Codemasters has announced a new installment in its GRID racing sim series -- and it's not hitting next-gen platforms.
Instead, GRID Autosport, as it's known, is being developed with PC as the lead platform (including support for 4K displays), with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports set for release alongside it. This is a sensible decision for several reasons: firstly, the PC has been quietly becoming a very solid platform for driving simulator enthusiasts over the last few years, and secondly, the install base of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is considerably larger than the current number of people who own either an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4. You may recall that this is the reason the upcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is coming to 360 and PS3 rather than One and PS4, and it's possible it's the case here, too.
To Clive Moody, a producer at Codemasters, though, it's about "unfinished business" with the outgoing generation of consoles.
"We've talked a lot about what GRID 2 was, and how it didn't service our core fans," he told our sister site Eurogamer. "I wanted to do something -- a last hurrah, if you like. This is the game that shows you what's doable and what's possible." On the subject of the new consoles, Moody noted that when his team talked with the GRID community, "no-one in the room had any urgency to move on to those new consoles."
For Codemasters, GRID Autosport is a fond farewell to the current generation of its Ego engine prior to a new version designed specifically for the latest hardware.
"We're working really hard on our next-gen Ego engine right now, and when we roll it out, we want it to be the best racing engine out there," Moody said. "That takes time, and it's not as if we haven't been working on it for some time. It wasn't really where we wanted it to be, I don't think, to produce what I would class as a truly competitive next-gen game coming out in the window we're coming out."
The pressure is on the team to get back to its roots with the new game; while GRID 2 had its dedicated fans, Moody and the team acknowledge that a number of people were left disappointed by the overdramatic spectacle of the sequel, and were instead clamoring for a return to more traditional motorsports simulation. Oh, and they wanted their cockpit view back, too; a visual option famously omitted from GRID 2 and promptly patched back in by disgruntled modders.
You'll be pleased to know that the cockpit view is back in GRID Autosport -- there are two, in fact: one like the original GRID showing the driver's hands, and one offering a closer view of the track -- and Moody and the team are keen to place the emphasis back on motorsport. The game unfolds across five different disciplines that are blended together in a team-based career mode, and a more refined handling model should make the game a little less arcadey in feel.
GRID Autosport will be out on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 the week of June 27.