In the way that mood cycles can revolve around Christmas or birthdays, do diehard game fans slip into emotional rhythms around marketing cycles? Do Call of Duty fans start to feel excited around the start of May, fidgeting and laughing more than usual, expecting the announcement of the next annualised sequel? Is E3 why I grow increasingly angry and desperate to flee to a forest over May?
Late July brings announcements from Codemasters of their next Formula 1 race ’em up, which is why you may have been anxiously checking your phone and inbox. But as well as F1 2014, today they announced another game too. One breaking the rhythm. A “next-gen” F1 game is coming earlier than usual next year. What does this mean? And how do you feel?
F1 2014 will arrive on October 17, towards the end of the Formula 1 season as these games usually are. It’s broadly the same version as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, as it often is.
But the unnamed (ha!) 2015 game is only for PC and those shiny new consoles, which presumably means it’s prettier. It’ll launch “earlier in the Formula One season” (which begins in March), Codies said in today’s announcement. They’ll update it throughout the 2015 season to reflect the competition. Beyond that, they don’t have much to say on it yet. But we do know about F1 2014.
It brings the usual selection of updated tracks and cars and whatnot, along with a handful of changes. It’s got an expanded scenario mode, a refresh of difficulty levels (including a new Very Easy setting), and a “driver evaluation system that tunes game settings to your skill level.” Which all sounds like the usual minor annual sequel touch-ups, coupled with a plan to make it less horrifying to newcomers–dandy as long as the people who fancy a challenge still have one.
But will the 2015 release pattern stick? How will people adjust to this? Will F1 fans use light therapy boxes in December to simulate the summer months when they’d usually be waiting for launch? In August, might they play behind blackout curtains to fake darkest winter lest their bodies become conflicted? Would I still be blotto all December if Christmas shifted to July?