Back To TOCA: GRID Autosport Announced

By Adam Smith on April 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

I liked GRID 2 quite a lot but I’m some kind of racing simulation heathen who has no qualms incorporating a little bump and grind into the art of the automobile. Codemasters manage to avoid the phrase ‘going back to our roots’ when describing the newly announced follow-up, GRID Autosport, but a lengthy and informative blogpost suggests that’s exactly what they aim to do.

On release of GRID 2, I think it’s fair to say that through listening to you guys and a after a substantial amount of reflection, we hadn’t quite achieved everything we set out to do…we’re not above admitting that we made a few decisions that perhaps we shouldn’t have, and perhaps moved some of the aspects of the game too far away from our core fanbase.

What does it all mean? A flashy teaser, an enticingly close June 27th release date and a pile of information to wrap your head around.

Phew. There’ll still be cars then.

GRID: Autosport aims to move the series back in line as a more authentic racing game. Set to include a more authentic handling model (more Sim than Race Driver: GRID), five distinct disciplines; Touring, Endurance, Open Wheel, Tuner and Street. Race at 22 locations (primarily circuit based) with a combined route list that totals over 100.

The full post contains lots of details, including details on handling, racing disciplines and a potentially impressive career mode. After several pages of text, it ends with these words.

TL:DR – Yes, we have an in-car view, two in fact.

Well played, Codies, well played indeed.

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54 Comments »

  1. Jams O'Donnell says:

    The TOCA games were my favourite of the various Codemasters racing franchises. I hope this will run on my ageing rig*.

    * that I thought was 100% just fine until the min specs for Watch Dogs were unveiled

    • JostVice says:

      They confirmed it won’t run on next-gen consoles, so much likely you will be ok!

    • CodiesLoore says:

      Optimisation is something we’re putting a lot of work towards. We’re still finalising but I imagine our minimum specs will be a bit lower than those of Watch_Dogs. A Core 2 Duo @ 2.4Ghz (or there about) should be ok.

  2. Spunky McGoo says:

    GRID 2 was jus turable

    Glad this is going the right direction

  3. Creeping Death says:

    I don’t really know if I want to play a game that’s “more Sim than Race Driver: GRID”. The whole reason I enjoyed GRID so much was because it struck a good balance between Sim and Arcade that was fun. If I want a more sim-like experience there are other options out there I can play.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Well, you shouldn’t believe them that much anyway, it’ll probably be along the lines of Forza at most, which is a decent balance personally.

      The really important thing is that they admitted the removal of the cockpit vision to be the most idiotic thing since americans invented Nascar.

    • J Arcane says:

      GRID 1 struck an expert balance of being a more hardcore challenge than a Forza game, while being well shy of another unplayable SimBin thing.

      A normal gamer can pick up a Forza game and be pretty good at it. A normal gamer can pick up GRID and will probably suck at first, then get good at it, and every race you win feels like you really fought for it. Even when you pull ahead mid-race and are in the lead for the rest of the laps, it’s still a challenge to just focus and keep it together long enough to not fuck up before the end.

      SimBin games on the other hand believe that anyone not willing to purchase a €6,000 racing wheel is not fit to game, and that cars only have two modes of operation, wild and uncontrollable oversteer and complete and utter steering lock. The old TOCA games were pretty close to this too, so if this is going back in that direction, I’ll probably pass.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Grid forced you to drive your car under certain conditions, while Forza allows you any kind of assists. Remove all the assists and you can smell what’s under the hood, albeit obviously simpler than iRacing.

        It’s hard to compare realism on two games that are not entirely striving for it, but i always felt that Grid strived a bit more for twitch reflexes and sudden danger with Forza instead going simply for a somewhat believable physics model that would adapt to all kinds of cars and upgrades. Grid is also way faster, which artificially ramps up the difficulty, i bet a skilled driver would clear the Nordschleife in 5 minutes if that track was available.

        It’s a hard task and obviously imperfect, but i still prefer a cohesive system to something like Grid that has a “grip” mode and a “drift” mode.

        The thing is that with Forza you can easily “cheat” on most races even if they score your car’s performance, by learning what kind of upgrades and car are better for a certain track/opponents, and the fact that the AI is nowhere near Grid level, which was far better, but probably due to the fact that each car cathegory and race mode was stricly tailored.

  4. Ranek says:

    Interesting. I was just last night recalling the good ole days of the TOCA games with some sim racing buddies.

  5. ArtyFishal says:

    I really hope Codemasters tones down their overly elaborate menus. I swear, in the last batch of their racing games you spent more time in the trailer slowly shifting through super slick menu animations than on the track. You’d hope that their priority when designing a racing game would be to deliver the behind the wheel experience rather than the dicking about in the trailer experience, but, as Grid 2 showed us, that’s not the case. Sorry, Adam, Grid 2 was shit.

