For the 2022 season, Formula 1 has entered a new era. The sport introduced a new car specification for this year, complete with a new set of regulations governing how it can be used. There is a new circuit in the United States, as well as a continuation of the speed racing format that is still in its infancy. Big changes for teams at the start of the season prompted EA-owned Codemasters to redesign the latest entry in the F1 game series to match real-life updates on the track.
As studios often do with games like this, Codemasters is promoting F1 22 as the “biggest revision” to the title in years. And with the debut of a new generation car, it’s not hyperbole. Specifically, the company says handling is “better than ever” with improvements to aerodynamic and suspension simulation, plus tire changes to real-life standards. Codemasters says it was in contact with both F1 and the teams about how the new generation of cars would drive so it could completely overhaul the game’s mechanics and physics to reflect IRL racing.
In an effort to increase the game’s realism, Codemasters have changed the voice of their team’s race engineer to Marc Preistley, a former member of the McLaren Racing F1 team. The studio even went so far as to record Preistley’s guidance through Formula 1-spec headphones to make the audio as authentic as possible. Other race day changes include the Formation Lap and the AR-guided grid lineup. Pit stops have been upgraded to real life speed and there is a timed pit stop mechanic that affects the efficiency of your pit stop.
Practice sessions now include an AR projection on the track to help both experienced drivers refine their lines and novices learn circuits. Additionally, both the Formation Lap and the Safety Car sequences give you the option to actively participate or watch a more broadcast-like cinematic version of the process. Codemasters says this gives users who crave authenticity the ability to pull off every move of a run, but also gives more casual gamers the option of something more relaxed. Pit stops are another area where things can be as active as you like. You can manually hit your pit box with the timing mechanic, or watch from a TV-style perspective.
For beginners, there is a new adaptive AI feature. Codemasters says that it is designed for users who are fans of F1 but are not yet experts in racing games. Essentially, the game’s AI plays more closely with the user so that even a novice driver can take part in the race instead of struggling to keep up with the rest. The adaptive AI has two levels: standard and a more aggressive mode that slows down the game even more.
F1 22 it will also add the drag race format that Formula 1 adopted for select weekends in 2021 and has continued this season. A sprint race determines the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix at these circuits rather than traditional qualifying (qualifying is used to set the grid for the sprint). Speed races will be part of the season in Imola, Austria and Brazil and are also part of the game in those places. F1 added a second race in the US this year at Miami, and that circuit will also appear in the game. Codemasters made changes in Australia, Spain and Abu Dhabi in line with updates to real tracks that are better suited to new cars.
There are also changes for career mode or My Team. First, you can choose from three entry levels: newcomer, midfield challenger, or title contender. You can start with a team that already has established operations and a great driver, or you can make things more challenging. There are things like the option to skip an interview or not deal with a facility issue, issues that real crew chiefs face, that can affect how your season goes if you don’t handle them properly.
In My Team, you’ve had the ability to customize your livery before, but Codemasters has expanded this area. There are more finishes for the car (gloss, metallic, matte, satin) and there are more places on the car that are available to change. Interface updates here allow you to copy and paste livery color schemes into places like your engineering facility so you have a cohesive identity for your team.
With F1 Life, the game’s new hub, you can view the supercars you unlock as you play (which can be driven in secondary game modes), explore your trophy case and customize your driver’s style. Here’s a closet where you can upgrade both casual and race gear, right down to your helmet and gloves. F1 Life also serves as a lobby for multiplayer races, where your driver and his personal style will appear for all to see. You even have the ability to customize your “space” or living room where furniture, lighting, art, and more can be swapped out as you see fit.
Lastly, there is a virtual reality component for PC. With this game mode, you can race from the driver’s perspective, watching the entire race from the cockpit. If you’ve ever seen a driver cam during a race, that should give you a good idea of what to expect here. You can still compete against friends even if they don’t have a VR headset, as online play is still available for players who opt for the more immersive VR option.
F1 22 will be available June 28 as a digital Champions Edition on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC (Epic, Origin, and Steam). The “regular” version will follow on July 1.
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