Codemasters has announced F1 2018, the next entry in its hugely popular racing series which will once again feature realistic vehicle models, challenging gameplay and plenty of content motorheads will likely adore. Little is known thus far beyond a few behind-the-scenes snippets and the official announcement having just been made!
Trusted Reviews has compiled everything you need to know about F1 2018 including all the latest news, rumours, gameplay, trailers and more.
F1 2018 – what is it?
It’s the next entry in Codemaster’s long-running Formula One series. That aside, little has been revealed in terms of information, footage or even screenshots.
“We were delighted by the reception that the highly-acclaimed F1 2017 game received, and are extremely excited to be able to further build on such a strong starting point with F1 2018” said Paul Jeal, F1 Franchise Director at Codemasters in a press release.
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F1 2018 release date – when is it coming out?
F1 2018 gameplay – any big changes?
We’ve yet to see any gameplay of F1 2018, but Codemasters has detailed some of the features set to receive improvements in this instalment. The career mode will undergo some big changes while Codemasters is also committed to listening to fans regarding the addition of classic cars to the vehicle roster. Beyond this, “many other great enhancements” have been promised for the racing sim.
F1 2018 wishlist by Phil Iwaniuk
We’re starting with one we suspect will actually feature: the return of driver press conferences and media interviews. These were present way back in F1 2010 when ‘Be the driver, live the life’ was the crux, but have long been absent now as Codemasters explored different presentation styles. Given that Codemasters announced its new game with ‘Make headlines in F1 2018’ and mentioned “the return of a highly requested feature back into the franchise” with regards to career mode, it seems likely that these first-person media encounters, handled via dialogue wheels, will make a return.
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And now a giant, hamstring-snapping leap into speculative territory: a career mode in which you progress up through the junior formulas hoping for that big break into F1 would be amazing. It would also be highly unlikely, since Formula One Management is notoriously protective of its IP and by all accounts licensing seems like a nightmare. But look, this is a wish list: let us dream. Milestone’s MotoGP games carry the Moto2 and Moto3 licenses and use them to give you a nice career arc from prodigious youngster to proven pro straddling the real deal. What we wouldn’t give for something similar from the F1 series.
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Always, always a weak spot in the series. It’s great to be able to pick a custom helmet in career mode, but honestly the vast majority of the time it’s almost worth dropping from third to fourth on the last lap just so the cameras don’t show your visored abomination in the post-race coverage. Recent games offered the chance to change colours of each design’s elements, but that still didn’t leave any way to make them look like anything other than a primary school drawing made manifest. In fact, it just made it harder for modders to create their own.
A big part of the problem is that custom helmets carry almost no sponsors, and that instantly makes them look out of place next to the luxury brand smorgasbords of your fellow drivers. Modders managed to create team-specific sponsor ‘layers’ which could be applied to player-created designs in last year’s game, so one would imagine Codemasters could do the same – unless our old friends Formula One Management have something to say about it.
A full grid of historic cars
Formula One’s history is truly something to be celebrated. Particularly now in 2018, when cars are physically unable to pass each other and precocious teenagers bickering with one another over team radio passes for a dramatic race. Fangio, Hill, Moss, Mansell, Senna, Prost, Schumacher… these names resonate throughout the ages in a way that, with the deepest respect for Romain Grosjean, simply isn’t true of the modern crop.
That’s been the (sound) logic behind F1 2018’s dalliance with classic cars, following a couple of toe-dippings several games earlier. The problem has been that since licensing those cars, drivers, and all their sponsors, is such a big job that we end up with just a handful in each game. There’s not really much you can do with a handful of F1 cars spanning twenty years of the sport, once you’ve clocked in some hotlaps and set up the obligatory ‘which car’s the fastest of all time?’ race. What you really want from classic cars is an entire season’s grid.
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It’s a big ask, securing the rights to the 1997 Minardi that absolutely no one will ever drive just so it can form a complete lineup and be lapped by a still-virile Williams in the player’s control. But there are precedents, sort of. EA’s F1 Career Challenge included four full seasons from 1999-2002. At the time it wasn’t seen as such a big deal since EA had put out a standalone game for each season preceding the release, but there’s a lot to be said for progressing through F1 history in something like real time thanks to that bumper compendium of licenses. If the rights to those seasons were once secured in one game, could they be again? Do EA hold them in perpetuity? Would driving through 2010-present (which Codies hold licenses for) and making the right moves at the right time (Red Bull to Mercedes in 2014, obviously) be just as fun? I don’t know the answers to any of those questions but I want F1 2018 to provide them.
Something akin to FIFA 17’s The Journey
Story modes in sports games are an exciting – if slightly cheesy – progression of the genre, and no one’s tried it yet in racing since Codemasters themselves released TOCA: Race Driver. (That’s right devs, someone out there remembers TOCA: Race Driver.) Why not? The prospect of watching a young driver with big dreams ascend to F1 stardom is just as engaging as Alex hunter’s rags-to-riches story in FIFA, progressing through academy football, impressing on loan spells, and making dream transfers. All it takes is, er, a huge financial and time investment.
Story modes like these need writers, mocap teams, actors, animators and goodness knows what else, and the bar’s been set high by FIFA, Madden and NBA 2K. It’d be tough to come out of the gates with something to compete on those terms, but so much more engaging to the gamer than entering your name and picking a helmet which, as we’ve already discussed, will invariably look rubbish.
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Improved online racing rules
This is the holy grail for all racing games, really: a way to keep the online racing fair. Codemasters have been at the forefront of this since Race Driver: GRID, but their penalty systems have often felt imprecise or, at worst, straight up broken. Gran Turismo Sport bent over backwards to encourage fair, sportsmanlike racing and still faces big problems with penalties being doled out incorrectly, so who on Earth knows how to actually solve this problem. But please: try.
In reality, eSports is the driving force, if you’ll excuse the excellent pun, behind this improvement. You can’t have massive prize pots decided on dodgy corner-cutting penalties and shunts that go unpunished. Whether you’re into the world of fearsomely talented e-athletes in polo shirts sitting politely in bucket seats and racing in a packed stadium or not, it provides the impetus for cleaner racing right down at our level, the plebs who can barely make the apex without losing a front wing endplate.
Full team management
Let’s say you’ve won consecutive driver’s and constructor’s championships at your dream team. Where do you go from here? Erstwhile in the series, where you go is probably halfheartedly into the following season where you’ll inevitably give up around Baku time and uninstall the game until next year’s arrives. But what if you could ascend the ranks a bit higher? What if you could become what Ruud Gullit was to the Abramovic-less Chelsea of the 1990s, a sort of driver-manager pulling the strings behind recruitment, development, sponsorship and strategy?
What we’re talking about amounts to a blend of Motorsport Manager’s thoroughly addictive strategy and the existing career mode of Codemasters’ F1 series. In other words, a game in which you can send your co-driver packing when he fails to listen to your team orders – Multi 21 mate, come on – and hire new R&D staff when the new front wing endplate design turns out to be a duff.
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