Diverted: Project CARS Delayed To Dodge Competition

Ooh no, it's far too wet out there. Best wait until spring.

Project CARS? More like Project DELAYED! When we last gawped at Slighty Mad’s oh-so-pretty drive ’em up, it was slated for release in November. Now that November is almost here, they’ve announced hey, wait, no, it’s been delayed into next year. Until March 20th, to be precise — a delay of four months. The official story is that this “positions the title away from the competitive holiday scene dominated by household names” and, sure, gives more time to work on it too.

Here are some words attributed to studio head Ian Bell:

Whilst a tough decision to make, the change in release date allows the game the greatest chance of success and visibility, and the opportunity to polish the game even further to the high standards that both ourselves and our community demand and expect. We’re eager for you all to see what we’ve been working on in just a few months.

A delay of four months is a mighty big one, and sounds to my cynical ear like the game simply isn’t done, but supposedly they really mean this. I’m going off a screencap of a post from a private forum here, but assuming that’s real (and everyone says it is), development director Andy Garton explained in the backers forum shortly before this announcement:

Primarily, this has come about because a couple of other big games have announced they are shipping around the same time as our planned first date. We know it might be a little hard to believe but this would have had a very significant impact on our initial sales (and the initial sales period is critical as that’s when the majority occur). It became immediately clear therefore that we’d need to move away from this release window.

One of these big games is presumably Ubisoft’s open-world wheel ’em up The Crew, which announced a December 2nd release date earlier this month. While it’s far more arcade-y than Slightly Mad’s sim-a-sim, it does have the Ubisoft name and marketing budget behind it. Garton added that while they “could indeed have made” a November launch, it wouldn’t have been quite as good as they wanted, so the polish time is welcome. A bit of column A, a bit of column B.

That leaves five months to think of a better name. I nominate Project BROOM BROOM.


  1. Joshua says:

    I am personally a big fan of Project: VROOOAAAAAAAP! purr purr purr purr VROAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Yeah, that sounds much more exciting than Project BROOM BROOM which makes me think of Viscera Cleanup Detail, specifically the parts where you use a broom to clean up the place.

  2. atticus says:

    they probably can’t afFord to lose any potential buyers

  3. Bravado says:

    Dat graphics tho…

    • Matchstick says:

      Any game that can make me want to drive a Mk.1 Ford Escort is doing something right.

      • RARARA says:

        Why wouldn’t you want to drive an Escort in the first place?

  4. melnificent says:

    The crew is nothing special really. It’s Assasins creed/far cry/watch_dogs only with cars instead of people. Played the beta and found myself turned off by it all.

    Project CARS was the game I’ve been looking forward to since I heard about it and the screenshots make me want it more.

    • SIDD says:

      Same for me…I think Project: Cars might be the game that finally convinces me to spend the big bucks on a decent steering wheel too.

      As much as I’d love an open world driving experience rather than a track oriented one, I was just too disappointed in the car handling and physics in The Crew to the point where I cancelled my pre-order (sure I’ll get it when it goes on a massive sale but not until then). Instead I’m hoping someone somewhere will mod Project: Cars to allow for a little world exploration but until then I’ll “settle” for some track racing.

      • SooSiaal says:

        If this is THE game that will make you get a wheel, I feel sorry for you. The steering in this game is horrible ever since the first release and never improved really, but I havent tried this game in a long time, awful and confusing GUI kept me away (plus weird driving behaviours). Get a steering wheel for a proper sim, not these arcadey things

        • SIDD says:

          “Get a steering wheel for a proper sim, not these arcadey things” – I was under the impression that Project: Cars was striving to be sim, NOT arcade, but since I’m not a backer I haven’t tried it and hence haven’t got any first-hand experience of their car handling.

          So if Project: Cars is so much shit as you imply, and if you can manage to tone down the condescending attitude a bit, then please enlighten me: What alternative do you suggest (keeping in mind that I have absolutely NO interest in Formula series racing; and I’m not particular interested in throwing money into the bottomless pit that iRacing seems to be).

