A First Look At Codemasters' 'F1 2017' From E3

In addition to the Dirt series, Codemasters is also the team behind another franchise of racing titles: the F1, or Formula 1, games. At E3, the studio was on hand to show off the latest installment, called F1 2017, and we spoke to creative director Lee Mather on some of the changes coming to the annual title.

More Control

F1 2017's appeal lies in its depiction of a full-race weekend. In addition to the qualifying and actual races, you’ll also participate in a few practice “programs” that teach you the layout of the track, how to conserve your tires, and the correct angle required to make turns on corners. Mather mentioned that the upcoming game will feature two additional programs that focus on tires and fuel conservation to teach you the best way to stay in the lead without making unnecessary pit stops. In the real world, most F1 races are won or lost depending on when drivers decide to change tires or take on extra fuel, so the programs will also add another dose of realism to the title.

You can tweak different parts of your car during a race, such as brake bias, suspension, and even tire pressure. For this year’s game, Mather and his team will let you also tweak the engine and gearbox to make your car perform even more closely to your custom preferences for each track. Your changes can also have an effect during the race--the engine and gearbox will suffer wear and tear, so you’ll need to monitor them every few laps. In the past, the points you earned after each race went to numerous upgrades for your car, such as overall fuel efficiency, weight reduction, and engine power. Mather said that this method will be obsolete in the new game; the development team will replace it with a “skill-tree” progression system that will determine your team’s overall direction for car development. 

More To Do

If the pressure of an F1 race weekend is too intense, you can try the new Challenges mode, which features 12 classic F1 cars such as the McLaren MP4/4, which was piloted by both Ayrton Senna and his longtime rival Alain Prost, and the Ferrari F2002 driven by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Mather told us that there’s even a short story-like introduction to these challenges. In the game, all of the old F1 cars are owned by someone with deep pockets who wants you to race them around the track. These challenges are a mix of overtaking races or simple time trials so that you can experience the power (and lack of safety options) that comes with these classic vehicles.

As far as multiplayer is concerned, Mather said you can create races with multiple criteria, such as specific classes and specs. You can even have a race where players will all have identical cars to make sure the victor is determined through driving skill rather than vehicle choice.
You’ll also get to try out some new layouts to existing tracks.

You'll now be able to choose a female avatar when you make a new character, which is a welcome addition. It should be noted, however, that F1 2017 wasn’t the only racing game this year to introduce women to the virtual racing scene. Forza Motorsport 7 will also include female drivers when it debuts.

For new players, including those of us who only played last year’s game, there will still be video tutorials, but new on-screen prompts will further help new drivers acclimate to the fast-paced races. As helpful as these videos are to teaching the fundamentals, they’re nothing compared to actually trying out newly introduced maneuvers and techniques on a practice track. Codemasters’ latest release, Dirt 4, had a mix of video tutorials and practice events to go along with the clips so new players would get hands-on experience as soon as possible. It might be too late in the development cycle to add a similar feature to F1 2017, but we believe Codemasters should try and implement it in next year’s iteration.

For Niche And Newcomers Alike

For the die-hard fans, F1 2017 seems to have even more things for you to tweak to create a perfect car setup for any track. The additional programs can also help form a strategy that ensures the minimum amount of pit stops for tire changes and fuel refills. The addition of classic cars is a bonus for any longtime fan of the sport. With the help of driving assists and tutorial videos, newcomers can also try their hand at Formula 1 racing. However, Codemasters can do better, as we saw in Dirt 4, and the developer should try to improve the way it introduces the mechanics of F1 racing to those unfamiliar with the sport.

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NameF1 2017
TypeRacing, Simulation
PublisherDeep Silver
PlatformsPC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Where To BuyN/A
Release DateAugust 25, 2017
  • dstarr3
    Considering this franchise has been in a tailspin since F1 2013, I would appreciate it if this one were good again.
  • NightLight
    with all the issues of the last one, I hope this one is good again.