Written by Richard Winstone
I’m going to do a quick write up on the developer’s introduction to the game before we get into the interview portion of the event. He introduced the game as a mix not a sim not an arcade and explains that Grid lives somewhere in between, the rules are limited to cutting corners and “rubbing is Racing” allowing you to get on with it, out of the 12 tracks there are 8 circuits 4 road courses and a total of 82 layouts, giving the more sim-style track racing and the more street fight style city tracks. The AI on there hardest setting has been competitive against the sports racing team and their professional racing driver contracted for testing.
The assist gives the arcade style player the ability to control the car in a simulation manner giving everyone the tools to enjoy the game, and turn all the assist down provides a challenging race for the sim fan, the principle for the game is the sim drivers will play it for fun, and the arcade player will come to Grid for serious fun.
Your driving accolades will unlock Apex Style player cards giving you the option to show off your prowess and your play style, and a livery editor allowing some decent level of customization. This is joined by the skill points gained through racing nailing a slick drift, of holding high speed through corners.
The game is based on a three-pillar system, Accessibility covered by the assist and AI adjustments, additionally you don’t need to complete every race and every series to get to the final championship 7 out of 10 races per championship will unlock the final showdown 7 out of 10 showdowns will unlock the final series so you can skip a series you don’t like. Pillar 2 is unpredictable Motorsport Stories, some days some drivers will perform better, some are better in the wet AI cars can be affected by random failures, spins, crashes all controlled by the games inbuilt choreographer that will randomly adjust 8 AI racers per event and enhance 3-4 of them. The third pillar is progression and rewards mention earlier with the player cards and accolades including leveling up and a prestige levels for resetting at level 100, and super rare gold accolades for extremely challenging driving skills.
The overriding philosophy is it’s your game, you paid for it, play it how you want. The unpredictable Motorsport stories are what really makes the game stand out, motorsport is unpredictable, and that’s what makes motorsport compelling to watch, you don’t know what is going to happen. Its not a parade of cars like many current titles there too predictable, 400 AI in the game and individually tuned, 72 partner AI that has loyalty, a loyal teammate will be compliant to orders, but may not be very aggressive and requires commands to push, or you could hire a top driver, very good, very aggressive but he may dislike you, they can and will ignore your race manager. In addition to this you have the rival feature, in a series within the first few races a rival will select you based on your position, and their goal becomes to beat you recreating some of the epic motorsport rivalries we all have seen and loved like Hunt-Lauda, Schumacher-Hill, Loeb-Ogier, so on and so on.
The lead developer Chris Smith is super passionate about this game and I really had to cut down his into because I can’t and simply don’t want to write a novel on a Tuesday evening, I hope I have given his passion justice with this edit. So on to the Interview much like my other review’s and steams I hold no punches.
Hive: its been 5 years since we saw a GRID title why is the franchise making a comeback now,
Chris: Honestly I don’t know, we looked at the market and with all the great arcade and sim games out like NFS, GTA, Horizon, GT Sport there no place for the two styles of players to come together and have fun, a new bread with the unpredictability of motorsport. You can add assists and hoon around or turn them all off and go almost full sim.
Hive: The original Grid sold over 2 million copies back in 2008 and was a great success, Grid 2 and Grid Autosport seen a pretty large drop in sales, What is it about GRID 2019 that is going to bring back the old fan and entice the horizon and GT Sport fan over?
Chris: I think its Grid going back to its roots the game people remember, the rough and tumble mix with a sim, Grid was loved so much because it was so different it changed the perspective on what a racing game could be, the 400 AI, the teammates, the rival system the nemesis system the unpredictability created by the choreographer the 82 routes 4 cities with 8 circuits, all put in a pot making every race different each time, much like motorsport you don’t know what will happen, this also adds the fun of online racing you never know what is going to happen. Its motorsport at its truest form. You played it yourself and your smiling.
Hive: that’s True it really is reminiscent of the original, I played it as a sim looking for the best lines then I began to have some fun hooning the car around and still making progress, the difference between the street and race tracks add a lot of variety to how you play.
Chris: it’s a street fight vs a ballet. (plenty of chuckles)
Hive: I couldn’t have said it better myself, the line between sim and arcade we have seen is pretty blurred how have you managed that balance>
Chris: were not 100% sim and were not 100% Arcade, the reason is of your 100% arcade your compromise the sim, we are edged more towards sim without the rules and regulation, ok if you keep cutting corners you can get disqualified, but that’s the only rule, and we have street courses and no one in the world will sanction a Porche 911 RSR racing around the hill of San Francisco, that will never happen in the real world, but we have authentic circuits authentic handling characteristics, you can turn all the assist off, put the AI up to very hard and get that sim experience. We wanted to make the sim experience as accessible as possible, as that how we looked at it and how we could give them that without being masters of control if I can’t pick up a game and have fun I’ll go play something I can, so we looked at the assist put them up to 5 and the game helps you handle the handling, you won’t spin out, you can get around corners, and you can drive and have fun, it allows you to drive a sim in automatic mode essentially, its important to note we haven’t got and arcade mechanics, it allows arcade/casual playstyle to play a sim almost teaching how to play a sim, it’s a gateway into sim racing where casual player can slowly up the AI or Reduce the assist to challenge yourself and become a better driver.
Hive: so how is the racing format going to be, Autosport made you practice, qualify before you race?
Chris: well as you have seen you can jump straight into the race or if you want to qualify you can do a hot lap and repeat it as much as you like, in Autosport you had to do 3 laps that a lot of effort, you can do a quick lap and if your position improves great, you can just race its all about how you want to play the game.
Hive: It’s nice to see Ravenwest making a comeback?
Chris: Ravenwest are waiting at the world series as your rivals, you have several series again the likes of hammerhead, etc, we have only just announced the return of Ravenwest, I was Can we please tell them in our earlier preview, as it was a question fans have been asking since we announced it.
Hive: How will multiplayer be handled, with so many games adding skill-based matchmaking, huge penalties, etc.
Chris: nope we have kept it simple, you can create your own races and invite who you want or make it open to anyone, hit a quick race button where the matchmaker will put you in a random event on a cycle of maps. Giving you control of how and what you want to do.
Hive: So I could be sitting at home jump into a random race and play against Alonzo playing on his home console, or you bashing into me.
Chris: I don’t know if Alonzo is booked for any event, that would be awesome I hope we can get him in a live event if he does I will let you know, but essentially yes it’s completely open just random on who hit the matchmaking when you do.
Hive: Well thank you for inviting us down its been a great day and I’m genuinely looking forward to the release after what I have seen today.
Chris: no thank you, getting the feedback on our games and its people like yourself getting the word out about our game it sounds like we are doing what you want, and that so great to hear.
You can check out our other article on Grid here and keep watch for more news here at Stoffel in the next coming months