After Project CARS 3's poor reception and disastrous launch, Project CARS 4 was set to return to its sim racing roots. But according to a new report, EA has cancelled Project CARS 4 development and will no longer invest in the Project CARS franchise.
EA pulls the plug on Project CARS
According to GamesIndustry.bz and corroborated by Insider Gaming, EA is pulling the plug on the Project CARS franchise.
EA reportedly cancelled the Project CARS franchise following its acquisition of Codemasters in 2019 because it’s “unlikely to become a successful game or fit in with the rest of the publisher's racing portfolio.”
In an internal email, EA said that employees working on Project CARS will be moved into "suitable" roles "wherever [they] can."
Sadly, the writing was already on the wall. Project CARS 3 was a massive flop, selling 86% less than Project CARS 2 in the UK. Project CARS had ambitions to be the ultimate sim racing sandbox. But with the removal of pit stops, tyre wear, and fuel usage, the third game was a Project CARS game in name only.
Project CARS and Project CARS 2 were also delisted on Steam back in September. This was apparently due to car and track licences expiring, but this now seems like a warning sign that EA was about to ditch the Project CARS franchise.
"Decisions like these are very hard, but allow us to prioritise our focus in areas where we believe we have the strongest opportunity to create experiences that fans will love,” an EA spokesperson said in a statement to GamesIndustry.bz.
“We are focusing on our strengths in our racing portfolio, particularly licensed IP and open-world experiences, and expanding our franchises to be more socially-led with long-term live services that will engage global communities."
"Games are at the heart of sports and racing entertainment, and with shifting fan expectations, we recognise the need to evolve our games beyond pure play, providing experiences for fans to also watch, create and connect with their friends.”
"We are working with everyone impacted by this decision to place them into suitable roles across our EA Sports and racing portfolio, as well as other parts of EA, wherever we can. Our priority now is on providing as much support as possible to our people through this transition."
Project CARS isn't the only Codemasters' owned racing game franchise getting the chop either. Insider Gamer claims the DIRT franchise is also retiring, with Codemasters' new WRC game replacing DIRT Rally 3 next year.
RIP Project CARS 4
Back in 2020, former Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell boldly claimed that Project CARS 4 will be “the most realistic simulation ever made.”
The fourth entry in the Project CARS franchise was never officially announced but was reportedly in development and aiming for a 2024 release according to EA leaker Tom Henderson.
Sadly, we’ll never get to see what Project CARS 4 could have been.