Slightly Mad Studios has been dominated the news cycle in 2019 so far. Between an entirely new console and confirmation of Project CARS 3, the UK studio has been busy. We know to not expect the Mad Box before 2022, but it will be a bit of a wait for the team’s next mainline sim racer too.
The news, as has become tradition, comes from SMS head honcho Ian Bell. Once again posting on the our forums, Bell gave us a rough idea of the stage the team is at. “We’re still at the design on paper stage,” says Bell, “this is very early pre-production.”
In the same post, Bell also mentions numerous members of what was once Evolution Studios now call Slightly Mad home. We covered this earlier this week, when we found out just what Bell’s “spiritual successor to Shift” comments meant: “less sandbox, more fun”.
On the surface, this may be disappointing. Project CARS 2 launched in 2017, two years after the first game. We got our first real concrete details about the sequel in January of that year, much the same way we just did on PCARS3. Sticking with the same gap between titles, that’d put the third title somewhere between late this year and spring 2020.
But it’s a strange time in sim racing, especially on consoles. We’re heading into the twilight years of this generation, with rumors ever-swirling on what’s next (be it PS5 or Xbox “Scarlett”). Designing for the next generation, especially with SMS’ cross-platform development kit, would allow the team to take full advantage of more powerful hardware.
It isn’t just hardware either. We wouldn’t be surprised if both of Project CARS’ two main console competitors, Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport, sit out the year.
We suggested as much in the former’s case in our first-year GT Sport retrospective. Using Sport as the only title of the franchise and continuing to build on it — like this month’s upcoming batch of cars — avoids the issue of releasing on an outdated console a la GT6.
Meanwhile in Forza land, the unprecedented continued monthly evolution of FM7 has had us seriously questioning whether Turn 10 will break from tradition and skip a 2019 release. It would be the first time since the franchise started way back in 2005. With a possible 2020 Scarlett release, it arguably makes sense to move one of the brand’s biggest names to coincide with it.
Whether or not SMS holds off on PCARS3 to also align with its Mad Box release — 2022 according to Bell — is another matter entirely. That’d be a long wait indeed, but on the other hand, Slightly Mad has a lot on its slate as is. In addition to the new console, there’s two other versions of Project CARS — Go and Pro — as well as the mystery Hollywood racing franchise.
When would you like to see Project CARS 3? Let us know in the comments, and keep an eye out for more on the franchise and Slightly Mad here on GTPlanet.