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rAge 2014 with Project CARS

We caught up with Project CARS' Game Director, Stephen Viljoen at rAge 2014 this year. He has worked on the legendary GTR and GTR2, as well as Slightly Mad Studios' Test Drive titles. Viljoen was also behind top selling racers Need for Speed: Shift and Need for Shift 2: Unleashed. I think it's safe to assume that he has the credentials for building a top-class racing title. What's more is that Mr. Viljoen lives in South Africa, so if you didn't know that before, you can add one more great South African on your list of talented game developers. My thanks go out to Megarom Games for arranging the interview, and to Stephen himself allow us a peek into his rich world.

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NFS: Shift 2 & NFS: Shift had potential for greatness, but were let down by issues like controller latency where car handling became hard to predict. Would they have been different if more players were involved?

"On some systems it worked fine, and some wheels worked fine. When the community is involved there is a much larger sample to work from. There are so many more configurations to work from. The QA cycle was too short to allow us to catch all those issues. We sold 5 million copies with Shift, and even if its just 1% who have the problem, that's alot of people. Here's the thing, we were an indie developer when we made GTR and GTR2 ten years ago, we were making the game we wanted to make even with limited technology. When we did the Shift games, we did it under contract for the people who owned the IP. We were gutted that we had to release the games like that because it wasn't what we wanted to make. It was still a good game according to EA. People coming from GTR and GTR2 were disappointed. I can tell you this: Project CARS is the game that were working on from Day One. We didn't know that. This is it. Project CARs is the culmination of everything that we've wanted to do. Dynamic weather, dynamic lights - with the fidelity we want. When you get the game, we believe you will say that this is the true spiritual successor to GTR and GTR2."

When EA's contract with Porsche eventually goes out, will we see Porsche in Project CARS?

"I would love to. I can't tell the future. Who knows what happens to the license after that. Maybe EA loses it because of someone grabbing it, or offering more money. We have RUF, which are race-customised Porsches. We'd love to have the street Porsches in the game."

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How does Project CARS stack against other racers like Forza Motorsport 5?

"I love Forza and have been playing since the first game. We're not directly competing with Turn 10. We're a far more in-depth simulation and I'm not talking purely about the simulation of the cars. We simulate everything. There is the same level of simulation all around, not just on physics. We're also simulating motorsport. Being able to do a proper race weekend is possible. Think back GTR2. You can have two practice sessions, and a qualifying session for 30 minutes. You can also say that during the first practice session, for 30 minutes it'll be dry but at the end can become foggy. This can be random. We can timescale as well, so does the change run in real-time or real-time? You can do a 24 hours and have a full endurance race in 2 hours. We simulate far more. There are 48 cars on track with the same level of fidelity as if you were racing yourself. We simulate everything."

What resolutions run natively on the PS4 and Xbox One consoles?

"We strive to make them both look the same. I cannot promise parity across both. The Xbox is already very close to 1080p 60fps. The antialiasing is critical. If you put them next to each other it'll be difficult to see the difference between the two."

Project CARS releases on November 18 in NA and November 21 in the rest of the world. You can pre-order it through for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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