Does Formula E Need Its Own Standalone Video Game Series?
Formula E is into its fourth season as the first ever fully electric car championship, sanctioned by the FIA - during that time, we've seen lots of exciting racing, drama and once forgotten drivers getting their hands on a world championship. The sport is growing in popularity, and in this article I will be discussing whether Formula E needs to have its own standalone video game series, or if other options in existing games would be suitable.
Before I get into this discussion - if you're currently reading this and have no clue what Formula E is, watch the video above from Julius Baer's YouTube channel. It will tell you everything you need to know about the sport.
YES, I KNOW RFACTOR2 ALREADY HAVE THEIR OWN FORMULA E PACK....
But is it a viable substitute for a Formula E game? Not really.
Allow me to elaborate. Having seen gameplay of the pack itself - it does look realistic enough and the cars handle perfectly fine, but there is only one officially licensed FE track included (the Hong Kong e-prix circuit), which is nowhere near enough for something that is supposed to be the officially licensed pack for the sport. Bearing in mind the pack has been out since late November 2017, you'd think the developers would've added new e-Prix tracks over time as updates or DLC. Although players can use the FE cars on any rFactor track they want (e.g. Circuit De La Sarthe, Road America, etc) - they would have to turn battery use settings down or off completely to get the most out of their experience. And in an age where realism seems to be everything in the motorsport genre, that isn't good enough.
Another limitation of the FE pack is that rFactor 2 is a PC only game. If you're a peasant like me and don't own a gaming PC, nor have the time or money to really have one - you can't experience it for yourself. An FE game should cater for players across all consoles and PCs.
I've linked below RaceDepartment's informative YouTube video on the FE pack, if you're interested in playing it for yourself:
COULD GRAN TURISMO HOLD THE KEY FOR THE FORMULA E LICENCE?
If Formula E wanted to get around the limitations that rFactor holds - maybe selling the licence to a franchise like Gran Turismo would certainly be an option to take into consideration. This sort of practice has worked before with past GT games, with the All-Japan Grand Touring Championship (renamed Super GT in 2005) having their cars featured in past entries, starting with Gran Turismo 2 in 1999 - and as a result, the popularity of the real-life racing series that the cars compete in skyrocketed. There is a valid argument for doing the same with Formula E.
For a start, Polyphony Digital has built up some sort of working relationship with the FIA - as seen with GT Sport's FIA sanctioned online Nations and Manufacturers championships. If the FIA are truly committed to expanding into the lucrative eSports market, then taking a series such as Formula E and holding online championships similar to the ones mentioned above would be a good idea. Having real-life rules such as battery usage, tyre wear and changing cars mid-way through the race would certainly add the sense of realism to the competition.
But there's a couple of problems standing in the way. The first is that GT Sport isn't really on the same level as a few of its competitors such as Project Cars 2 and Assetto Corsa - if you've read my previous work on this website, you'll will know that I (like many others) are not entirely convinced by the game's quality. Secondly, GT Sport is a PS4 exclusive - meaning that (like rFactor on PC) anyone without the right console cannot play it. Again, an FE game or add-on pack should cater for all players across consoles and PCs.
WHAT ABOUT PROJECT CARS 2 OR ASSETTO CORSA?
Straight away, you don't need to worry about compatibility with consoles and PCs - because Project Cars 2 and Assetto Corsa are playable on both.
Both games have been very trustworthy and reliable in terms of delivering a enjoyable playing experience to its audience. With PC2 already picking up the IndyCar Series licence - it is questionable whether or not they would be willing to purchase another licence for a type of motorsport that is more or less completely different. If they were to have Formula E as part of their ever extending catalog of content, it could be a wise move on their part.
As for Assetto Corsa, their modding tools for PC have already seen a number of unofficial FE packs added to the game. Whilst user created content can be an excellent substitution, it is extremely difficult to come close to the real thing, as demonstrated below in this video made by YouTube user ACF1 Mango:
However, Assetto Corsa has got official licences for Ferrari's F1 cars (past and present), and with a new game coming out this year - Assetto Corsa Competizione - dedicated to the Blancpain GT series, having a similar game with the Formula E licence could be a big hit with racing fans.
COULD FORMULA E GO IT ALONE AND RELEASE THEIR OWN VIDEO GAME?
This is the big question that has been plaguing my mind for a while now. Could Formula E decide to sell their licence to someone like Codemasters or EA, and decide to make their own standalone game?
I think it could work. As someone who is open to trying out any kind of motorsport in gaming (apart from DiRT 4's Landrush, f**k that), I would happily buy a Formula E game for my PS4. Of course, it would have to be compatible with both consoles and PCs, feature all of the cars and tracks used in the real life series, and would need a solid career mode - preferably with the official support series and a story mode thrown in there to create a sort of rags-to-riches story. Online elements would be a big part of the game as well, with room for lobbies, championships and daily challenges.
Hell, I might even write up a concept idea for it. After all, I have got a Writing for Gaming assignment at uni due in next month....
YOUR OPINIONS, PLEASE
Now that I've finished my rambling, I want to hear what you guys in the DriveTribe nation have to say. Leave a comment below saying which one of the five options I've discussed that you think would work best for Formula E.
Anyway, thank you for reading - and who knows, I might even do a follow-up piece on my FE game idea.... *foreshadowing*