep the community active, and to bring everyone together at specific times of the day to compete in company.
Again, all of this will give you credits and experience, be it fast online races like events or custom games. You can also compete with your cars in any of these modes, although if you access an event for which you do not have a suitable car, the game will offer you a range of vehicles “borrowed” to compete, so that you are never limited to the time to play what you want. Of course, if you compete with your cars, not only will you have greater control over their performance, but you will also be able to show off your personalized designs to the rest of the participants, something that I will discuss later.
And about automatic matchmaking, not only will the player”s ability be taken into account, but also how “clean” they are running. “That is very important to us. There are few things more frustrating than when you are there in the middle of a serious race, because you already play at a level that goes beyond the mere hobby and you take it more seriously, and someone starts to hitting people in the first corner, ‘said Morrish, adding:” Although it can also be fun to drive that way (laughs). Those who like to play that way, we put them together in their games, and they can already have their own demolition derby. ”
Rivals mode, the big news
I have told you about the three online multiplayer modes, but it turns out that Project CARS 3 will have a completely new fourth online mode called ” Rivals ”, which has a key feature: it is an asynchronous multiplayer. Rivals mode is a competitive proposal similar to the Community Events of 2, which will offer different challenges to players with daily, weekly and monthly events, but without physically competing on the track. In other words, an event will offer you a quick lap on a certain circuit, to give an example, with a vehicle and certain conditions.
It is a competitive way above all. Each season there will be some ranks – gold, silver, and bronze … The typical – that will vary depending on your performance, to promote those pikes for being the best in your division and among your friends. “It is a form of multiplayer that fits in with people”s daily lives,” Morrish told me. “Yes, there are those who can find some time each day to organize a race with their friends, but there are also others who are shorter than time and can only play at certain times […] and that they can enjoy an experience Meaningful multiplayer in those little moments is very important to us. ”
According to the developer, the intention is that players have something new every day that their community of pilots always has some reason to return to the tracks. And this applies even if you have already completed the available events, where the Rivals mode will feature a dynamic ghost system. When you repeat one of these events, Project CARS 3 will automatically show you the ghost of another player above your range. Do you overcome it? Well, they will give you another, and then another, and so on, so that you always have a tangible goal to aspire to.
During the presentation and the subsequent interview, the approach of the Rivals mode seemed very similar to the model of a game as a service. Temporary content, frequent updates, divisions with ranks … And in fact Pete Morrish confirmed to me that his intention is to support the game and Rivals for a long time with new content. So I saw the need to ask a specific question: Will we see Project CARS 3 on PS5 and Xbox Series X? To this, the developer said the following: “No comment! (Laughs)”. After this, he commented to me that the study has preferred to focus on squeezing the most of the current hardware before thinking about the new generation, and reaching the widest possible audience given the large user base on PS4 and Xbox One.
The most complete installment of the saga
Before finishing, there are a couple of important details that remain to be mentioned. First, there are the customization options. And it is that, for the first time in the saga, players will be able to customize the design of the vehicles as they please, thanks to an editor with a multitude of options. You can put together different vinyls and figures to create your designs, add official stickers from manufacturers and brands, adjust the vehicle paint and its material (metallic, matte, etc.)… Even customize very specific things such as the design of the tire – the rubber, not just the rim – or the license plates and your text.
This is an almost obligatory feature in any modern driving game, and with Project CARS 3, players will finally be able to create their own designs, share them and display them in online racing for everyone to see. The other detail to mention is the graphic section, where, if you have already seen the new game play of the game, it goes without saying that the game and the circuits look quite good. One of the races I witnessed took place in Shanghai at night, with a light show in the buildings and from the cars themselves. And from the study they promise improvements in the post-processing effects, either in motion blur or in the effects of collisions, or in the camera and its vibration.
As it is a presentation without the opportunity to get behind the wheel, prompted by this year”s health alert, it is impossible for me to go into detail with the game play of the title for the simple fact of not having been able to play it. But in everything else, Project CARS 3 paints as the most complete installment in the series, the most accessible in terms of modes and progression, and one of the racing games to consider this year for PS4, Xbox One and PC. [Waiting for Bandai to confirm if it is so]
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