Exclusive Interview: New aspects of the F1 22 game explained in detail

Exclusive Interview: New aspects of the F1 22 game explained in detail

30 June - 19:30 Last update: 19:35

It's that time of year again. The F1 22 game will be available to play on Friday. As always, there's a lot of hype around the launch and the upgrades from previous incarnations of the game. This year, the focus has been on the rule changes within Formula 1 itself, as well as a brand new F1 Life mode. 

GPblog spoke exclusively with the senior creative director for F1 22, Lee Mather.

What can we expect from the new game? Last year, we kind of got a lot of hype from the new braking point mode and that kind of was a key feature on YouTube and this year I've seen that there's a new aspect which is the lifestyle side of things. Could you just do kind of the outline on that and what your plans were with it? Kind of how it came about and what is there to expect?
"Yeah, so in F1 life we've always wanted the player to have a game that felt like it was their own. To have a space that they could customise. And you look at Formula One drivers, they've got beautiful houses, they've got beautiful condos and flats and they live a very glamorous lifestyle and we've always had that in mind. With Formula One, if you think back to the very first games, we had taglines. Like be the driver, live the life, be the driver, live the life, go compete and it was all about not just about the on-track experience. It was about the lifestyle around Formula One and now we're at a point with console technology that we could, really reimagine that for the player.

What does it serve for the player?
"F1 life serves multiple things for the player and for the game. It's a really beautiful, customisable player hub where the player can make the game feel like there's when they first enter. It's also going to share that space with the multiplayer lobby so you can see who you're racing against. It gives the player the chance to customise and personalise what their game looks like and feels like for them. And then you can go to your friend's F1 life locations, see what they're wearing, see how they address their location, but also see the Super cars they've unlocked which are new in the game this year and they're added as a big-ticket prize that the player will unlock as they go through. They're all delivered through gameplay. So you can see which supercars your friends have preferred, which colours they've decided for the supercars, but also the Virtual Trophy cabinet as well. We've built into that location a room where the trophy cabinet lives so you can see how your friends are progressing. It's really to bring in that feeling of personalisation of an area that's your own within the game and to give the player a feeling of being a Formula One driver in the world of Formula One."

One thing you mentioned there was the Supercars and I believe that hot laps are involved this year as well. Do they have any correlation at all?
"Yeah, very much so. So when we decided to bring the supercars in, it was inspired by what you see over the course of a Formula One race weekend. We're always looking at what Formula One have that makes up an entirety of a weekend. It's not just about practice, qualifying, or race. You know we've got F2 in the game as well, obviously. But also it's not something that you get to watch. Most of the teams now or certainly a large number of the teams have a really nice selection of Rd cars and they take them out and they showcase their skills. They do some drifting, they scare them to death and we wanted the player to be able to do that in the game because in my team and driver career, obviously, you've got the Formula One race. It's very edge-of-the-seat stuff, and then in between the races you can just kick back and take a supercar out do some drifting. You'll have a break. Have a breather, let you let your heart rate drop a little and then jump into the next Formula One race weekend. It's a really nice sort of break between the sessions."

Will we see braking point again this year? But if not, is there any particular reason why that was taken out or was it just kind of something that didn't potentially go as well planned last year? 
"I think I think taken out is an unfair way to position it. It's very much a case of planning for any sort of story-driven content. So if you think back to 19, we did the F2 intro and then obviously 21 we did breaking point, it's a two-year cycle on something like that. The time to create is obviously massive. It wouldn't have even been created. It's such a long dev cycle on something like that to be able to capture so much high-quality content for the cut scenes to create all the events and to build out that game mode so the plan was always at a two-year cadence when it came to the story side of things in the F1 series."

Obviously, budget caps are a big talking point at the moment within Formula One because there are a lot of crashes going on and obviously with the budget cap it's costing teams a lot more money and they have to be very specific. Is that a feature in the game at all? Or is that something that will take time to bring in over the next couple of years?
"So one of the changes we've made in my team feature budgetary requirements the most. The player can now start as either a team that starts at the back of the grid as they did in my team in 2020 and 21, or they can come in as a team that's sort of mid-tier or top tier. So you start with all the resources you need. Rather than enforcing the cap in the way that it's been done in the real world, we've balanced the economy so that you can choose to play as a team starting at the back with very limited resources, limited budget, or a team that's in the middle with Aston Martin levels of funding for example or you've got a Mercedes at the top or Red Bull, and so that's very much the way we've done that and it opens it up to a wider range of players as well. My team is a very long-term game mode. 

There's been a kind of rules and regulations overhaul coming into this season. Obviously with the new cars as well, a lot of things have changed. Did this have any challenges? Kind of with the design aspect of the game, or was it kind of you going back and forth looking at the new rules to see whether you had to change much?
"The massive one is obviously the changes to the cars. It's absolutely vast this year, and in the past we've had seasons where things have come and gone, we had DRS and that was implemented in the early years. Very different, but this year the big changes were they were trying to change the way the cars race, the way that the cars can follow and we were really lucky that we always build our cars based on the rules. We know what's coming so we build them based on the rules set for the sport but we needed to understand what they were trying to achieve with those rules, because without understanding that we don't know what the on track experience is going to be like and we're really lucky we got to work with Ross Brown and his technical team to understand what their goals were for the cars this year so we could ensure that what we were building was going to be correct for the game, so obviously the cars are heavier. The cars have got more unsprung mass with the wheels and tyres being bigger. You certainly feel that in the nature of the car under breaking understeering but the big change was in the aero being generated more by the underbody of the car, so that was a big shift in the way that we build the physics for our cars, and then we're always looking to improve what we've got in our tech and for these new cars. Firstly the transmission, we wanted the transmission to feel more smooth so there's certainly a change in the way the power is delivered. We've made changes to the suspension."

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