    • Love Albatross says:

      I’m not sure what it is about racing games that inspires developers to do this, but it’s a common problem. Very often they have an incredibly obnoxious presentation – terrible music, awful voiceovers (EEEUUURGH THAT BURNOUT DJ) and excessive sound and visual effects.

      DIRT 3 was particularly awful, as I recall. Every single thing you did in the menus was accompanied by a WAM, WHOOSH, BAM as the text flew around the screen. Horrible.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        It’s because there are two ways of being car enthusiasts, one is the obsession with the shiny and cool ( and chrome wheels ), plus other words like “hip” and “hood”, the other is the “gentleman” way that favors function, finesse and with a love for details and precision and good engineering in general.

        • dogsolitude_uk says:

          Racing Games should therefore have two modes: one drenched in neon with a wubby soundtrack for da kidz, and the other in a tasteful, understated interface through which one can page through stats, sponsored by Geo F Trumper.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            I actually had to google that Geo F Trumper thing.

            Oh my, looks like my extremes brought me in a place i don’t want to be.

          • dogsolitude_uk says:

            Personally I use Madame Scodioli’s shaving soap, “Ill Repute”. Best. Soap. Ever. :)

            But back on topic: I’d like to see a more ‘adult’ interface myself.

      • PAK-9 says:

        Yea DiRT 3 had horrible menus. They are quite entertaining at first but after a while you wish they would just fuck off with all the swishy flashy rubbish and let you get where you wanted in the menu quickly.

        Most things surrounding the core game were really irritating, unskippable voiceover sections, slow menus, unusual forced events (like gymnychkkanbuma or whatever), and a brodude shouting “you should share that to facebook!” after every race

      • PopeRatzo says:

        (EEEUUURGH THAT BURNOUT DJ)

        But the game was so great that I’ve actually come to miss that twat.

        I played that game so much that I got tired of the huge and varied music playlist and loaded up my own music, then played it some more. Then discovered that it was online and played some more.

        I bought that game on three different platforms. By then, I was just buying it because I wanted to encourage Criterion to make more.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Yes having loved GRID, my only memories of my short time with GRID 2 is sitting through endless menu transitions. Not quite as horrifying as DIRT 3, but awful none the less.

      What I remain utterly confused about is why, in an age in which the game-buying public laps up RPGs, loot collecting, and upgrade paths, has no one made a racing game on PC that gives you a satisfying upgrade experience to match what Gran Turismo was doing a decade ago on the PS2. LET ME UNLOCK TITANIUM CRANK GUBBINS DAMMIT.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        If the next Forza or Gran Turismo landed on PC land with the caveat that the entry price is 200 euro, i’d still pay that. Actually, i’d pay even more for Forza since it would be the ONLY reason i’d ever consider an Xbone, so i guess i’d still save money.

        • J Arcane says:

          I was really hoping Assetto Corsa would finally fill the ‘Forza for PC’ niche at long last, but the latest build has basically gone straight for SimBin territory, and what I’ve read seems to indicate that is precisely where they’re headed.

          The earlier build I played was very nearly there to a Forza feel, but apparently ‘fan feedback’ is pushing it in a more simmy direction. Blech. They’re going to ride that feedback to a market grave.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            I bet you are playing with a gamepad, because it was not the physics that changed ( much ), but the abstractions needed to filter the gamepad inputs, especially at speed.

            In older builds you might remember that under some heavy filtering some cars didn’t even steer enough in slow corners, while now the controls are far, far more twitchy with a gamepad in order to try and solve the issue of combining a decent input with some needed assist. You’ll only get 1:1 input on a 900° wheel, and i can assure you that drifting is something crazy.

            You probably were a bit on the “locked” side of the gamepad spectrum, hence the Forza feel which also uses a LOT of filtering and also why it’s more realistic and simmish on a wheel. With a gamepad, Forza will never let you steer more than your tires can handle under certain conditions, effectively reducing the errors you can perform, but you’ll notice that during countersteer you are allowed more freedom. Assetto Corsa is not that smart and as such the new changes feel a bit more dramatic.

            Eitherway, to fill the Forza niche you first need that career model, with your garage, your money, your cars and your upgrades and so on. And a huge budget. AC will do a career, but i don’t know how.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Yeah the new Need for Speed with the Police part (Hot Pursuit 2?) was unplayable because of that. It was a solid 5 minutes of menu to get to the first race – which lasted, I kid you not, less than a minute. Then it was back into menus – with constant social online crap shoved in your face. I uninstalled it right there.

