‘One Corner at a Time’ | GRID 2 Interview

Published on March 21st, 2013

We quiz executive producer Vincent Meulle on all things motorsport!

Some executive producers are stuffy types who have no time for questions unless they are part of a grander marketing strategy. Codemasters’ Vincent Meulle was as far away from the archetype as possible. The developer was more than happy to answer all of our questions about in a honest and frank manner, and put up with some of our stranger questions regarding motorsport. We view GRID as one of the best racers of this generation, so as you can imagine we had a fair amount of questions. Here’s how our conversation with Mr Meulle panned out.

One Corner at a Time | GRID 2 Interview

Of all the car classes already announced for GRID 2, it's the inclusion of Touring Cars that gets us most excited.

A lot of GRID’s appeal was based around simulating the tertiary world of modern-day motorsport, so things like pleasing sponsors, choosing the right car for competitions and choosing a team-mate. Are those things going to be in the game at all?

Those things that you talk about, some of them are definitely in the game.Aspects like sponsorship are still present and configuring your car is there. Those things we’ve kept and pushed further, so we will definitely continue in this direction.

With regards to team-mates, is that functionality in there?

I can’t tell you at the moment.

GRID emulated a lot of real-life motorsport events and series without actually having the respective licenses, Le Mans was the notable exception to that, how much can you talk about what licenses you have? The WSR combines all of motorsport into one central event, but will you have specific types of events in there like karting, endurance etc?

The game is about travelling all over the world, and each club will have a different style of racing attached to it. We’re clearly emulating quite a lot of different racing disciplines in the game. If you see what we did for the pre-order in America, we’re giving away the Indy track along with an Indy car, but that tells you that this kind of thing is present in some ways in the game.

One Corner at a Time | GRID 2 Interview

Touge events make a return of sorts.

Another thing that Codemasters has attracted a lot of flack for in the public domain is the LiveRoutes mechanic, which changes an event’s track layout lap to lap. How will that work?

What we call LiveRoutes is really challenging tech, and it’s something we’re quite excited about. Basically, when you get into certain city events, the route will change when you’re in the city dynamically. What we do when we make the cities is create a network of multiple routes, and in this mode we change those routes on the fly. You can go around the city for potentially hours and hours, and when we did the first focus tests, the feedback has been amazing as people can play for a really long time without the event feeling repetitive. The big advantage is going to be online, as you can imagine doing endurance laps with your mates, and on dynamic you can set it for X amount of time and you can just go for it, and you always have something new waiting around the corner.

Obviously this mechanic would work extremely well with city events, but on established circuits like Brands Hatch the layout won’t change, right?

Specific tracks will stay the same as the real-life layout. This mode has been specifically designed for the cities.

The original GRID boasts the same globetrotting mentality as the sequel, with players tackling drift, urban races and circuit races in different continents. Why do you need the WSR concept to unify that, why not just stick with GRID’s original multi-series approach?

We wanted to give a story to the game. I think GRID 1 was excellent, but with GRID 2 we wanted to push what we had done to something new and something more unified. There is still that same aspect as competing through all different types of game modes and clubs, though. All of the variety from GRID 1 to GRID 2 is still there, we’re just combining this into a more unified story around the WSR.

One Corner at a Time | GRID 2 Interview

Expect the same close, competitive racing found in GRID.

The lack of a cockpit view in GRID 2, even though it was in original GRID, has caused a lot of controversy among fans. What was it like to be in-house for that backlash?

The thing is that was a really big decision for us. It allows us to be able to push other things in the game, like with the visuals. We’ve been able to extend point-to-point events, we’ve been able to add more cars to the track, and that’s really pushing things forward. It’s a good decision for the game and we don’t regret it.

You’d much rather use the system resources usually utilised for rendering in-car views for doing other things…

Yeah, and we have complete respect for those that use a cockpit cam, but we need to look at the whole aspect of the game. If we just had to do this game for PC we obviously would have a cockpit cam, but we only have so much power to play with [referring to consoles]. We’d prefer to focus on the race experience, and that unfortunately lead us to make some difficult decisions regarding the cockpit cam.

This is the last big racing game hurrah for the current generation of consoles. Do you have any trepidation about that or do you think it’s an exciting thing?

Of course I think it’s really exciting. We’re coming to the end of the generation, we want to make this game best in class and we’re really pushing things to the next level.

This interview was published first in last month’s issue of FirstLook Magazine. Be sure to read this month’s issue out on Thursday, 21st March for the latest news, interviews and previews on the biggest and brightest game releases. Last month’s issue has been embedded for your reading pleasure below:

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