We were given the opportunity to get a first look of the PROJECT Cars 3 by Slightly Mad Studios keynote thanks to Bandai Namco Entertainment, which you might be able to expect this summer 2020! The game will be available on PC via Steam, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The keynote featured Joe Barron, marketing and esports manager, and Matt York, one of the game’s designers. The keynote is meant to show the studio’s vision for PROJECT Cars 3, with a peek at features and gameplay.
“Project Cars 3 is all about the intensity of motor sport, immersing the player in the experience of racing.”
Joe Barron, marketing and esports manager, Slightly Mad Studios
PROJECT Cars 3 promises a brand new metagame where you can gain experience from playing the game, levelling up and buying upgrades with your rewards, all to customize your own garage of cars while being accessible without compromising on “the core racing and driving experience”. There will also be no microtransactions.
The keynote was broken down into separate sections, and we’ll cover them in order. First up:
This mode is “rebuilt from scratch with an all new structure, designed to give gamers a better sense of progression from zero to hero in the world of racing”. PROJECT Cars has always placed importance on the idea of an authentic motorsport career ladder. The preview showed various categories of achievements in the game modes as well as the presence of Credits – earned in-game – to unlock tracks, events or cars earlier so that you don’t need to stick to a specific championship or car type. Otherwise, they’ll gradually unlock by completing Career Objectives in the races you do.
Completing goals can provide bonus rewards, namely, unlocking more events as an example, on top of the experience reward. A videos section is also available, but it wasn’t showcased. The gradual progression is meant to make the game more rewarding as you make your way through the grassroots racing level to a pro. The Career mode is considered the curated tour of PROJECT Cars most exciting cars, tracks and gameplay.
The tracks will have certain vehicle class requirements as well as modes (e.g. “race”, “hot lap”) and the naming conventions indicate there may be different routes on the same map (e.g. Shanghai Street Circuit, Route A). Tracks can have missions where you are required to finish the race, overtake a number of unique opponents, and so forth, besides saving your best times.
Go through all 10 upgradable car classes as you play through Career mode, gradually introducing players to unlocking and upgrading their cars as goals to work towards. As part of the efforts to ease new players into the game, there will be assist and difficulty options to choose from, with rewards scaled to follow. Some of the assists you can find include:
- Handling assists
- Anti-lock brakes
- Stability control
- Traction control
- Track guide
- Proximity indicator
META AND UPGRADES
Keywords: play, progression, and rewards. You will have accolades, anything from completing great starts or mastering multiple corners, to keep you in a compulsive loop of rewards that permeates throughout the game. Cars have their own level tied to them as well.
In your profile page, you can find things like:
- Profile summary
- Customise driver
- Racing licence
Any game mode will give experience and in-game Credits, the latter of which can be used on cars and performance upgrades. Upgrading cars will upgrade their Performance Index Rating and allow you to take your favourite car tthroughout the game as you work on moving it up the car class ladder. Cars can be purchasaed with in-game Credits, and can have the following upgraded:
- Weight reduction
- Body work
- Air intake
- Fuel injection
- and so much more
Cars will have an easy indicator to show you if it can be upgraded further so you don’t need to worry about scrolling through a multitude of vehicles.
Players can choose to practice first with AI and you can create events to do so. Otherwise, competitive players can head towards the online leagues and esports. Both modes will reward experience and Credits.
At present, PROJECT Cars 2 still runs esports events and weekly online racing leagues. Multiplayer will be overhauled in the third title with a variety of modes to get started in. Quick Play is as easy as it sounds, and for the first time in the franchise, it will feature skill-based matchmaking.
Scheduled Events will be organized, no less competitive and skill-based than Quick Play. These will be longer races, with cars, tracks and rules set by the studio team. You’ll have a list of races that will start at specific times accordingly with player region. Racers will first register for the race, before they head into Qualifying to set their fastest lap to determine their place in the grid. You’ll be matched with others who registered for the same race at the same time, which will then be further split into skill level and safety ratings before the race starts proper.
There will be, of course, custom lobbies too, where you can create your own races to go privately against some buddies or for league races. You can bring your personally upgraded cars to these races if you wish. There’ll be plenty of settings for you to tinker around with:
- Weather conditions
- Time of day
- Time progression
- Track condition
- Starting/finishing weather
- Number of laps
- Opponent vehicles, presumably to turn off cosmetics
- Rules and penalties
Multiplayer modes will be utilizing relay servers to ensure better connectivity, stability, and latency. Visual customizations on your cars will be visible to players and any spectators. Should you not own the right class of car, you can borrow one from the game.
A brand new asynchronous multiplayer mode, players will be racing against Dynamic Ghosts; wherein the game automatically grabs and displays ghosts from your nearest rivals. There will be rankings and a rewards structure, with the studio managing a series of events: daily, weekly, monthly, season by season. It’s similar to PROJECT Cars 2‘s monthly community events, which the Rivals mode replaces. More variety in event types and scenarios are mentioned.
Gain experience simply by participating, though of course the bigger rewards to obtain depending on your final rankings, which in turn earns you Rival Points to determine your monthly standings. There will be multiple divisions intended to give a better sense of progression and competition, as you move up and down the tiers monthly according to your performance.
A first to PROJECT Cars, kit out your ride to show off both online and in photo mode. Choose from official manufacturer paints, pre-made fictional liveries, or create your own liveries. They will also offer lots of colour palettes too. Other various customization options include paint types, patterns, sponsor decals, wheel rims, tires, license plates and so forth.
Returning from previous games is the custom event, for players to set up their own single player race. In this traditional sandbox gameplay, players can race on any track with any car even if they don’t have them. Settings include:
- Number of AI
- Opponent vehicles class
- Grid position
- Rules and penalties
- Weather / time
- Utilizes the series’ industry leading LiveTrack and weather system
The neon-lit streets of Shanghai and Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil – part of the Brazilian Grand Prix – are tracks new to PROJECT Cars 3. In gameplay, you can earn experience from essentially everything you do, so just play the game and you’ll rack up those points. Improvements for core fans while still being welcoming and accessible to newcomers are promised; mentioned are
- New gamepad handling with dramatically improved assists
- More intense and immersive thanks to new post processing effects, improved motion blur, improved camera shake, impact camera
- Refinements to gameplay cameras especially to chase camera, to help new players
- Refined AI behaviour for more believable, consistent experience
PROJECT Cars 2 was released in 2017. Ready to buckle up for the next one?