Codemasters has just released F1 2009 on the Wii and PSP, a long-awaited continuation of the Formula 1 licensed game series that once lay with Sony. With the last F1 game released in 2006, a lot of time has passed and gaming climates have shifted towards ?casual? play. With F1 2009, Sumo Digital aims to create a racing simulation that satisfies the needs of the hardcore, but builds upon an interface and gameplay mechanic that is accessible to the family and casual watcher of F1 races on Sunday telly.
SPOnG sat down with the developer not too long ago
, but at a special preview event Codemasters had also invited Radio 5 Live?s F1 commentator David Croft and Brawn test driver Anthony Davidson - both of whom have had a helping hand in the development of F1 2009
and the upcoming 2010 game. Here?s how the game has impacted their careers...
So how did you guys get involved in this F1 2009
Like all good things, probably in a bar somewhere. I think it was in the F1 pad - Anthony was involved in the game before me, and through Anthony I met the Codemasters guys and we ended up here today.
Yeah, that?s pretty much how it happened. I was approached - I think it was someone from Haymarket approached me via Codemasters, and they wanted a driver who was keen on computer games and Formula 1 games specifically to help create a realistic experience. David and I have been working in the commentary box for this year?s season, and I thought there was no-one better to help promote this game than the guy I?ve been working with (laughs).
What?s the level of your involvement, were you right in there from the beginning of development?
On the Wii game, not as much. I did have one or two plays early on in its development, but for the 2010 game on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 I was a bit more heavily involved.
David, you mentioned earlier on that playing this game is very beneficial to your career in sports commentary. I?m curious as to what both you and Anthony can learn from the game?
Well, first and foremost, I?m not a Formula 1 driver. I?m barely a ?geezer? driver, and I can?t appreciate what Ant and the other drivers can do on the track. But through this game I can get a bit of a feel for it. I get the feeling that if I drive like a geezer and just give it some welly, I?m going to crash. So the key to success is minute adjustments all the time.
You have to be aware of what?s around you, and overcome the difficulty of overtaking your opponents who are taking the same sort of driving line and are just as good as you. You get to understand braking zones and even the tracks themselves, with all the contours and sharp corners. It?s really beneficial for me because as a commentator I can become more knowledgeable of each track. Basically, so I can do my job better! (laughs)
From a driver?s point of view, we have new circuits like Abu Dhabi coming up and nobody?s driven it before. It gives the driver a great way to get a feel for where the circuit goes and the landmarks they?ll need to be using for reference points. It?s good preparation for when you get there in real life.
I?ve used past F1 games to learn the courses for years, and it works a treat just for those first couple of laps where you need to get a good position. To get a flow of the circuit is really important, and with on-board video analysis of the real-life cars - you couple it all together and it becomes vital as a learning tool.
When you break it down, F1 games are ultimately driving experiences for fans that double as a real-life simulation of the sport. Pilots use simulators to learn their trade, so it?s useful for racing drivers to use these games do as well.