An Open Letter to Slightly Mad Studios

Subject: An Open Letter to Slightly Mad Studios
Date: 6 Jan 2016

Dear Slightly Mad Studios,

It’s that time of year where we look back, reflect and try to share good will all around. On reflection and specifically in regards to Project Cars, I’ve enjoyed a roller-coaster of emotions and very much a love/hate relationship with the game on the Xbox One.

For the most part, I’ve loved it, I really have. That other car racing game (for whom we shall not mention), even with fewer bugs and issues than pCars, sucks in comparison and this comes from someone who has bought and played all the games in that series. Ian, you and your team have given me many hours of enjoyment and have actually made me care and garner some affinity with all the different types of car on offer to drive… which is ironic, because it’s what that other game has been trying to do for years but somewhat failed to achieve, because although that other game has lot larger garage on offer, each car I take out on track I get this “meh” sense of “well this car feels the same as the other 400-odd cars” (for the most part), so you have obviously done something right and you’ve done it well.

That being said, there is a huge failing in this game and I personally think it’s an internal process matter – correct me if I’m wrong.

It was ambitious for a relatively small team to release pCars across three different platforms (PC, Xbox One, PS4) but perhaps it was too ambitious. Three different platforms (thank god you stopped pushing to make the forth platform work!) has the potential to create three different sets of problems and you all know better than most that pCars has had it’s problems in spades.

I can only talk regarding the Xbox One version of the game, but it’s still lost on me how the game was released to retail with major controller issues that weren’t fixed until the first major patch came out some time later on. Every single patch that has been released since has either broken something that was working, or has broken something full stop. Just take a glance at the latest Patch 7 and the major tire heating issues that make this game pretty much non-playable and not at all enjoyable now, even though I know you’ll fix it eventually, but that’s not the point.

Patch 7.0 was the smallest in terms of any real features or bug fixes, so can I ask how on earth the testing team (because I’m presuming you have one) managed to approve the patch to be let loose on the unsuspecting public? It only requires anyone to drive pretty much any car around any track for a couple of laps to discover the tires don’t heat up at all. How did that get missed? How?

The timing of this latest issue is particularly poor as well – a couple of days before you all go on Christmas break – meaning there will be no fix in sight until a couple of weeks into the new year at least.

Add to this the fact the Renault Sports DLC pack is scheduled for release on the 22nd (something I for one was looking very much forward to) and this whole tire heating debacle has ruined any enjoyment I might have got out of the new cars and I suspect I won’t be the only one. If I were Renault Sports and I got wind of these issues that might spoil what is in effect a virtual advertisement for their vehicles .. I’d be pretty miffed and would think twice about licensing cars to you in future. Is it harsh to say that? Maybe, but it’s true.

Add further to this and what about those people coming late to the party and getting the game for Christmas? What are their impressions of the game going to be when they install it, find it does some updates and then they wonder what all the hype is about because the game (unknowing to them) has recently turned into “Strictly on Ice.” I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them put the game straight back down or return/trade-in their presents for a competitors little racing game.

You’ve made some bad decisions patch wise, timing wise and content wise.

Please don’t think I’m saying all of this just to berate you and “have a moan” because I’m not. I genuinely do (or did prior to patch 7) love Project Cars even with all it’s flaws. I wouldn’t be a member here in this forum like the numerous other members if I didn’t have passion for the game. I wouldn’t be writing this little letter if I didn’t care. No, my comments here are intended as the proverbial kick up the behind because something needs to change. If you carry this willy nilly attitude into Project Cars 2 of changing controller settings, handling physics or tire heating models in every patch WITHOUT proper testing, you are going to fail spectacularly in your efforts to create a truly monumental game. You will lose peoples trust, you will lose support and if you lose both of those, you disappear into the ether.

Don’t let that happen. Sort out whatever the issues are you have with internal processes and get on with making this game … and it’s sequel… the games they were intended to be!

Have a good break, clear your heads, but come back refreshed and “on it” in the new year.

Merry Christmas!