After Codemaster's last deep-dive focused on F1 22’s revamped driving physics, Senior Creative Director Lee Mather provides further insight into F1 22’s new features including VR, Broadcast mode, Adaptive AI, F1 Life, and more.
VR for the first time
For the first time in the series, F1 22 will have VR support on PC, adding a new layer of immersion and simulating the thrill of driving a Formula 1.
“Fans have really been looking for VR for some time,” Senior Creative Director Lee Mather explained. “We needed it to be the right time for the team and the right time for the feature set of the game. But ultimately, we also needed to find the right partner to do VR.”
Codemasters partnered with BehaVR, which also worked on VR for the DiRT series. Work on F1 22’s VR mode began at the start of the development cycle around nine months ago.
Mather went on to explain that one of the biggest challenges of implementing VR into a game like F1 22 is maintaining a high frame rate and making players feel comfortable.
F1 22 will run at a smooth 60fps and up to 120fps on current-gen consoles. “On PC you have more power available to you but it’s also determined by the spec of the PC you’re running on.”
“In VR, there are certain things that impact the player. If you hit a barrier or hit a wall aggressively in VR, that’s a really jarring experience. We’ve had to do a number of things to ensure the player doesn’t feel queasy or sick but still gets across the ferocity and excitement of driving a Formula 1 car.”
VR will also enhance the claustrophobic feeling of the pack bunching up when it rains and racing between the barriers at the narrow Monaco and Baku circuits.
The F1 22 VR gameplay footage shown in the deep dive video looks mesmerising. As you look around the cockpit, you can see all the switches and buttons as well as the stickers to sign off the car by the scrutineers and engineers working on the car in the garage.
Racing in VR also increases the sense of speed as you’re sat low in the cockpit as well as the scale of the environments. This allows you to admire the detailed buildings in Miami Grand Prix Circuit. Mather explained that once you get used to the brutal pace, racing in VR will “feel really natural” as can move your head to see who is alongside you and look at the apex to ensure you hit the apex.
As well as Formula 1 and Formula 2 cars, supercars will also be drivable in VR. F1 22’s VR isn’t limited to single-player online, as players will be able to race online in VR. Lobbies will be mixed, meaning you can play against players with or without players.
F1 22 supported VR headsets
F1 22 will support the Valve Index, Oculus Quest 2 with link cable, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, and HTC Vive Cosmos. There are no plans to support PSVR on PS4 and PS5.
VR isn’t the only standout new feature in F1 22. New to F1 22 is a broadcast presentation feature that allows players to watch pit stops, safety car sessions, and formation laps without skipping them.
“What we wanted to do was for players who maybe didn’t want to spend four or five laps behind the safety car was put in a broadcast version that represents it very much as they see it on TV, so they get the experience of the safety car and the outcome of the safety car without having to drive that period.”
On the flip side, Codemasters has added more immersive versions of the pit stop and formation laps for players who want the full F1 experience. In formation laps, you can park your car in the grid slot before the race starts, while a new timing feature lets you manually turn into the pit box.
Turning incorrectly can result in pit crew errors such as stuck wheels if there’s a tyre change or issues with changing the front wing.
Catering to new players, F1 22 introduces a new Adaptive AI that slows the pace of AI opponents. “Adaptive AI allows you to stay in the battle,” Mather explained. “It allows you to be racing with other cars” and automatically scales the difficulty. For new players, a more aggressive option slows the AI down if you make a mistake and will “essentially wait for you.”
My Team and career changes
My Team and Career have also seen some changes. Department events have been expanded into both the driver career and My Team.
“It could be that you’re asked a question the first or second race of the season but you won’t see an outcome for a number of races or you won’t see the impact of your decision for a number of races.” For example, if something goes wrong at the factory and you ignore it, this can save money in the short term but causes problems later on.
There are also different entry points in My Team, meaning you can start at the back of the gird, in the middle of the field, or at the front. Practice programs are also expanded, highlighting where players are performing well on corners. The presentation is has been changed this year with an augmented reality system allowing you to see your progress live while you race.
Finally, Mather provided more insight into F1 Life, one of F1 22’s main new features. Simulating the glamorous lifestyle of an F1 driver, players can furnish spaces, display trophies to other players in online lobbies, and build a collection of supercars. “I think it’s a huge part of the sport and a huge appeal of the sport,” said Mather.
“We wanted to give the player another opportunity to have more personalisation and customisation and to make the game feel like theirs but also to showcase some of the progression and what they’re like as a person with their friends.”