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Ian Bell reveals “complete game changing” concept for GTR Revival


Former Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell has made some bold claims about GTR Revival, the spiritual successor to the beloved GTR PC racing simulation series.

In a series of Tweets, Bell claims GTR Revival will have “the best mod support ever”. Now, Bell has revealed a “complete game changing” concept in GTR Revival.

GTR Revival’s “complete game changing” concept

Straight4 Studios CEO Ian Bell revealed the team is working on a “complete game changing USP” for sim racing. He’s so proud of it that the studio applied for a patent.

Since then, a proof of concept video shared by Game Director Austin Ogonoski reveals the concept is called “AI Synthesized Commentary Team.”

The technology is described as “a method for spontaneously writing and reading aloud unique, contextually accurate, non-repetitious, simulated sports commentary.”

As demonstrated in Automobilista 2, the system generates spontaneous in-game commentary on the fly instead of using pre-recorded commentary.

In the video, the AI uses a voice synthesiser to impersonate NASCAR commentators Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer reacting to the racing action. Potentially, the AI technology could be licensed to other racing games outside GTR Revival.

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Whether this will revolutionise virtual racing commentary remains to be seen.  It certainly sounds more natural than the late Murray Walker's pre-recorded commentary in 1990s PlayStation Formula 1 games.

As you raced, Murray would respond to what was happening on track in his inimitable style. By contrast, Codemasters’ F1 games only feature pre- and post-race commentary.

AI commentators could make single-player races based on official championships more authentic and immersive. But no matter how convincing it is, we can’t see AI replacing human commentators in live esports races.

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Project CARS 3 nearly had a different name

Responding to a fan asking about Project CARS 3’s negative reception, Bell revealed he wanted to call the game “Project CARS Sideways” to reflect its arcade direction compared to the first two simulation games.

“I never wanted pCARS 3 to be called that. I was going with pCARS Sideways, a la Horizon with differences in content, marketing etc. But I was over-ruled after buy out. I'll take it on the head though. I should have fought harder.”

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