What, Wheelie (Really)? Project Cars 2 Announced

Now that Project Cars (I refuse to roll with that daft ‘Community Assisted Racing Simulator’ backronym) has been out for a whole six weeks, it’s time for a sequel. Yes, really.

Developers Slightly Mad Studios yesterday announced Project Cars 2 [official site], a follow-up to their 2015 race ’em up. It’ll bring new ‘loose surface’ track types, co-op career, and more. Slightly Mad are once again crowdfunding it and does this feel a bit weird to anyone else?

The first Cars is not really finished, for starters, still suffering from bugs, wonky AI, and wacky physics. Slightly Mad say they have “an existing schedule of on demand content already underway to continue providing Project Cars with fresh new features, updates, and great things to play with throughout the year”, but it might be nice to give people what they paid for before asking them for more. That statement’s still only intent, too.

Anyway, their sequel plans include dirt, gravel, mud, and snow tracks, new types of racing like Rallycross and Touge, and a customisable test track for you to make your own and play with your cars. They’re also planning co-op career support, letting you and a chum sit together in a little metal bug and shout instructions at each other (alongside other modes).

Slightly Mad are trying to fund Cars 2 development on their WMD Portal again, which is somewhere between crowdfunding and investment, paying a share of profits to backers. Putting up at least £50 will get you in on the lowest tier, offering access to dev builds.

Big studios are always hustling for their next project or sequel once a game’s out the door, of course – they couldn’t survive if they didn’t. That process normally takes place behind closed doors, so seeing it is a bit weird. Asking for cash not from publishers but rather people who still don’t really have what you sold them the first time is it a bit icky. But hey, it’s your money. If you have £10,000 to spend on a Michelin-starred dinner date with Slighty Mad’s head of studio, you may be less concerned about such things. Don’t be surprised if Cars 2 launches wonky and Slightly Mad quickly announce something new, though.

48 Comments

  1. SprintJack says:

    What, Rally?

    • Premium User Badge

      IJC says:

      Yeah, it’s as if nobody on this project carses about driving the community away. Except on customizable test tracks.

      • Kollega says:

        I’m just going to join in and race an obvious point: the frankly insane sequelization these days is getting really, really tyresome.

    • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

      Well if you ask me, I think it’s campletely ridiffulous. They rally should be focusing on making the first one up to the caliper they promised to begin with.

    • phelix says:

      You’d think they were slightly mad.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      It looks like SMS does not understand the differential in what drives kickstarted vs factory-backed games.

    • GWOP says:

      If they can’t find traction with the community, consumers will be drifting away very soon.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    On one hand, as you say, this is not anything new: A big part of a game’s developers moves on to a new game after the first one is pushed out of the door, whilst the post-release QA is done by a smaller team. It’s not at all uncommon to seek new investors this early.

    However, SMS does not communicate this at all (and in fact, Ian Bell has been rather harsh towards the people who complain about this), which if anything shows they *REALLY* need something like a community manager. At the very least, they should take a look at Codemaster’s Dirt Rally team and see how they do things.

    SMS’s communication right now results in pushing people away. This is a valid defense against the constant negativity of the internet (and perhaps the only defense against the perpetually negative), but it won’t do the company’s financial health any good.

    • grimdanfango says:

      I thought the same at first, but I don’t think they really *do* need a community manager. After looking into it, I’ve realised their customer ecosystem seems to be primarily based around Ian Bell personally suppressing negativity, on his own forum, and attempting to do the same on others. He rapidly creates forum-martyrs by banning people on a whim, but the net effect seems to be that the true scope of the issues plaguing the game, and the true scope of the negativity towards them are suppressed enough that everyone else keeps buying into the dream.
      It’s a system that actually seems to work… ridicule the “haters” pointing out the flaws in your game and the agonisingly slow and scattershot way that you go about fixing them, and everyone will rally around and dismiss them as well.

      • barelyhomosapien says:

        Kerberos Studios own forums operate in a similar manner or at least did around the debacle of the Swords of the Stars 2 release. The ridicule and banning of people upset with the state of a product that was selling for full retail but was in very poor state was relatively common, I can’t say if it still is, maybe there was a culture shift.

        Slightly off topic and his may have just been my own personal perception but there even seemed to be a subtle attempt at demonising paradox, who published it, towards the end of the patching of the “enhanced edition” saying that they couldn’t properly fix the game as the money dried up.

        They have a very loyal core fanbase so it must work. But they also have some fairly solid titles to back it up.

