Project CARS 3 was recently announced by Slightly Mad Studios, Codemasters and Bandai Namco. Ahead of this, Stevivor was lucky enough to (virtually) sit down down with Slightly Mad Studios — then literally sit down with the game itself — to learn more about it.
Speaking with Matt York, a game designer at Slightly Mad Studios, we were briefed on new additions to the franchise, including a “rebuilt” career mode, changes to multiplayer and a new metagame that allows for car customisation and upgrades.
Project CARS 3 career mode
“The new career mode has been rebuilt from scratch with an all new structure designed to give gamers a better sense of progressing from zero to hero in the world of racing, York told Stevivor. “The career is a curated tool of our most exciting cars, tracks and gameplay, taking you through all ten upgradable car classes along the way.”
“It introduces players to unlocking and upgrading their cars and gives you attainable goals to work towards throughout your journey,” York continued. “It also features new game modes alongside traditional racing action, with a curated difficulty curve and scaled rewards depending on which assists and difficulty options each players chooses.”
Far from just a set of races strung together, York advised that career mode will also offer additional “objectives that are designed to offer lots of variety and to give players more ways to progress than simply coming first in each race.” By completing these objectives, players will earn in-game credits and can then use them to skip “some events early… allowing them to jump ahead if [they] don’t suit their personal play style.”
Career mode, as every other mode in Project CARS 3, will also offer a player XP used to upgrade and customise cars in their personal garage, with York confirming it’s possible to take one car through the entire game and be successful thanks to the new upgrade meta.
Project CARS 3 multiplayer modes
Project CARS 3 will offer up three real-time multiplayer modes in quickplay, scheduled events and custom lobbies, alongside an asynchronous mode called Rivals. For the real-time modes, skill-based matchmaking will be in play, meaning you’ll be matched with players of the same — or similar — skill and safety ratings as yourself. Slightly Mad Studios also confirmed that relay servers will be employed to help improve stability and latency, though more on those servers was not offered.
On the real-time front, scheduled events look to be the most involved, displaying a list of upcoming events in your region. From there, you can register for the ones that catch your eye, then given the chance to qualify to determine your place in the starting grid. Once it’s time for the race proper, you’ll be grouped into matches with like-skilled players before the green light it lit. For this multiplayer mode and all others, Slightly Mad Studios also confirmed that any customisations earned will be displayed to all. Finally, if you don’t own a car that meets requirements for a multiplayer race, you’ll be able to purchase a loan car.
On the asynchronous front, the new Rivals mode will replace community events and offer up daily, weekly and monthly challenges that players can take part in. A leaderboard, split up into different divisions, is intended to encourage players to return and better previous records. You’ll earn XP by competing, just like any other mode, but Rivals will also offer Rivals Points which will help you earn a series of tiered rewards.
Project CARS 3 Hands-on (update 31 July)
Look, I’m going to level with you here: if you want to see a decent driver race through Project CARS 3‘s tracks, stick with the video above. There, I’m just talking. The one below? That’s me getting some proper hands-on time with the game, and by that I mean it’s a bunch of video of me spinning out cars left and right. Roadsters, Indy cars, it doesn’t really matter; I will drive too aggressively or I will succumb to an AI opponent who’ll nudge me just enough that my car’s trajectory is officially out of my hands. C’est la vie.
My stuggles with Project CARS 3 — be they in career mode or custom races — really cement the fact that this is a simulator with a steep learning curve. I opted for a controller on PC, but I’m thinking that a proper racing wheel would more beneficial. Actually, I know most (if not all) of the statements I’ve just made are true based on our Project CARS 2 review by none other than our resident racing fan, Nicholas Simonovski. He’s probably hanging his head in shame right now looking at my performance.
In all truth, Project CARS 3 isn’t really my cup of tea — I’m more of a Forza Horizon guy myself, or even the far more arcade-like DiRT 5 — but I do understand the appeal of what’s on offer by Slightly Mad Studios. While I’m sure I could best the game’s learning curve when not staring down the barrel of a tight deadline, I take comfort in the fact that I can also recruit friends like said Mr. Simonovski and put them to work improving my own career standing. Let’s not pretend I’m above that.
I’m keen to jump back into Project CARS 3 — and try to restore at least some of my crumbling racing reputation — when the titles becomes available across Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 from 28 August.