Since it's initial tease a few months back, little has been known about Automaniax Porsche Online, an upcoming free-to-play online sim racer with a penchant for Porsche, if you hadn't gathered from the title.
Out of the blue, a new trailer has been released for the project featuring exactly what you would expect: prestigeous Porsche racing cars racing around race tracks with overly pretentious taglines like "It's not a game – it's serious racing" thrown in for good measure.
Looks rather dashing, doesn't it? Well, there is a very good reason for this – it's actually running on the very capable Madness engine that powers the biblically beautiful Project CARS without the permission of Slightly Mad Studios. Yikes.
The revelation has naturally upset the Project CARS community, who are funding the game's development as part of the World of Mass Development scheme, resulting in members actively voicing their dismay over on the WMD forum.
It didn't take long for it to catch the attention of studio staff, either. Slightly Mad's Ian Bell released an official statement to clarify the situation: "We were in negotiations with Automaniax and the head of Porsche marketing some time back with a view to us creating a product for them. We delivered some work to them. The contracts were not signed, the agreed funds were not received and we stopped the work. We’re stunned here to see our work appear there."
Slightly Mad have since vowed to take legal action over the dispute, so we'll see if the project ever sees the light of day. It's a shame to see the manufacturer entagled in this mess too, particularly as it could have been a very valuable license for Slightly Mad's Project CARS.
It's certainly been a bizarre week for racing game plagiarism – first Gran Turismo gets released unceremoniously on Android and now this. Whatever next?