Yesterday's official unveiling of GRiD 2 was met with universal excitement all-round – as we discussed in our initial impressions, it certainly has the potential to one of this generation's defining racing games as the current crop of consoles begin to retire.
It's unfortunate, then, that the unprecedented decision to remove the cockpit camera seems to have riled the community after Codemasters declared that only 5% of players actually used it in previous games and that it would therefore be more beneficial to the final product to pour their resources into other aspects of the game.
After scores of fans voiced their dismay in furious comments on Facebook, YouTube and forums, Executive Producer Clive Moody has released a statement over on Codemasters' official forum to address these complaints:
"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"
So there you have it. You have to hand it to Codemasters for responding to community feedback in such a prompt, professional and honest manner.
How do you feel about about GRiD 2's cockpit camera omission? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.