The Formula 1 season ends in November. Codemasters always release their F1 games in October. It’s a release window that’s never really worked; by this point the anticipation and excitement for the season is over, and playing it is just a painful reminder that your favourite race team only came in half-way down the results table.
This year Codemasters are releasing F1 2015 in June, right in the middle of the season. Getting the release window right isn’t the only smart thing about the year’s F1, though. It’s a broad re-think of the game, with brand new tech rumbling beneath the surface. From the way the cars handle to the way races are presented, every effort has been made to make F1a must-have on the petrolhead calendar.
F1 2015 will be the first F1 game Codemasters release on the most recent consoles, so a huge chunk of new processing power has been made available. Here on the PC, that means we get to make the most of that and then some. The new EGO engine upgrade has required that every component that makes an F1 game has had to be re-built. The car handling system is completely new, and unique to every car on the track. The lighting and weather systems add some impressive near-photorealistic visuals. More fine details are able to be processed, meaning the feedback from the tyres to the driver in various conditions is far more detailed and textured. Just by the feel of the ride, you’ll be able to tell if the tyres are wearing, or if there’s water pooling on the tarmac.
This not only affects you as a player, but the AI, too. Despite being lines of code, their digital brains are being fed all the same feedback as you. They’re also not the wet towels of yesteryear; instead of being submissive in the corners they’ll exert aggression and determination to overtake.
There’s new ways to show off after the races, too. Thanks to all the extra power available, it’s able to make wider panning shots in replays, far closer to what you see on TV when watching Formula 1. The whole weekend is simulated, including wandering around the pits, and commentary from Anthony Davidson and David Croft will dynamically alter and recall the events of previous races.
For the completionist in you, you’ll also be able to play the entire 2014 season in F1 2015’s new engine. It has all been rebuilt using the new tech and features for this year, and comes on-disc with the physical release of the game.
The EGO engine is built purely for F1 simulation, and that certainly goes a long way to making sure everything about F1 2015 looks refined and precisely engineered. But with the extra power bandwidth allowed thanks to not developing primarily for eight-year-old consoles, capturing the thrill of those race weekends in every details seems to be F1 2015’s best weapon. And releasing at the height of the season, no one can complain that Codemasters have failed to be relevant this year.
F1 2015 launches June 12th.