      • SuicideKing says:

        The new one was simply Hot Pursuit, HP2 was older, cleaner and more full of racing.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        I thought Need for Speed Rivals was brilliant. I don’t really care for Yurpean racing where cars just tool around over a course a bunch of times. Give me the open road, a Spotify playlist and a Lamborghini and let me tool around somewhere that looks like the Pacific Coast and mix it up with over-aggressive cops, crashing through billboards with weather that changes and racing every other todger that appears in my rear-view mirror.

        For me, that’s bliss. I’m simple.

        • ArtyFishal says:

          The problem with Rivals was not that it wasn’t a sim, but rather that its concept had been done better many times before, and done better in the Need for Speed series, no less. Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted (the original and the 2012 game) are basically the same game as rivals, but less annoying.

    • DrollRemark says:

      I know a guy that went to Codemasters and apparently does nothing but program the menus. I guess when that’s all you’re allowed to do, you go for broke.

    • CodiesLoore says:

      As a heads up our UI and Menus for Autosport are very minimal this time around, from what you’ve described they are exactly what you want.

  6. kael13 says:

    I uhh… I don’t actually think it looks very different from any of any of their more recent games. Are they using the same engine? Something doesn’t feel right.

  7. dogsolitude_uk says:

    I just want a racing game where I can race a car, with a cockpit view after selecting the race from a simple menu.

    I *don’t* want stupid RPG elements, conversations with a garage mechanic bloke called ‘Chuck’, to have to do ‘jobs’ for people or to be deafened by ‘WUBZ’.

    I was therefore cheered by the lack of ‘WUBZ’ in the trailer. :)

  8. Prolar Bear says:

    Oh YES.

    As much as I liked Shift 2 and GRID 2 (pretty fun online), they both have their flaws, and we need more Forza\GT-likes on PC.

  9. Megakoresh says:

    For me now, I am sick of asphalt street car racing. Unless it features Dirt 1-style trucks, buggies, trailblazers across the Savannah and canyons or dirt, mud, sand and ice, I won’t even look at these “authentic car games” anymore.

  10. trjp says:

    There was much whinging about the lack of cockpit view in Grid2 but I honestly don’t think that really mattered – it’s not why it was a sales disaster (and it was)

    I’ll tell you what a lot of people *myself included” did dislike about Grid2 tho – the tiresome way they packaged-up “pre order exclusives” and lots of DLC packages. When I buy a game I’d like to buy the whole game – ESPECIALLY if there’s an online element – I do not want to be nickel and dimed for extra cars and tracks – esp when it s not obvious how they relate to the single and/or mutliplayer elements.

    Reality was that to buy everything offered ‘when new’ you’d have spent about £50- and that’s a lot of cash! For that level of investment, I don’t think Grid2 delivers at all – the single player is repetitive and tiresome and the way DLC is integrated is VERY slapdash at times. Someone who’d played Grid to death wouldn’t feel things had moved-on – let along that they’d spent that money wisely.

    Grid lives in a difficult place – it’s not a sim and it’s not an arcade game and the market for such games is dominated by other titles (GT on PS, Forza on 360). The PC lacks titles in this area but sales of Grid2 on PC suggest there’s a reason for that.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      But then both Grid games are still more arcade than Forza ( GT is trailing behind in that regard nowadays ), unless the new one for Xbone changed, since i haven’t touched it yet.

      Actually, Forza/GT have at least the principle that there’s an underlying physics model that every car of widly different specs have to adhere to, while some games, especially those specialized in certain cars only, tend to give the impression that some reactions are hand crafted to look more believable.

      In Forza instead you have a core physics system that has the incredibly hard task to react believably to a Fiat 500 up until a GT1 car, you feel like you’re playing with something cohesive and decently well made, especially the tire simulation, even though it might be wonky, and that it responds somewhat correctly to car upgrades and set up.

      Eitherway, the whole point about Forza and GT is to have a “Car’s adventure” in which you buy your cars, progress through various career options, upgrade, test and customize them, with a plethora of collectible vehicles ( GT is better at finding the odd car that none knew existed before ) and an infinite array of tuning options that makes everything you own unique and that lets you try and transform the car you love in a competitive beast.

      You can still find a lot of piece of shit cars in there and some cool stuff from all ages. I’m tired of the same R35 GTR in all games, what if i want a clumsy looking R32, what if i want to try and make it better? Not shiny enough for some games.

      In this light, the PC doesn’t have a single game like that.

      • derbefrier says:

        nope and its a damn shame. I have been eyeballing the new forza for my xbone(steam sales and such have spoiled me and its hard to cough up 60 bucks for a game anymore) but I know because of lack of the PC having anything like the Forza\GT games I will eventually get it. I am not a hardcore sim type of player I like the balance Forza has between arcade and sim and I love spending hours tweaking and testing my cars to squeeze that extra tenth of a second on a quarter mile and nothing on PC rivals the selection of cars these games have. Theres just nothing on PC that compares to it sadly. PC gamers seem to either want something like trackmania or the most hardcore sim they can find. there is no middle ground for PC racing fans, and if there are our voices are drowned out by the those that think anything less than a 100% representation of real life is for CoD kiddies with ADD while those inclined to more arcade games have ther burnouts and need for speeds and are happy.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          I know right? i’m so desperate to play something like that on PC that i’m emulating GT4 on PCSX2, it doesn’t look that crappy with full anysotropic, custom shader and supersampling! Too bad it doesn’t have the same complexity of the newer stuff.

