We just got our hands on F1 2020 for the first time and it's looking as accessible for newcomers as it looks comprehensive for enthusiasts. But after playing the game and attending Codemasters' presentation, we had the chance to talk with game director Lee Mather for a better understanding of the new features.
For example, despite the uncertainty surrounding the real world F1 season due to the coronavirus crisis, Codemasters still plans on delivering the full virtual season and, what is more, "we're readying the online weekly events", Mather confirms. "There'll be the ones with the classic cars, with the modern cars, and also the featured events". As fans might recall, "traditionally we've always mirrored them with the real calendar, but this year obviously there'll be a little bit more creative license" in terms of "which tracks we use and when they take place".
One thing we wanted to clarify is how the newly-introduced My Team mode differs from the classic Career mode, and whether it has any online component.
"You drive for a Formula 1 team", explains Mather, while "in My Team you are the driver and owner of a F1 team and you'll manage everything that goes along with that as well as being the driver". So, in other words, in the "traditional driver Career, you'll sign for one of the real teams of the grid, you'll be a commodity", "whereas in My Team you're the one who's going to the driver market trying to get a good second driver". That, and dealing with managing sponsorship deals, power unit suppliers, teammates (whoever you can afford), perhaps starting with Formula 2 drivers... And, effectively, My Team is completely offline, and despite the wording, it has nothing to do with the likes of PES myClub or FIFA's FUT.
We also wondered whether Codemasters might be looking into cross-save or cross-platform for the racer, but "for 2020 that's not something we're able to do at the moment", confirms Mather, "but it's something that we've started doing a significant amount of research into", as it'd mean a "very fundamental change in the structure" of systems and live services. "It's something that we're investigating for the future. We've certainly started that work to see how best to implement something along those lines for F1"
Then we dreamed of having a couch co-op team competing online ala Mario Kart, but for now the new split-screen local multiplayer remains offline as "it's obviously not an easy thing", as according to the game director "it was a significant technical achievement to get split-screen running in F1, but that's not to say in the future we won't want to build split-screen", considering "there's always potential".
And same goes for the new casual races, which lower the entry barrier by adding some automatism, aids, or car reset, while streamlining overwhelming menu options, all of which will be available in single-player only (Career, My Team, Grand Prix):
"For this year, because it's the first time we've implemented it, to avoid segmenting the userbase and having to compensate for the very different setup. it's only available in non-competitive game modes".
For more on classic drivers, the 70th Anniversary Edition, or the brand-new HUD features, watch on the full interview below.