GAMERSYDE | X360, PS3, PC Monday, June 13, 2011 | 10:40 PM

E3: First Look at F1 2011

E3: First Look at F1 2011

For sport games enthusiasts in general and racing gamers in particular, F1 2010 was a pleasant surprise during last year’s E3 (2010)…if you found it. Indeed, we were lucky enough to stumble upon the one and only game station last year and have been hooked ever since. Our instant love for the game was not a mere coincidence since F1 2010 won the Best Sport game category at the BAFTA Video Games Awards, rightfully beating, in our honest opinion, the other usual front runners from EA Sports. The game’s recognition makes the sequel title, unoriginally named F1 2011, a must-see item at this year’s E3. Unlike last year, however, the game can only be played, for one third of a track, behind closed doors after an interesting presentation from the developers. Keep reading to peep in these doors!

The fruit of passion

The F1 2011 presentation was made in a relatively small room with none of the fancy bells and whistles you tend to find at E3 (sorry guys, no babes), other than a single racing seat hooked up to the game. While the overall presentation was direct and to the point, essentially highlighting all the improvements made from one year to the next, the developers‘ comprehension of Formula One racing was outstanding. Indeed, during the presentation and our personal conversations, they clearly had a knowledge of the sport that can only come from passion; a contagious passion that is clearly reflected in the perfectionist approach to the game development.

Enhanced formula

As is the case for most sports games, a new year brings the usual database updates reflecting changes since last season. F1 2011 is no exception since the teams, vehicles, sponsors, and tracks have all been updated thanks to an exclusive worldwide agreement with Formula One. The world of Formula One also brings technical modifications, however, that our fanatical developers just had to include in the game. For those familiar with Formula One, you already know that I am talking about the inclusion of the KERS and DRS. For the others, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) stores energy from the vehicle’s braking to later exploit as additional acceleration whereas the Drag Reduction System (DRS) removes the loss of down force when following another car, thus allowing a chasing car to go faster than it would otherwise. These real technologies, with the potential of drastically altering races’ outcomes, will evidently be part of F1 2011 and add an interesting strategic element to the game (along with a couple of more buttons to press while flying through the track at 300 km/hr). Evidently, the AI will employ KERS and DRS as they see fit.

The older F1 2010, while being an impressive title perhaps due to its come-from-nowhere feel and lack of expectations, was far from perfect. Evidently, some of these imperfections are corrected in the new 2011 version. One of the weakest points in the game was the boring plain interface that players had to go through to access the various features of the game, from the interviews to the start of the grand prix. In F1 2011, the screens and interactions were completely remodeled to the point where the environment will change depending on the week’s grand prix you are competing in. Keeping in that immersive aspect of the game, more complete pre and post race scenes will now be part of the game, allowing players to experience the typically crowded start line before the beginning of the race or the winner’s celebrations at the end of the race.

Technical failures, which are common in real F1 races, will also be part of the game. The developers had to approach this feature carefully since players might not enjoy losing a 70-lap race in the 69 lap due to a random failure, regardless of how realistic or probabilistic the failure is. Consequently, the developers came up with a part deterioration system, where various parts of your vehicle will degrade depending on how properly the car is driven. This is an interesting way of rewarding drivers for gracefully handling turns or passes and sticking to the track rather than taking shortcuts through gravel. Massive AI improvements, reducing track lap times of computer opponents by up to two seconds, will make the game more challenging without the need to increase the realism settings of the game. Last but not least two new modes will ship with the game. The first is a classical dual-screen setup for two players to race together while still being from shouting distance of each other. The second is an online co-op mode, where two online players will be teammates for the same constructor. This co-op mode has great potential since it will put players in the shoes of real formula one racers by forcing them to strategically drive races as a team and compete within their own team to be the first driver.

First impressions

Starting from such a good title in F1 2010, we have to admit that it will be difficult to ruin the sequel, F1 2011. In fact, when trying out the 1/3 of a lap proposed in the presentation room, the gameplay felt very close to F1 2010 (not taking into consideration, the elaborate, yet fussy, wheel setup). It is clear, however, that the developers are not simply trying to release yet another title with minor updates and that their passion is pushing them towards some ambitious features. With a release date of September 23 and an exciting presentation, we can only wait for what seems to be a great title so that we can follow the game’s tagline and “Be the Driver. Live the Life. Go compete.”

All comments

Commented on 2011-06-13 23:19:39
KERS is Kinetic Energy Recovery System, rather than Kinematic ;)

Co-op sounds amazing though. Can't wait!
Commented on 2011-06-14 00:33:57
F1 2010 was my favorite (and still is) game from 2010 when hooked up with a racing wheel.

