The sequel to 2015’s Project CARS, the “community-assisted racing simulator” from Slightly Mad Studios, is in development on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One for release in late 2017, publisher Bandai Namco announced today.
Known as Project CARS 2, the game will offer more than 60 tracks and 170 cars to race on them. Its first trailer and screenshots (see below) focus on powerhouses like the Acura NSX, Nissan GT-R GT3 and McLaren 650S GT3, and courses such as the Fuji Speedway and the famous street circuit in Long Beach, California. Project CARS 2 will be playable in 12K resolution — three 4K monitors side by side for a panoramic view — but if that’s not immersive enough for you, the game will also support virtual reality headsets.
Weather is another feature that’s getting a major upgrade in Project CARS 2, according to Slightly Mad. The developers are expanding on the original game’s challenging rainy racing with wintry conditions — snow and ice — as well as rally racing on dirt and mud. Thanks to technology that Slightly Mad dubs “Livetrack 3.0,” the sequel will offer a real-time weather simulation that will have an impact on the track surface, as well as dynamic time-of-day and seasonal effects.
- An Acura NSX at Fuji Speedway. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- An Acura NSX GT3. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- An Aston Martin Vulcan at Fuji Speedway. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- A Ford F-150 at Funhaver Hell Rallycross. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- A Ginetta G57 at Daytona Road Course. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- A McLaren 650S GT3. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- A McLaren 650S GT3 and a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 in the rain at Fuji Speedway. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- A Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 and a Nissan GT-R GT3 at Long Beach. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- A Mercedes-Benz AMG GT-R at the Mercedes-Benz Ice Track. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
- A Nissan GT-R GT3 and a McLaren 650S GT3 in the rain at Fuji Speedway. Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco
“Our collective goal at Slightly Mad Studios is to create a simulation racing experience that rivals that of real-life,” said Stephen Viljoen, game director on Project CARS 2, in a news release. “Realism and authenticity are central to our development mantra for Project CARS 2, hence we’re making sure we employ the best professional drivers, game developers, artists, and sound engineers to realize our vision for a game that takes players on the ultimate driver journey.”
Bandai Namco and Slightly Mad are treating today’s news as the initial reveal of the game. But Slightly Mad actually announced Project CARS 2 way back in June 2015, and launched a crowdfunding campaign that aimed to raise nearly £7 million to fund the development of the game. That was less than two months after the release of Project CARS, and fans criticized the studio for discussing a sequel without fixing the numerous technical problems that were plaguing the game.
Slightly Mad has kept quiet about Project CARS 2 since then. We’ve reached out to Bandai Namco to ask about the old crowdfunding campaign, and will update this article with any information we receive.
Update (Feb. 9): A representative for Slightly Mad Studios told Polygon that the plan to crowdfund Project CARS 2 was an “early concept,” and that the company later decided to finance the development itself before signing on with publisher Bandai Namco.
“We left a window open for a limited number of external members to contribute to the development (around 3000 participants) like we did with the first Project CARS,” the spokesperson said. “The members have reached the required number pretty fast and so we closed the signup soon after.”
Update 2 (Feb. 9): Asked by Polygon for the total contributions from the crowdfunding participants, the Slightly Mad Studios rep said the backers have given “around £200,000” (approximately $250,000).