          • ikehaiku says:

            PCars won’t be mod-able – at least, not in the “mod a car or a track into it” sense.
            You can try Assetto Corsa. I, personnally, ain’t a huge fan, but it does the job – and it just been updated to a 1.0 Release Candidate.
            I’ve only play it with a wheel, but I’ve heard (from my gaming/racing community) it works very well with a pad.
            There’s a hill climb stage in the vanilla content, already a few others via mods, if you want a change of pace from a purely “track” race.
            Be aware, the IA is not that good (yet?) – I don’t care, I only play it MP, but that’s something to keep in mind (or do a little more research on)

            You can try RaceRoom Racing Experience, the F2p from SimBin (sorry, “Sector 3” now) – the latest update did good thing with it. Plus, you can try for free. Beware that the paid content is just overpriced…

            Or, if you don’t mind a bit outdated graphics, try the old Simbin title, GTR2 or Race 07 (w/ the GTR Evo DLC), usually available for< $5 on Steam (sometimes on one of the small bundle sites) – you'll got a full package, good IA (especially on GTR2), almost 10 years of mods to try…

          • SIDD says:

            Thanks, ikehaiku.
            I’ll do a bit of research and see if there’s something in that list that tickles my fancy :)

          • P.Funk says:

            Project Cars is decidedly within the SimCade genre. People who are serious about racing sims think PCars is alright. The physics are not as refined as other titles and the force feedback (otherwise known as the only real thing connecting the player to the car in sims) is pretty mediocre to bad.

            Assetto Corsa is a proper sim sim, and it looks nearly as good. PCars has the Michael Bay factor on its side but ultimately real simmers are going to walk away disappointed.

            As for the best sims to play Game Stock Car Extreme is pretty excellent. Its not as pretty but its a better sim with fantastic FF. rFactor 2 would be a great option if it had enough content and it undoubtedly has the best FF most have ever used.

            pCars will never be a simmer’s sim. Most of the people who will fall in love with pCars, such as the screenshot crowd, won’t ever know the difference. They will think its hyper realistic because they lose control of their car and wipe out where Forza would let them survive. The real simmer’s however will hate pCars because they’ll lose control of their car and wipe out where Assetto Corsa or Game Stock Car or rFactor 2 would let them recover because pCars has horrible Force Feedback or wonky traction.

        • cHeal says:

          Project Cars is definitely a sim. It’s a sim because it simulates the physical mechanics of the car. End of. Force feedback is better on AC? fine. AC feels better? fine. So you prefer AC? Brilliant. That does not change the fact that pcars has complete physical modelling of car and environment, even more extensive than AC I would wager. Maybe some of the numbers are off, producing less realistic results? That’s a different debate. It’s still a sim.

  5. ikehaiku says:

    I’m very disapointed with how SMS is handling this (I’m a funder, so I have access to the game).
    The announcement that the game was to be release in November, about 2 months ago, came as a real surprise – the game was clearly a long way to be anywhere near a finish state (and still is).
    Of course, that came just a tad after they announced they had “found an editor” in Namco-Bandai. But don’t worry guys, that’s just for the physical distribution (as in, consoles) part. Still, for a game heavily founded by the community, that was hard to swallow.
    And hard to believe that there was no connection.
    And then, just when the release date was announced, yeah pre-orders! With bonus DLCs! Again, for a game heavily founded by the community, that was hard to swallow.
    And now, without a surprise, the release is pushed back to March – a more realistic date that would really put the game near a finish state.

    If I were cynical, I’d say the timing of the November release annoucement, then the opening of pre-orders, and then of a delay is way too convenient.
    But since this is game heavily founded by the community, I mean, no, no way SMS would pull out something like that. Right? Right?

    • Cinek says:

      TBH: I don’t mind pre-order DLCs, and I most certainly don’t give a crap about their cooperation with Namco-Bandai on a consoles, but the fact that game still isn’t looking like a finished one is rather disturbing. I hear mixed reports – some people say SMS could release CARS tomorrow, so say it needs few months more to get it release-worthy.
      In either case though – I very much want this game to succeed (so far decided to sit down and wait for a release), but the info about all of the problems with the game is rather worrying.