Soooo excited for this year version and going by your preview; its going to be even better.

Thanks for the preview guys; I'll be back for more updates and hopefully some screenies soon.

P.s Anyone else watch the race the weekend. Button was on fire and was enthralling to watch.
Commented on 2011-06-14 02:02:54
Technical failures - this def needs on/off option, will love having this option on, especially in co-op mode :)

also did they say co-op was campaign or just taked on co-op mode guys?
Commented on 2011-06-14 02:46:21
Awesome preview Gamersyde. I didn't even know that Codemasters were at E3, and I haven't heard a single thing about the new F1.

It seems strange, though, that the game is coming out in September and they still haven't shown any media about the game.
Commented on 2011-06-14 06:03:22
@citizenx: thanks for catching the typo! It was a very busy/tiring E3 and the proof reading was not as meticulous as it should have been.

@Kostchtchie: it is my understanding, from the developers' presentation, that the co-op mode will be at least a season long (i.e. a full season of races with your teammate). I don't think it will be a campaign since you might end up switching teams.

@PT_G4MER: during the presentation, we were told that the reason the game was not heavily advertised or playable on the show floor was because of license restrictions. Apparently, some things under the license have not been seen/introduced yet in the real/current F1 season and releasing the game and/or some media would infringe on the license. Not sure if it is true or not, but that's what we were told...
Commented on 2011-06-14 06:36:29
@webenji: I get you. It's true for sure. Last game they had to advertise the game with the cars from the previous season. It's not Codemasters problem, that's FOM(Formula One Management) way of doing things. Every year it's the same crap, it's not very easy for CM to sell a game as soon as possible without getting any advertising.

BTW co-op mode sounds fucking awesome. Let's hope it's done well, cause that'll make me play a lot more F1 with my friends over Xbox Live.
Commented on 2011-06-14 09:08:34
I just hope that the addition of KERS and DRS will not make it more arcady. I hope this is well balanced and not that effective.
Commented on 2011-06-14 10:08:27
"come-from-nowhere feel and lack of expectations"

Right, it only was eagerly anticipated for four years with various push-backs of its release and a huge hype in the racing community, that was pretty much destroyed by the full version. "it sold well but it wasn't very good (before the patches)" would have been more accurate. At least they include safety cars. I hope for formation laps as well.
Commented on 2011-06-14 10:09:16
double post
This message and account have been deleted at the user's request
Commented on 2011-06-14 10:35:49
Just put a lot of hours into F1 2010 (again) over the long weekend and with the Fanatec wheel and the right settings it's just awesome. Had a 70 laps online race in Montreal and 9 out of 12 players actually finished. I was sweating like hell during those 1.5 hours and after having lead for most of the race I only came third because my option tires were completely gone and the guys on 4 stopps (opposed to my 3) caught me a couple of laps before the end. But really great fun!

Can't wait for F1 '11 and also looking forward to KERS and DRS (much better than adjustable front wings IMO)
Commented on 2011-06-14 13:35:20
@webenji thanks for the info mate, and thanks for taking time put this up o/
Commented on 2011-06-14 16:26:56 In reply to Trebby
Posted by Trebby
I just hope that the addition of KERS and DRS will not make it more arcady. I hope this is well balanced and not that effective.
Hopefully, the fact they'll be releasing the game towards the end of the season allows them to view the real life effects of KERS and DRS and adjust the game accordingly, meaning the impact varies between circuits.
Commented on 2011-06-14 20:43:01
The thing I'd be interested in is how the AI will use the KERS and DRS during the course of the race.

The last thing i want is for it to resemble the unwanted rubber-banding effect seen in many games...
Commented on 2011-06-15 00:44:47
Hope it is good. Why no videos.
Commented on 2011-06-15 09:31:49 In reply to _killzone_
Posted by _killzone_
Hope it is good. Why no videos.
Because unless you're called GT, Ign or Gamespot, you can't film games behind closed doors. :(
Commented on 2011-06-15 09:45:43
which is totally backwards. I mean, those guys only have one thing on the brain
Commented on 2011-06-15 17:59:07
"...whereas the Drag Reduction System (DRS) removes the loss of down force when following another car, thus allowing a chasing car to go faster..."

The drag reduction system ENFORCES a loss of downforce :L Removing the loss of downforce would make have a lower top speed... Anyway I can't wait for the game to be released :D

About the game
  • F1 2011
  • PC, X360, PS3, 3DS
  • Published by Codemasters
  • French release: Available
  • US release: Available

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