Interviews

F1 2011: 'Sometimes devs take their foot off the gas... we keep moving'

Codies talks up "confident" sequel

Codemasters claims it's included "all the features that people have wanted" in its beautiful sequel, F1 2011 - and it's difficult for fans not to bulk at the feature list.

Improved handling, new AI, an enhanced damage system, a dozen new multiplayer modes and more are all planned for this year's game, and it's looking a lot, lot prettier than 2010 too.

Speaking to CVG at a pre-E3 reveal, chief game designer Stephen Hood argued that this year's F1 instalment isn't like other annual game updates.

"I'd say [this year's game] completely stands on its own in comparison to the other game. I by that I mean sometimes you get the sequel to a title and you go, 'there could be a reason to purchase the new one, I'll see how it goes'. But now I think there's so much content in the new one, it makes you feel compelled that you need the next game," he said.

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According to the Codies man, the fans asked for two-player split-screen and co-op and the developer has listened. See exactly what the Codies designer had to say about the new instalment below, and hit the red text to check out our own F1 2011 impressions.

How much better is 2011 compared to last year's game?

I'd say it completely stands on its own in comparison to the other game. I by that I mean sometimes you get the sequel to a title and you go, 'there could be a reason to purchase the new one, I'll see how it goes'. But now I think there's so much content in the new one, it makes you feel compelled that you need the next game.

It's something people have wanted - all the features people have wanted; two-player split-screen, co-op and all of that sort of stuff. It makes it stand on its own.

Every area I look at, right down to the handling, which I think is actually the most important thing because it's the core of the game, feels completely different. It's more enjoyable to drive the car, it gets more of the things I wanted out of the game which is the strategy, the consistency...

And it plays into all of the new multiplayer features as well like playing in co-op, seeing your friend online in the garage and competing against him... all of the stuff that we really wanted to do for the start of the series is starting to come true now. It's like night and day I think.

Is it fair to say you surprised yourselves with the improvements?

Yes, I think so. Sometimes I think developers have a tendency to take their foot off the gas and say, 'we've achieved that success now.' But with the same size team with a few new hires, based on the success that we had, we can keep that moving forward. We want to put all those new features in - it's not just a case of polishing what we already had there. It's not so much surprise because I knew they're capable of it... I'm just proud of the team for keeping the ball rolling.

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Do you find it intimidating tasked with topping the huge success of the original?

Not really. There was a lot of stress with the last game because naturally we think, 'we're doing the right thing and people will buy this' but you can never be completely sure until it's out there in the realms of the public. And they responded magnificently in that it made loads of sales, broke records and all these kinds of things, which justified the decision that we made in the first place which was to make a F1 game and try to do things a little different. So I'm more confident going in to the second one knowing what happened last time, because it's the same team that's together - the same ethos - but we've learnt so much more. So I think it's going to be even bigger as a result.

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