Project CARS 3 has been out on the market for a short time and is receiving backlash from its own community and reviewers. At this point, many know the reason behind the problem. The whole franchise went from sim-racing to arcade-racing, which had a strong negative impact. It has scored 68/100 on Metacritic and received only a 46% approval rating by Google users. This may not be what the fans expected when asking for another sequel, but the developers are still satisfied with the final result.
Facing harsh criticism
It all started when the developers stated that pitstops and tyre wear would be completely removed from the game. According to the developers, it increases the risk of less “consistent racing”. It’s the most controversial decision ever done by the team. It was a great concept, but it could’ve been done better and more professionally. Instead of completely removing those highly requested features from this fantastic franchise, it could’ve been optional. Forza players, for instance, are constantly requesting animated pitstops and more in-depth sim-racing experience. And so, it applies to other racing game series. Those features are almost a must-have when making a racing game in 2020.
The comment section on the official Project CARS Twitter and Instagram are filled with hate-fueled feedback, often related to pitstops or fuel usage. Although they’re tantrums thrown at the team, the developers should see it as feedback. If the team wants a game that benefits all types of racers, it should be optional to choose the way you want to progress through the game. Some people prefer races with pitstops, some others without. For the moment, the sim-racing seems to be gone. IGN described this game as “…easy to pick up and play but impossible to recommend to Project CARS 2 fans”. Over the past years, Project CARS has gathered sim-racing fans and that’s what the franchise supposedly was aimed for.
Developers are in defense
Most surprisingly, the developers are very confident with their changes and do believe it will make the game a success, despite the harsh critics. In Gamespot’s interview with Project CARS 3 developers, the team states that the game is supposed to introduce non-hardcore racers to the franchise, but they still see it as a racing game, like Project CARS 2. Meaning, by applying the content from Project CARS 2 into the new game and reworking the entire physics model, they might be able to compete with other successful games such as Forza and Gran Turismo.
“Along with a better sense of progression [and] more assists, one of the biggest changes is that we completely rebuilt gamepad handling. . .”
“It’s now much easier to jump in with a standard controller and quickly get a nice feel for the driving, and there’s no need to spend time adjusting stick dead-zones, etc. It works brilliantly right out of the box. . .”
Personally, I think the problem is that Slightly Mad Studios has previously formed a specific target group which they should stick to. While Project CARS is a growing franchise, it may have been a better idea to stick to sim-racing. Otherwise, they should’ve changed to arcade racing way earlier. Imagine iRacing or rFactor going all arcade in their next project. Sim-racing is what made them popular and are still active today. Changing to arcade racing would make them lose attention.
Like Project CARS 2, the new game will have post-launch fixes and content. Yet, I’m not expecting a change on the physics model or if the pitstop animation and fuel usage will be added. There are rumors about the game receiving free tracks in post-launch updates; however, that won’t change the driving experience. The only information we have regarding future updates is that the game will receive free cars and tracks along with “additional content”.
Project CARS 3 has its up and downs, but worth giving it a try. If you’re new to the series, then it’s surely worth considering getting it. Though, we must bear in mind that the game will have future updates.