With the Bahrain Grand Prix starting this weekend, EA Sports teased F1 23 a few days ago, hinting at a “fresh start” for the series.
This sparked speculation that this year’s F1 title will be rebuilt from the ground up, with a new graphics and physics engine, finally bringing the series up to modern standards.
But based on these new details, F1 23 might not be the fresh start for the series we were hoping for.
Same engine, same game?
Since F1 2010, every Codemasters F1 game is underpinned by the studio’s in-house EGO engine. This is the same engine that also powers the DIRT and GRID games.
Codemasters’ EGO engine was last updated for F1 2015 when the series launched on PS4 and Xbox One for the first time, with EGO 4.0 bringing substantial physics and graphics improvements.
With F1 2021 and F1 22 using the same engine as F1 2015, the series looks and feels dated on current-gen consoles.
According to a rumour from industry insider Tom Henderson, Codemasters is overhauling F1 23 with a long-overdue engine upgrade and expanding F1 Life with a new F1 World mode. There are also rumours that F1 23 will switch to the Frostbite engine, which also powers the EA Sports titles FIFA, Madden, NHL.
For years, the physics in Codemasters’ F1 games has left a lot to be desired. Even Lando Norris has complained that the lack of traction makes the cars harder to control in the games than real life.
As spotted by Formula Modding Team Founder Josh Merrin, F1 23 will still use Codemasters’ EGO engine, which is listed in the trademark credits on the official F1 23 game website.
F1 23 confirmed for Xbox One
Like F1 2015, this could mean F1 23 will use an upgraded version of the EGO engine with upgraded physics and graphics. This seems unlikely, however, because Microsoft has seemingly confirmed F1 23 is coming to last-gen consoles.
This means F1 23 will likely use the same EGO engine as F1 2015, allowing the game to run on the older Xbox One hardware.
The product listing mentions F1 23 is “optimised for Xbox Series X|S,” but this likely means it will run at 4K and 60fps like F1 22.
F1 2015 was a PS4 and Xbox One exclusive, meaning Codemasters could focus on optimising the game for new hardware. If F1 23 is another cross-gen game, we may have to wait until F1 24 for the series to get a true next-gen upgrade.
This makes sense from a business perspective. For the first time in years, the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles are now readily available after continuous stock shortages. By the time F1 24 is out, the current-gen consoles will have a larger player base, allowing EA to maximise F1 game sales.
There are also two new tracks on the 2023 race calendar: the Losail International Circuit and Las Vegas Street Circuit. Whether these new tracks are available in F1 23 on day one or added post-launch remains to be seen.
We’ll have to wait for Codemasters to reveal F1 23 to find out if there are any other new headline features. That could happen sooner rather than later based on this week’s teaser.
But if there are no substantial engine upgrades, F1 23 will feel like a stopgap rather than the generational leap forward we were hoping for.
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