It's been a long time since we last saw a new GRiD title, but we can finally say that there will be a sequel to the critically acclaimed Race Driver: GRiD game.
Yep, that's right. Though even the developers themselves admit it's "Codemasters' worst kept secret", there will definitely be a Grid 2.
Even though it's only just been announced, there's a surprisingly broad amount to feature and comment on – so much so, that we're gonna have to split this up into sections. So, without further ado, let's kick things off with…
Under the hood
As with other Codemasters titles, GRiD 2 will utilise the latest version of the award-winning EGO engine, and Codemasters claim it'll surpass the original GRiD in every measurable way (which is a very big claim, considering some aspects of GRiD's physics engine are still amongst the best the industry has ever seen).
In terms of lighting and graphical detail, though, we can believe the statements from the dev team – even at this pre-alpha stage (the game has allegedly only just gone into the development phase), it looks very impressive.
The physics, though, are said to be a noticeable improvement. Codemasters have not only utilised the help of professional racing drivers to ensure that the cars behave in a realistic fashion, but there's also a new 'TrueFeel Handling' system, which allegedly "uses real physics to hit a sweetspot between accessibility and simulation and deliver handling that is approachable yet challenging to master".
We've heard this PR stuff from other companies over the years, though, and not all of them have kept their words. But, if the original game is anything to go by, we wouldn't be too upset if it isn't the last word in realism – GRiD proved you didn't need accurate physics to need an immersive, engaging, and at times thrilling virtual driving experience, and we highly doubt it'll be comparable to Outrun or Ridge Racer games.
It's not just the visuals and physics which will benefit from the latest ECO engine, either. Opponent AI is said to be more advanced than ever before, whereby each driver will be programmed with three out of sixty different attributes that affect their driving style, such as aggression, precision and cornering ability. Coupled with adaptive behavioural programming that reacts accordingly to your own driving style (utilise your opponents as car cushions and they'll soon fight back!), GRiD 2's races sound as if they will be packed with personality and unpredictability.
Cars and tracks
At this very early stage, we understandably don't have much info with regards to what cars and circuits will be included in the final game. However, the teaser trailer that's been launched (and embeded below for your viewing pleasure), along with the accompanying press pack, does contain a few treats.
With regards to cars, it seems that there'll be a diverse line-up. Though there won't be any Porsches, Lamborghinis or Ferraris, you'll still be able to select from lightweight track specials, all the way up to old and new American muscle, and even the world's most powerful production cars.
The way the cars will be classified in the events on offer is also worthy of a mention – whilst most racing games organise what cars can participate in certain races through what type of car they are (i.e. only single seaters can compete with single seaters), GRiD 2 will factor in the performance and characteristics of the car, and use it to determine what you'll be up against.
But what about the tracks? Well, we don't know much about them just yet, but we have been told that they'll be as varied as the car roster will be, split into Track, Street and Road categories – the trailer alone depicts venues such as Paris, California, Miami and the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, along with twisting road sections that'll form a basis for some of the game's new point-to-point events.
Of course, we'll have to wait until a later date for the full track and car list is unveiled.
It's been announced that GRiD 2 won't come with a cockpit view, with the reasoning behind this being that only 5% of gamers who play Codemasters games use this mode, and the sheer amount of time and money it costs to develop interior views for every car isn't worth it if such a small percentage of the target audience will use it. Still, it's clearly an informed decision that Codemasters did not take lightly, and if it benefits the final product then it's hard to complain.
There's also a very controversial, yet rather refreshing take on the difficulty settings – there are none. Whereas nearly every racing game on the market allows you to tailor the settings to your liking, the folk at Codemasters are so confident in the 'easy to use and adapt to' physics that there's no need for them.
Online multiplayer is also being treated as a seperate entity this time round,
There's been no official release date announced, though we're told that the finished game will go on sale at some time during 'summer 2013', so there's plenty of time to save up for a copy. It will, though, be available to play at this September's Eurogamer Expo, so we'll hopefully be able to get a quick taster of the game then.
We'd be lying if we said we weren't at least a little bit excited by the announcement of GRiD 2, even if it was perhaps the most predictable game reveal of this year. After all, the successor to one of the greatest Codemasters racing games of this generation of gaming, and perhaps even one of the greatest ever Codemasters titles, has been anticipated for years, and we hope the finished product is worthy of the hype that's building up around it.
Grid 2 now potentially stands as 2013’s defining racing game alongside Project CARS, but the standard will most likely already be set sky high with the release of Forza Horizon and Need for Speed Most Wanted this year, thus piling on the pressure for Grid 2 to deliver.
Nevertheless, if GRiD managed to get the racing genre off to a flying start for the current crop of consoles then its belated sequel should be a fitting final lap as this console generation begins to retire.
But what do you think of GRiD 2? Are you excited by it, or have some of the features that've been announced put you off pre-ordering a copy? Let us know in the comments section and on our Facebook page.