Another year, another F1 game. We chatted to Codemasters’ creative director, Lee Mather, about how the series has evolved with F1 2017.  

F1 2017 is Codemasters’ official accompaniment to the Formula 1 racing season. Passionate as they are, fans of the F1 game series look forward to each entry’s new instalment to the campaign mode. This year, according to creative director Lee Mather, Codemasters are bringing fans more of what they loved from 2016.

“We are building on those foundations to create an even deeper, more rounded experience. You can now select a female avatar for your driver, which is something we have been looking to do for a long time. We have also added a number of new paddock locations to add to the variety of what you will see and interact with in-between sessions on the track.”

The research and development (R&D) system is back with a wider range, with Mather comparing it to an RPG skill tree.

“That is then complemented by the new practice programs that help you earn the resource points you will need to develop the car. Developing the car isn’t the only consideration for the player in F1 2017. Upgrades aren’t always successful, so looking to spend your resource points on elements which don’t directly impact the performance of the car could be a wise strategy. The player may chose to focus their development on speeding up component delivery or quality control, reducing the risk of failed research and development on new components.

Lee Mather F1 2017

“To further complement the new R&D system, the player can also look to improve pit stop efficiency, reducing part cost, opening up simultaneous part development, or speeding up the delivery of parts. With all of these choices available to the player, it opens up a whole new element in F1 2017.”

F1 2017 is aiming to be a more realistic game, and one that stays close to the way the real drivers have to manage and coordinate their cars.

“There is also a greater emphasis on the management of your gearbox and engine,” says Mather. “Having to change either of those during a race weekend will incur penalties, so it is important that you try to limit any unnecessary wear.”

He also emphasises that everything you do impacts your perception by other teams. “[This] will give you a clearer indication of where contracts are likely to be coming from.”

Of course, the devs also have to keep pace with changes that are happening in the world of F1. In 2017, tyre width on the cars was increased, which impacts how the cars handle.

“This has meant that we have had to completely rework the physics system and refine between the aerodynamics and tyre grip.”

Finally, F1 2017 will reintroduce classic cars, and Mather can’t wait to see the fans’ reaction.

“Classic cars are a firm fan favourite and were a huge hit when we first introduced them back in 2013. It made sense to bring them back to the series but only once we were happy with the core game experience. They look, sound and feel absolutely awesome. People are going to love driving them.”

F1 2017 is out August 25.

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