We had an opportunity to have time with Lee Mather, Principal Games Designer at Codemaster for the all new F1 2016. We were able to ask him a series of questions on the upcoming game which we are very much looking forward to.
• F1 2016 looks like the must have racing game for 2016. With your vast experience in the genre and your success with the fantastic DiRT Rally, what are the challenges you face when you look to improve on F1 2015 to the all-new F1 2016?
Our biggest challenge is always the battle against time as we want to get the game out as early as we can but we still have a lot to get in there.
F1 2015 was out first outing on the current generation of consoles so that was very much a case of getting the basics right and giving us a stable foundation to build upon for this year’s game. I am pleased to say that we have done exactly that. The main priority was to get Career Mode back into the game. F1 2016 has the most in-depth career mode that we have ever created, stretching up to 10 seasons and taking in so much of what makes the sport so great and unique, such as research and development and the behind the scenes drama.
• How are you as developers and designers able to bring realism to the video game? What are the main challenges you find?
We also wanted to get closer to the real world sport by introducing features such as the Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car, Formation Lap, and the manual starts and pit entry. This all helps to add to the immersion and realism of the game.
The biggest challenge in doing this is making sure that the game is still fun to play and accessible to people at all levels. Obviously there is a hardcore fan base who want to do 100% race distance against Legend, or even the new Ultimate AI, but there is also a large group of players who simply do not have the amount of time required to take on this challenge. We go to great lengths to try and please both of those schools by having a game that is both accessible to new players, but has an incredible level of depth for our more seasoned players.
• In bringing F1 2016 to the customer, what has been the most rewarding aspects for you?
As I type this, the game is yet to be released but the reaction we have had from the community and the press has been fantastic so far. Getting great comments on our news, previews and videos gives the studio a boost. Actually seeing the game in the stores from 19th August is extremely rewarding and hopefully people will enjoy the game as much as we have enjoyed working on it.
• How closely do you work with the teams to bring their experiences and visuals into the game? Is it both the drivers and the engineers who help? How do you transfer their knowledge into gameplay?
We have a fantastic relationship with the teams, drivers and the sport in general. We take advice and input from everyone within Formula One, whether that is a driver, an engineer or a member of the press. We also work very closely with Pirelli to make sure that the tires act the same way in game as they would in real life. The access we have to the inner workings of the sport is invaluable and the level of feedback we get is incredibly helpful.
• When you have a playable game in the office, how much competition do you see between staff in taking first place on the podium? Do you ever find it hard to not have 22 people competing at any one time? How do you get them back to their desks?
The most important thing is that the game is fun to play and we have definitely seen that with F1 2016. There is a lot of competition within the studio and we have some great races. We also have people who race at a variety of levels from expert down to beginner so there are always people racing which is great to see. We also have people who prefer the pad over race wheels and vice versa which helps to make sure that the game experience is balanced for everyone.
The more people play the game, the more they understand it, which is a great thing for development. We are determined to make the best Formula One game possible which really drives the studio.
Funny enough we’ve just completed the 3rd round of the Codies F1 2016 Cup where we’ve been using the new Saveable Championship to keep track of entrants, driver and constructors points.
• Lastly can you give us any tips on the all new career mode?
There are a couple of tips that will get you off to a good start in your career. The first is to listen to everything that your Engineer and Agent tell you. Your Agent sets out the team’s expectations for you as well as singling out your rival, which may well change during the season. You need to take this on board because if you’re underperforming, you could be at risk of losing your position with the team or miss out on a promotion to number one driver.
Your Engineer will help with upgrading the car and can help make any team into a title contender over time. However, in order to do this you have to make the most of your track time, which is where my second tip comes in: take advantage of the practice sessions.
Each of the sessions will have specific goals for you to achieve which can earn you points to spend on developing your car. Don’t forget that all of the other teams and drivers will also be working on their car so you can never allow yourself to stand still. The more sessions and the more goals you complete, the better your car will become.
F1 2016 is released on the 19th of August for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. F1 2016 features all the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship. This includes the thrilling new street circuit in Baku and the Haas F1 team.
F1 2016 Limited Edition includes the ‘CAREER BOOSTER’ DLC PACK, which will give players a head start in their career as well as exclusive Career Helmet and Laptop designs.