The vehicle handling in Project CARS very much divided sim racing fans with many believing the title to be more “gamey” rather than out and out simulation.
The former Stig from Top Gear, Ben Collins, and Project CARS 2 game director Stephen Viljoen recently spoke to IGN to alleviate any fears that Project CARS 2 would fall into the same trap of gamey handling.
Viljoen admits the shortcomings of Project CARS' handling model particularly with the way it tries to simulate slip, “the one area of Project CARS 1 that we knew when we released it that we were going to get criticism of – because we were not happy with it, but at some point you just have to push it out there – was what happens to the car when you get over the edge with the slip. When your tyres start going beyond where you would normally be driving.”
“It never felt quite right, and right from the beginning of Project CARS 2 that was a massive goal for us to try to fix. We’re at a point now where it feels completely natural when a car goes over the edge and you can just keep it in a natural slide,” said Viljoen.
Collins explained to IGN that the handling really came on in leaps and bounds only around three months back. “They absolutely cracked it,” said Collins. “Whatever it was, they identified the secret ingredient that really makes the cars come to life.”
“You can push them to the limit, and you can go over the limit. You won’t set the fastest time but you won’t spin off, and it’s intuitive to drive, it’s totally immersive, and when I put the [VR] goggles on I’m lost in that world.”
Many people in the gaming industry believe simulation titles should feature vehicles that are difficult to control, however the opposite is true in a lot of cases as Viljoen explains. “We grew up with this mentality in sim racing that if it’s not difficult then it’s not authentic, GTR1 was such a learning curve for us back in that day because even there we got criticism from real-world race drivers who said, ‘This is too hard; it’s not this hard in the real-world.’ Just driving, and driving fast even, is much easier than what’s it’s been in simulations. These cars are built to drive well; they’re not built to kill you.”
Indeed, Assetto Corsa is a great example of a simulation title which features a sublime handling model where many vehicles are intuitive and relatively "easy to drive". We're keeping our fingers crossed that Project CARS 2 will feel just as good as Kunos Simulazioni's title albeit with a comprehensive career mode complete with a magnitude of disciplines, something that Assetto Corsa is sorely lacking.