      • ikehaiku says:

        To be fair, I know nothing about game dev., so when I say March is “realistic”, it’s a guesstimate.
        Physics is pretty much done as a whole (as in, tire model), now it’s just up to fine tuning for every particular car.
        Tracks are hit-and-miss. Some are almost ready, some have lots of work to do.
        To me, the main issue I have is optimisation – it doesn’t look that good on my i5 35.. and GTX660 if I want to keep a constant (ish) 60fps. But again, I’m no technical guy, so got no idea about the amount of work that represents.

        And then there’s IA…I don’t care much for it (only play MP within a league-ish setting), but if you want good reviews on a multiplatform simracing game…

        I, too, want this game to turn out good (and for the most part, it allready is) – pretty much because the more simdriving game there is, the happier I am.

  6. trjp says:

    I don’t buy their “competition” excuse for a second – they chose the date and they must know it’s a busy period (or at least could have worked that out LONG before now)

    A cynical part of me says they chose a plausible date to get some promotion and pre-orders going on – knowing they were unlikely to hit it and leaving the delay announcement as late as they dared to keep things rolling

    The game clearly isn’t done – having a console release means having to go through approval/certification so it’s not like the PC where you get to release any old shit, you need a finished product some way ahead of your street date.

    I don’t get this ‘initial sales period’ nonsense either – that only matters if you plan to release a game and then stop supporting it (as they did with their last 3 games) – but that’s not what people are expecting from pCars, they think it’s a proper sim with a long shelf life and where the initial sales are less important than it gaining long-term traction as the sim-of-choice for race leagues etc..

    Note: They already have a lot of their PC income anyway, their early-adopters will be a BIG chunk of their market although they stand to lose some of the content they have atm as it will be parcelled-off into DLC – which is something I think is going to cause some rattle-waving!?

    • Gargenville says:

      Yeah having played the thing the planned release date looked pretty wildly optimistic. Last time I fired it up my Caterham sank through the tarmac down into purgatory three times in a row.

  7. FreeTom says:

    I may have to upgrade my PC for this.

    Yeah, I know – the specs aren’t that demanding. I’ve left it that long.

  8. Rian Snuff says:

    The only reason I’ve bought racing games since Dirt Showdown is because of Project Cars.
    It’s so god damn beautiful I got itchy for a next generation high end racer.
    So far the closest I’ve come is The Next Car game which I love, but of course is very different. Ha.
    Coresetta seems awesome. Race Room seems like a skimmed down Project Cars..
    Coming along nicely but still I hate the payment method and won’t ever give them money I doubt.

    Yea’ I’m basically just playing other racing games because theres no beta or alpha open to people now.
    They should of just kept letting people back them / donate for beta access..
    I think people anticipate this game more than they dev’s realize.
    And it would of been awesome to release it during winter.
    Noticed it hidden in the steam game archives…


  9. cHeal says:

    Regards the game not being finished, it was definitely going to be tight but since September there have been enormous steps made in polishing it off so it’s possible they would have made the release date but for sure the game would have had a few more bugs and areas lacking in polish. In September I played the game and almost nothing seemed to work correctly, with bugs everywhere, unplayable AI, broken pitstops etc.. 1 month later and AI is almost release quality (bog standard – I’d hope for much better for release personally), I am hitting very few bugs and I had my first properly working pitstops. It moved on leaps and bounds in just a few weeks but that is the nature of software development.

    I think ideally they needed 2-3 weeks more development which would have been dangerously close to Christmas and given that working so hard toward the planned date was possibly not going to pay off with so many major titles releasing at the same time I genuinely believe the decision was predominantly dictated by the competition on that date. When the date was chosen, most of the other games hadn’t been announced for that date. There were internal chat on the forums about how busy the date was becoming and that, especially in the case of GTA there was some concern.

    It really is unfortunate that they couldn’t continue to allow early access to the game but it was taken out of their hands.