Slightly Mad Studios on acquiring the epic licence and the responsibility it brings
Project Cars 2 is the second instalment in the chart-topping Project Cars motorsport franchise. That “2” means a lot to us – our passion finding such an enthusiastic audience is fantastic – because it enables us to reassess what fans loved about the first game, what we could improve for the second one, and gives us a chance to add the cars and tracks our fans have asked for.
Project Cars isn’t a car-collecting “racing” game that fudges handling and pretends at “authenticity”. We have seven real-world drivers—everyone from Ben Collins (“The Stig” from the glory days of Top Gear) to Le Mans-winner Tommy Milner – giving us constant feedback, and while that’s crucial to our DNA, it also has consequences for what our in-game manufacturers expect.
Because we’re not just a “game”, automakers anticipate their cars to be accurate not only in terms of visuals, but also feel, grip, handling, and performance.
When the first Project Cars shipped, the clamour to have more elite brands in the second instalment came across loud and clear; we knew right off the bat that a sequel without Porsche, Lamborghini, or Ferrari, was a non-starter.
Once we obtained those licenses, though, we soon found ourselves down the proverbial rabbit hole when began discussing which cars would feature in Project Cars 2.
Ferrari is a perfect example: here’s an elite brand with 70 years’ worth of history building legendary road and race cars. So the mission – mission impossible! – to decide which epic Ferraris to include… and which to leave behind for another day – was harsh.
That thorny process was lightened somewhat by “game” choices: for instance, with the racing Ferraris, we made the decision early-on to include Ferraris that have natural rivals in-game. The Ferrari 330 P4, then, was a natural fit because it was built to defeat the Ford GT 40 MK.IV, also in-game. Having drivers battle it out at Le Mans in-game with these two fabled cars at was a no-brainer.
For the road cars, though, things were far more complicated. Everyone at the studio had a favourite, and a dozen reasons to include it in the game!
We finally settled on using Ferrari’s lineage to steer us forward. That lineage proved a fertile avenue, and once we settled on that group of cars, we then selected the fastest example of each. (F40, for instance, is the “LM” race spec, the F50, the ultra-rare GT).
That lineage for us worked as follows: The latest Ferrari, LaFerrari, exists because of its predecessor, the Ferrari Enzo – the first of the “modern” hypercars that came with all its F1-derived electronics working as a package. The Enzo itself, though, was built on the foundation laid by the Ferrari F50 – the first to come with a de-tuned Formula 1-derived engine.
And the F50, in turn, was built on the legend of the F40, the last of the analogue supercars. The F40’s existence, meanwhile, was based on the success of the 288 GTO, which proved the feasibility of small-production, high-priced supercars.
Each car represents a step to the car Ferrari call LaFerrari (the Ferrari), and for us, working on these cars—the technical details, the CADs, the engine specs—is both a thrill and a massive responsibility.
Ferrari, as they say, expect, and that expectation extends to their in-game cars – they expect them to feel, handle, and sound like the real thing. So do our fans. And that’s what makes all of us burn the midnight oil as we work toward launch, on 22nd September.
It’s been, literally, quite a ride!