I know that for most gamers, playing a Formula 1 game is about as fun as having your balls scraped against a gravestone. But, being a bit of an F1 fan, I do rather enjoy them, and it’s at around about this time of year when I start to look forward to the annual release.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Sony’s Formula One franchise, which started off in fine form with the original Formula One and Formula 1 97 which were made by Bizarre Creations. These days they are making the best racing game in existence, Project Gotham Racing, for the Xbox. F1 and F197 were benchmarks which some still say haven’t been improved on to this day!
Studio Liverpool, who make the games today, always work flat-out on the game right up to the last moment they can get away with. This resulted in Formula One 05 containing a rather unfortunate bug, created at the last minute, which meant that there was no commentary in career mode. Anyway, current estimates for the release date vary wildly, from as early as next Friday (!) to as late as mid-July.
We’re talking about the internet here, so of course there is a website dedicated to Formula 1 video games: F1Gamers.com. It’s a bit ad-heavy, so be prepared for that. Anyway, they’ve built up a good relationship with Studio Liverpool, and there is a good Q&A which outlines what we can expect for Formula One 06.
Overall I’m quite pleased with what I’ve read in that article. When I first played Formula One 05 I was impressed by the graphics and the general feel of the game, but after a while it just became far too easy, even with all the options set to the most difficult settings. I ended up playing it much less that Formula One 04. It sounds like Formula One 06 is going to be much harder, although they explain most players aren’t nearly as good as so-called “hardcore” F1 gamers, which is why features like launch control and the pitlane speed limiter have been removed from the game in recent years (apparently it just confused most players!).
I am surprised, though, that they have decided to include formation laps in the game. And of course, I can’t wait to have a go at the new qualifying format, which is apparently perfect for a video game!