  3. Da5e says:

    “Slightly Mad Studios were then able to crowd-fund and create the original Project CARS IP that went on to become one of the seminal racing titles of its generation”

    Wait, what? It’s been out for like a month, and it doesn’t work properly. I think they’re jumping the gun a little with their grandiose claims of reverence and influence, there.

    • Malco says:

      Seminal: strongly influencing later developments

      So I guess they’re saying it has influenced other games… I wonder which one?

      • SanguineAngel says:

        P… Project Cars 2?

      • AshRolls says:

        One thing that springs to mind is that the massive Forza series has had to step up their game with the day / night and dynamic weather effects due to innovations in Project Cars.

        • jayeffaar says:

          Maybe, but considering Forza Horizon 2, which came out last fall and is based on the Forza 5 engine, already had a day/night cycle and weather effects, it’s entirely likely those features were coming to Forza 6 no matter what.

          The only things that could potentially be influential in Project CARS are it’s career mode structure, and the myriad of adjustable settings on consoles (which, to be honest, could more be a consequence of SMS not having had time to come up with decent defaults for stuff, more than an actual feature — the 37 adjustable parameters for the force feedback that was pretty much unusable out of the box certainly seem to suggest that).

  4. SuicideKing says:

    Slightly Mad are once again crowdfunding it and does this feel a bit weird to anyone else?

    It does feel weird, though one justification I read was that crowdfunding allows the studio to go publisher free, and in that way it makes sense to me.

    HOWEVER, the timing is what’s bothering me – they should at least fix the first game (I don’t own it, BTW, just going off reports) before asking people to fund another.

    • Lengle says:

      Didn’t they do a bit of a 180 with the whole WMD stuff for PCars? Didn’t they stop open development and tuck it away or something? I wasn’t part of WMD, but I recall a point where they got some 3rd party backing involved and stopped the whole WMD side of the project and developed it more traditionally.

      I’m probably recalling it all incorrectly. They did publish the game themselves from the looks of things. So fair enough.

      • ikehaiku says:

        Nope. We (I) backed/invested in the game as a community, but ended up with a publisher (Bandai-Namco) anyway… So yeah. Not from me, not this time. And certainly not after how pCARS turned out to be.

        Also: I think this time, its is a more “traditional crowd-funding campaign. They had issue with [local GB IRS] on how the game was founded, so, no “investment” this time

  5. GetUpKidAK says:

    “which is somewhere between crowdfunding and investment, paying a share of profits to backers”

    I’m pretty sure this isn’t true for pCars 2. The FSA had some pretty strong words about it the first time around. This is just plain old asking for £50 minimum to fund a sequel.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      I think you’re right; RPS needs to go and do a quick fact check and correct their story, if appropriate.

      It does seem a little soon to be asking for more money and £50 strikes me as quite pricey for entry level.

  6. salgado18 says:

    Woho! We launched the game you paid for!

    Now we’re making a new and improved version of what you just paid, rendering the game you barelly played obsolete less than a month after launch! And we need you to fund that new game, showing that you want to play something else than what you already bought from us! Give money plz!

  7. SanguineAngel says:

    I’ve got no issue with the studio shifting primary focus to a new project, that’s fairly standard I am sure. However, it being a sequel to the game they /just/ released seems like a slap in the face to all their customers – particularly their retail customers.

    In reality, given the previous dev time Project CARs it seems likely that it’ll be a good long time before we see PC2 so it shouldn’t really matter. It’s just an odd decision to announce it at this time.

    And not just from a community management point of view. Surely, if they wanted to launch a new crowd funding campaign, it would make sense for them to build their fan base for the game which they wish to sequelise. Give the game time to gather a following. Devote the time to fixing and improving the game so that their customers have a higher opinion of the service they provide and greater confidence in their future endeavours. And perhaps, just perhaps, give it enough time that their audience might start to /want/ a sequel.

    The horse has bolted now though.

  8. Foosnark says:

    I was pretty excited for Project CARS originally, only holding off because I don’t have a racing wheel or even a working analog controller.

    When it came out I started to hear the grumbling of players over the rumbling of engines. I picked up DiRT Rally in the Steam Sale and despite being “unfinished” it’s brilliant. It brings back memories of off-roading as a teenager, though at considerably less speed, less destruction of the vehicles involved, and mostly less dramatic environments. And it actually is driveable with a keyboard, until that Steam controller arrives on my doorstep.

    • AshRolls says:

      I have both dirt rally and project cars, both are excellent. Of the two pCars is getting more playtime because it has more content and at the moment I am preferring blasting around tracks rather than through dark welsh forests!