          I want a new Forza or GT but really, coughing up the cash is hard, especially as some friends tell me that F5 made some compromises in numbers and it’s likely that a F6 will be much more complete.

        • trjp says:

          I think it’s wrong to say there’s a lack of racing options on PC – i think the problem is that there are probably too many (which divides the community) and that people are expecting too many eggs in each basket.

          Games like GT and Forza cannot be made without significant financial backing and a mass-market who’ll pay well for them. MS/Sony enable them for their consoles but there’s no equivalent to that for PC gaming.

          That said, I think people are asking for too much and missing the downsides of having it. The more cars you have, the less individually they will handle – the more tracks, the less detail and care those tracks will have and the more players, the more the game will have to pander to a range of skills and ambitions in those players (including the guy who wants to drive around backwards)

          There’s no lack of driving games on PC – it’s just people are being too picky, wanting 100s of cars and tracks is unrealistic and unnecessary and the market has players spread too thinly to make competition easy.

          Oh – and sim/wheel players are fucking snobs who get everything they deserve ;0

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            That is true, Forza had that vague feel about a lot of cars being somewhat too similar, then again you are allowed to dance around the problem to an extent that it doesn’t matter too much, while being allowed to pick the ones you love. In retrospect i think their magical trick was just that.

            I agree on the rest though, i own all Forza games except the last one and i clearly remember the first one being far less polished, back when it was an almost unknown game, and with off course far far less content ( although there was night driving!!! ).

            Still, Microsoft could be a little less greedy, they’ll still sell consoles even if they port that damn stupid game, a huge portion of the console playerbase still thinks that what surrounds the PC is a dark art afterall.

    • andrew84555 says:

      The very vocal PC sim racing community has it in for these types of games. Everything that is not 100% sim is viciously attacked rather than allowed to coexist. I play Assetto Corsa and rfactor 2, which are great sims, but terrible games and sometimes I just want to play a racing game.

      Project cars initially set out to be a Forza/GT game for the PC and current (now next gen) consoles, but it has been taken over by that sim racing community. I have a project cars membership, and the drivel that gets spouted over the arcade/sim debate on the forums is mind boggling, to the point where arcade/’sim-cade’/playability has become a swear word. Grid Autosport was instantly mocked by the pCars community including developers on the forum (‘bullshots’ and ‘believable physics’). The irony is the physics of pCars really aren’t that great.

  11. A.i. says:

    Let me guess, they will be removing bumper cam and body deformations, each iteration is turning this once sought after title into a Justen Bieber of racing titles. No cockpit view no buy.

  12. Artificial says:

    Not remotely interested in anymore Codemaster’s racing games. Grid 2 was absolutely dreadful. They’re all just the same dumbed now, extremely bad arcade racers. Now not every game has to be a hardcore simulator, but it would be nice to be treated with a bit of respect.

  13. Screamer says:

    So anyone as Codemasters if the gonna remove GFWL from Dirt 2 an 3 yet? Which means an irritating offline mode in 2 and no saves in 3. They one of the companies that are ignoring the issue all the while putting it on sales left right and centre

    • iainl says:

      I haven’t checked if they’ve done it yet, but DIRT 3 has been confirmed by Codies as getting a GFWL removal update before the clock runs out. 2 won’t, however.

  14. Rapzid says:

    I REALLY enjoyed GRID. GRID 2 was a disappointment before it was even released with the removal of cockpit views(everyone I know uses them, so where are they getting their numbers?). But the REAL travesty was the racing I encountered after purchasing it. You are pretty much forced to “muscle” your way into the lead every race. AI pays no attention to you when making their turns. And the drifting. GAWD. I found out really early on that you had to powerslide every turn in every vehicle type to get the good lap times. Racing line be damned. Sad face :| If they hadn’t about-faced I would not have considered another purchase at all. I thing much of this was compounded coming off Dirt3( another sad face :| ) and into GRID2. Double disappoint. If they can get this back in line with GRID I’ll maybe get it 1/2 off. If they can get Dirt4 back in line with Dirt/Dirt2 and on ***RALLY***, I’ll maybe get it 1/2 off. THEN, if they can continue that trend through to GRID4 and Dirt5 I might considered testing the waters again with a first day purchase. Otherwise, no, no more money from me Codies.

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