Stepping into the room at Summer Game Fest: Play Days, it was hard to not take note of where F1 22 was on display. Showing off in two different stations, the team had two full racing-like rigs to let journalists jump into the experience, one complete with VR. While that may sound a bit much to try out the new instalment of a racing game, it helped shape the experience of F1 22, and show why it really is one of the most realistic racing simulators currently on the market.
The developers behind F1 22 love racing. They love the sport, and they love the cars. Stepping into the racing chair, and holding onto the wheel at the demo gave a good sense of how much attention they have put into this latest instalment of the game. Every year they bring massive teams like Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, along with the data from the best and brightest in the circuit, and they try to recreate in as much detail as possible.
“We worked with Ross Braun and his team at Formula One to understand what they were doing, so we can get the cars running up and running really early,” explained senior creative director at Codemasters Lee Mather. “They want their cars represented perfectly in the games, we want them represented perfectly in the game. So we do have fantastic access, which gives us the chance to obviously create an accurate representation of the sport.”
“The developers behind F1 22 love racing…”
Jumping into the race, that detail is on full display. The team at Codemasters have pushed the look of F1 22, to show what can be done with the engine, and how they can display real world reaction to the car based on the weather. From wheel compounds, to how you take turns, the game works to make it as real as possible.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be an expert at the sport to enjoy F1 22. I may love racing games, but compared to many, I am not a pro. So racing the cars—even in the demo—I managed to crash… a lot. But by making adjustments to the assists, and settings, you can make things much more accessible, giving you a chance to learn the systems before throwing you into the deep end.
As Lee Mather explains,
“Over the last few years, we’ve added things to help ease people into the game such as steering assist and software off track surfaces. But this year, we’ve taken it a step further. There’s now an option for adaptive AI, which basically, players were getting quite good at getting the cars around the track, but they weren’t really getting the race in, they weren’t around to the AI. Adaptive AI keeps them in the race, it keeps them wheel to wheel, it keeps the action flowing. So if players are still learning, that’s a really great way to get the full Formula One experience without the punishment of how difficult you can actually make it.”
This year is also one of the most significant changes to the rules of Formula One, so it only makes sense that F1 22 would bring these changes into their new instalment of the game. While it was still not all in place during the demo, it looks to really mix things up, and has the potential to change who is standing in the winners circle at the end of races.
“The way the car feels is totally different to previous years. But also the racing is so much closer, they are now actually able to follow so much closer. There’s going to be a lot more overtaken, as we’ve seen in sports at the moment. We’ve seen it completely change the order. For so many years now, Mercedes have been the dominant team. And for the first time in eight years, really we’re seeing Mercedes not at the front, we’ve seen Ferrari we’re seeing Red Bull again, and Mercedes making a comeback. So it’s completely changed the structure of the order of the teams as well.”
Racing through the rain, and seeing the weather make everything so much harder, the attention to detail is on full display. From the weather effects to the way the tires work on the black top, or the way the cars react to the different conditions was striking. As I mentioned, I am no expert, but even with the level of experience, it was astounding to see the performance and visual fidelity as I raced around the track at well over 200 MPH. It should be noted that while ray-tracing is in the PC version, it will only be utilized in replays on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
From the attention to detail, to how your engine works, F1 22 seems to really take the sport of Formula One racing seriously. They include all the favourite teams you know and love such as Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, and Mercedes F1, and include drivers that embody the sport like George Russell, Lewis Hamilton, and Charles Leclerc among many others. It also lets the player build themselves out through the career mode. While this was limited during the demo, it will let you show off who you are as a driver, including buying cars, setting up your hub the way you want, and expressing your inner racer in the way that works best for you.
F1 22 is a game that shows off the passion of the team. Leaving the Summer Game Fest demo, I was excited to play more, and see how much depth was under the surface, ready to be explored. While I am normally more a fan of action racing games, leaning on Need for Speed over a real sim experience, what the team showed off made me want to give the F1 series a bit more of my time. Launching June 28th, fans won’t have long to wait to jump in, and the team has a cross play patch coming shortly after launch, so you can actually play with your friends no matter the system you buy the game on.