    • ButteringSundays says:

      Good god you play Dirt Rally with a keyboard?! Might as well be using a telephone or a microwave faceplate you mad-person. How do you deal with the lack of analogue input?

      The wheel is worth it for the immersion alone, but it’s not an insignificant investment – I play a lot of racing games so it was worth it for me – if it’s an option for you though then do it, it really does change the experience considerably (from a controller, let alone a keyboard!).

      • BluePencil says:

        I’ve been playing Dirt Rally with the keyboard and I absolutely *adore* it. I guess I’m unlikely to get out of the bottom league but I find it so much fun. I really like the way the car responds. I have never played a game with a wheel (aside from in arcades back in the 80s and 90s) and I imagine if I spent a couple of hours on a wheel then returning back to keys would be like returning from a Royal ball to lick gruel off the dirt floor of my hovel. But since I know no better I am enormously happy to play Dirt Rally as I am.

  9. Mud says:

    ” Project CARS overtakes 1,000,000 sales! ”

    Why the crowd funding, looks to me SMS have enough cash to start the new project on their own.

  10. AshRolls says:

    I really don’t see the problem with this, it’s standard practice in the games industry to move a part of the development team on after the first ships (or even before). For once a developer is honest about what they are doing, inviting collaboration with the community and openly communicating…. what do they get for this… heaps of vitriol. No wonder games companies are controlled by tight lipped PR spin doctors and we are fed CGI trailers and scant details for years on end.

    Every major studio does works their dev teams like this, so SMS are getting flak why? Over entitled children on the internet.

    Project CARS is already excellent, and the (fairly minor) bugs are being fixed. Project CARS won’t be along for 2 or 3 years, what’s the problem?

    • P.Funk says:

      “Every major studio does works their dev teams like this, so SMS are getting flak why? Over entitled children on the internet.”

      No, more like most sim developers don’t move the majority of their people to new projects 6 weeks after a game launches.

      This isn’t CODBLOPS, its a sim. Sims usually live off of a single release for years and thrive on DLC or free content while the developers update the engine and include more features. I want to know why they’re making a new title and not incorporating their developments into the existing one as both free releases and DLC?

      Sim development is not like any old AAA game development. BTW, nice use of the entitled gamer line. That never gets old.

      • AshRolls says:

        Project Cars IS planning to support the release for years though, no where is it stated otherwise. pCars 2 is way way in the distance. It’s called forward planning. Sims aren’t some magical land where the laws of finance and software development work differently, typically a sim team is just much much smaller than the large studio that worked on pCars. SMS has over 140 employees, and are leaving 40 of them on pcars. Kunos (assetto corsa) has only 30 employees overall! To keep 140 employees wages paid means planning for the future, and in fact leaving 40 full time employees is a significant commitment in itself.

        All the whingers like you would achieve if you had your way is bankrupting companies due to your incredible naivety… So yes, you and the other people are over entitled gamers.

        • P.Funk says:

          Entitlement over what? Many feel that the release of PCars under delivered. They feel entitled to the product they supported and they feel a bit suspicious when they’re turning to the community to fund the next one, which they admit they don’t need funding for apparently, and are moving staff off the game which they feel isn’t what it should be.

          You still didn’t address the question of why ongoing development isn’t being used to expand the current iteration into a better one. PCars2 may be years off but most sims do live on for the better part of a decade on a single engine. What is SMS doing with PCars2 that cannot be rolled into PCars? Its a simple question.

          This is called skepticism. This is what happens when we’re not just consumers but also people who invest in a product at the development stage. Its effectively investors asking “why you asking us for money to do the next thing when I don’t think you’re done the first one? Why are you gonna take my new money and not use it to improve the thing we’re not even done with yet?”

          Really, what is PCars2 going to be? Is it just PCars with lots of new stuff in it or is it a whole new engine, a quantum leap ahead from this one? Is it just capabilities that could be introduced into this one?

          For instance with all these employees shifted to making the new game does that mean that PCars won’t receive any major engine updates to improve the physics? Will these major improvements be simply the bulk of PCars2 on the same engine?

          But please, just insult me.

          • AshRolls says:

            You make some valid sounding points but you haven’t clearly thought it through in a practical sense. So to address your question… why can’t the pCars2 features be part of pCars1 DLC? From a software development point of view pCars2 is a clean slate, making it a lot easier to quickly iterate and develop without all the legacy code and existing user base. So let’s say that pCars1 chassis simulation is going to be improved,… do you release that as DLC and have some users on one chassis model, and others on the original?… do you reset all the leaderboards?… do you release it for free to all users despite the fact it took hundreds of thousands of pounds to develop? All of these are not problems when you start with a fresh slate.

