Project Codemasters – Joining Forces with SMS


Coding the Trinity

Ripping up this course with an RS200

Yes, on the 28th of November, Codemasters announced that they are going to be acquiring Slightly Mad Studios to build a brand new title for Codemasters.

Many of you will probably have heard of the titles that these two companies already make. Codemasters have three franchises.

The DiRT series is a well-known rally based series, which can be split into two subcategories – the more casual game such as DiRT 4, and then the more realistic game like DiRT Rally 2.0, the latest instalment in the franchise. Though not the official WRC game, they are partnered with FIA, which means that DiRT Rally 2.0 has plenty of RallyX tracks and cars to play with.

Racing under beautiful China’s lights

GRID has been around for just over a decade. The way it works is like a conventional track racer in some form. You have a world series and you work your way up the ranks to the Finale. GRID Autosport was the last game in 2014 until the announcement of GRID 2019, which is now out.

In addition to these two titles, they also make the Formula 1 series; Racing against virtual versions of real-life drivers, and experiencing tracks that might have never been possible in real life either.

SMS’ Games?

Now what has Slightly Mad Studios got under their belt? The first and obvious answer is the Project Cars franchise. Now I’m not a huge fan of this either, mainly due to how laughable the first game was – It’s on par with NFS Rivals! But the latest instalment in the series seems to fix a few of the problems with the game. I don’t believe that it is particularly amazing, except for the graphics, of course, they look stunning.

Unleashing a Ford GT onto the track

What might surprise you is the fact that SMS made the NFS Shift games. Yes, the 2009 and 2011 games that took the franchise known for illegal street racing, and arcade physics to the simulation world… or at least tried to. In my opinion, these two games were a good test to see how people would react to see if they prefered Need for Speed as it was or having another sim-style series. However, it didn’t get the best reactions from everyone. Not because it’s legal, track racing, otherwise there would be riots over NFS ProStreet, but because it didn’t feel “Need for Speed” enough. On their own though, they were decent games.

Future plans?

It’s a bit early to say much as not a lot has been said. However, Frank Sagnier has said “We share the same passion and vision and our new partnership will accelerate our growth. With more streaming services coming to market and the next generation of games consoles due in 2020, this is the perfect time for Codemasters to take its next step.” This is hinting at the fact that there are ideas for a future game on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox’s “Project Scarlet” and of course for PC players too. This also might hint at that it’s already in the works and it might be ready for release next year.

One idea that has been thrown around though is that they will create another Fast and Furious game. Back in 2017, we knew that Slightly Mad Studios were already very interested in the F&F franchise and have been wanting to make a game based on it. Though we haven’t seen much else from that we can’t safely assume this. On the other hand, it may be an interesting addition to Codemaster’s collection of games, as two of their games are the ‘Offical FIA/Formula’ games. So a partnership is possible…

Hurtling into the future of sim games!

In my opinion, I think they’ll end up with something like Project Cars 3, but with the knowledge coming from the expertise that Codemasters have gained over their 30+ years of developing games. All I can say is that I’m very excited to see what Slightly Mad Studios and Codemasters end up producing.

Leon Htin-Kyaw

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