Just a few days ago GRiD 2 was officially revealed by Codemasters and racing fans around the globe, myself included, went suitably nuts at the news, delighted that the much-loved GRiD was going to get the sequel it deserved. However, the excitement was somewhat dampened by Codemasters revealing during an interview that GRiD 2 wouldn’t have a cockpit view, instead opting only for bonnet cam and the standard chase cams.
Fans were understandably shocked and surprised at this news. According to Codemasters only around 5% of gamers playing Codemaster racing titles actually used cockpit cam most of the time, hence its removal. Fans, however, didn’t take this new lightly. Now Codemasters have responded with a reasonable explanation from Executive Producer Clive Moody on the official Codemaster’s forums.
“First of all, it’s important to say that every design decision we make is done with a lot of careful consideration and not taken lightly. We’re acutely aware of the love there is for GRID in our community and we want to deliver the best possible experience for everyone.
There seems to be some confusion about where we get our data from to help us make these decisions. While we do use research and focus groups, the most important data source for us is the enormous amount of telemetry data we can obtain from our servers that tells us exactly how and what our players are doing across all our games. So it’s not a case of just a sample of people we’ve spoken to in research, it’s a fact that only 5% of Codemasters Racing game players ever used the in-car view.
We certainly don’t want to alienate any of our fans we want to deliver truly exciting features that 100% of our players will enjoy. Videogame development is always about trade-offs and in this case, taking the hard decision to lose the in-car views for 5% of our players (and remember we still have bonnet cam and bumper cam, which many people with racing wheels use), is something we felt was more beneficial to everyone. They are expensive to run due to the requirement for high-resolution interior textures which are seen close-up and require a considerable amount of in-game memory (to store) and processing (to render).
What this means in practice is that the benefit to our vehicle models, environment models and the hundreds of other things in the environment sapping memory, is huge. By making this educated call, we can use the extra available memory to make the on-track racing a truly mind-blowingly immersive experience.
For example, we can author and run higher resolution vehicle models with more detailed geometry. We can feature higher resolution external vehicle textures and work further detail into our environment textures. We can dedicate more processing power to our improved physics systems, integral to the GRID 2 experience, and push other systems to the next level, such as particles and real-time lighting. And there are many more benefits.
One final point to make is that we’re at the tail-end of the current console generation. We’re now incredibly familiar with the current hardware and have reached the point that we’re getting EVERYTHING possible from it. We’re dedicated to pushing GRID 2 to the next level, making it the definitive racing game on this generation of hardware. Dropping a lesser-used feature such as interior cam frees up the memory and processing power to push the more prominent systems to the next level is a tough decision but it’s one we felt had to be made, for the benefit of the majority of players.
If you’re still not convinced, all I ask is that you wait and see what we’ve got to show you. We’ve only scratched the surface of what we’ve got to show you on GRID 2 – there’s lots more to coming in the months to follow and I genuinely think that you’ll really enjoy it. Come and see for yourself at Eurogamer Expo.
Executive Producer Clive Moody”
It’s hard to dispute the facts as they’re presented. Nor can I actually say anything against Codemaster’s logic regarding the decision to remove the in-car view, but as one of the 5% I can honestly say that the loss of the cock-pit has dampened by excitement for GRiD 2 somewhat. Still, there’s a considerable amount of time before GRiD 2 gets released, so there is a possibility, however slim, that Codemasters will reverse their decision.