            I am with you in that IDEALLY you would buy a game, then you would get free updates and support forever. But as I have said before that is naive and idealistic, not practical in the real world where developers cost money to employ.

            Kunos have promised to support AC for 10 years… great! However Kunos are a small indie developer, pCars is a release on a whole different financial scale. The only way that you could have that with pCars is if the developer sacked 100 people and just left the 40 working on continued updates, about what they would be able to pay for from DLC (and still larger than the entire Kunos team). As stated before, 40 staff is still a significant investment of money into ongoing support, and I expect that it will result in some great new features for the game.

            To reiterate, there are MORE people still working on pCars than the entire Kunos team for Assetto Corsa.

            So I would ask of you…. you haven’t explained how you think a AAA studio can afford to keep all their staff paid on DLC money alone without another product release in the pipeline?

            I don’t think you have fully understood the development process for pCars either. SMS aren’t asking for funds because they need the money to build the game, they are offering the option to help steer and develop the game. This isn’t ‘pay £50’, be passive and get early access. This is ‘pay £50’ and get to colloborate with the devs on the direction of the next game.

            So yes, again, I think that you are over-entitled and that your scepticism is based on naivety and idealism.

  11. Jakob91 says:

    First time they asked our money to finance their project. I bought it right away based on the visuals and the countless promises and ended up deceived as updates were being added. It’s clear they were not aiming at hardcore simulation like it was announced. Now that they made millions with it and failed to deliver most of the promises for Project Cars, a game that still has issues, they are back at it and apparently and still need money from supporters. I guess if it worked the first time, it might as well work a second time. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice.. not gonna happen.

    • Jakob91 says:

      Oh and by the way, they are not paying a share to backers.. that’s PR crap like the first time. They are giving you some rebate coupon if you buy the final unfinished product on Steam and that’s it.

  12. Chimpyang says:

    From the PCars forum – they are keeping a good number of staff to support the first game. Good explanation for everything else as well.

    link to forum.projectcarsgame.com

    And PCars 2 was announced a few weeks ago with the intention to fundraise again- at least internally on WMD.

  13. KastaRules says:

    Meh, I think I’ll pass

  14. Frye2k11 says:

    I recently invested in a steering wheel (some logitech that came recommended) and with it I purchased Project Cars, Assetto Corsa, rFactor, Dirt Rally and Stock Car Extreme. I really want to get into racing because I feel very much drawn to iRacing but I am a terrible driver.

    Project Cars is by far my least favorite of the lot despite being the most expensive one. I don’t really understand how they have such a vocal, loyal fan base. My favorite would be Assetto Corsa or Stock Car Extreme.

    I am by no means an expert racing aficionado but Project Cars feels all wrong. So I figured it was made for gamepad which is fine with me, but it felt even worse. I like how it looks though and I respect what they did with a relatively small budget (parroting more knowledgeable people here).

    • Jason Moyer says:

      “I don’t really understand how they have such a vocal, loyal fan base.”

      link to pretendracecars.net

      If you think iRacing is something that may interest you, I recommend sticking with Assetto Corsa as it’s probably the closest thing around to the old Papyrus sims and iRacing as far as the feel goes. In fact I’d go a step further and jump into some pickup races just to practice racing with other people (keeping in mind that the occasional chaos of a public race in AC is less prevalent in iRacing). I’d also sign up for the iRacing newsletter, as they frequently send out deals for new members that may make the expense a little less daunting for someone who just wants to see if it’s for them.

  15. P.Funk says:

    Is there any reason why this will be a new release and not just an ongoing project to expand the capabilities of the current game?

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Obviously they will be starting with a blank page and writing a new engine from scratch. They certainly wouldn’t take the huge amount of work that other people have paid for and use it to make a different game that actually works so that they can make more money. That would be crazy.

  16. Jason Moyer says:

    Kinda wish I hadn’t bought PCars. Assetto Corsa was a more complete product during it’s Early Access period than PCars currently is, and it’s barely at the beginning of its 10 year support window.

  17. ButterflyRogers says:

    You would have to be slightly mad to do something like that.

  18. Nerve says:

    If they don’t have new revenue streams they go bust. This is how a business works.

    I’m pretty sure they’ll take a lot of code from the first game (all that hard work on the weather and lighting effects won’t just be thrown away, not to mention the handling and physics. They’ll wrap a different UI around it throw in a few new modes and ship it. Next year.

    My main request is that they continue to improve the stability, fix bugs and add minor features into the old and then the new game. I’ll happily pay another £30 for an improved game with some new features. There is nothing else like this for PC right now.