F1 2018 was a massive step forward for Codemasters. The game received glowing reviews from across the industry, including gamers themselves, and continued to build off the previous versions to make the best racing game around. Small additions like post-race interviews and a redesigned contract system gave F1 2018 a fresh feel while keeping all the strong points from F1 2017 like aggressive AI and gorgeous graphics. But what can fans expect from this year’s version? What have Codemasters already told us about F1 2019 ahead of its release?
The most important thing is that we know the release date. Codemasters are usually pretty consistent with the release date, dropping the game in late August when F1 itself is on a Summer break. This year they broke with tradition and are delivering the game two months early. With a release date of Friday, 28 June 2019 and early access for the Legends Edition from Tuesday, 25 June 2019.
This gives gamers the chance to dive into the game and play alongside the F1 2019 Championship and is a welcome piece of news to those that have already exhausted the 10-season Career Mode limit and mastered the game.
F1 2018 looked good, but the teaser shots from F1 2019 look like they were lifted from real life.
Here is a still from our test run around Monaco. You can see the way the sheen of the tyres displays wear and the wheel camber much more this year, as well as how the light responds to the new livery.
With next gen consoles not too far away it would have been easy for Codemasters to back off graphics development but instead they have gone all out to deliver the most realistic looking F1 game they possibly can. This is a welcome step forward for fans and will make the new game feel drastically different from F1 2018.
In these stills from Codemasters you can see the detail they have added not just to the track and tyre surface but also to the surroundings of the circuit and the spectacular improvement of the lighting. F1 2019 is set to be the most visually stunning racing game yet.
Career Mode & F2 Championship
Career Mode has often allowed you to drop into whatever car you want and hit the circuit straight away. Some previous versions have given you a test day as ways of introducing you to the new team, but for the most part you arrive and drive in an F1 career mode. Well, not now.
Codemasters have introduced the F2 Championship to F1 2019. Bringing the final junior formula into the game means players will have to earn their spot in F1, competing in a few rounds of the 2018 F2 Championship alongside new F1 drivers George Russell, Alexander Albon, and Lando Norris.
You will also have to choose a young driver program to join, which will limit your team options early in your career. Will you join Red Bull's program and try to win a seat at Toro Rosso and race your way up to the main team? Or will you sign up with Ferrari and look to follow Charles Leclerc's Alfa Romeo to Ferrari path?
All these additions will give F1 2019's career mode a completely different feel to last years game as well as bringing improvements and changes to the rivals mechanic from F1 2018 which was rather basic.
The addition of F2 cars also gives the game another level of play. These cars are similar to F1 in a lot of ways, but they lack the ERS deployment mechanic and the aerodynamics are less efficient, meaning they can be trickier to drive and overtaking is a little easier. F2 has a reputation for more wheel-to-wheel action and more aggressive driving, something fans have been desperate for in F1 games.
There will be two F2 challenges and 1 race at the start of Career Mode, but outside of Career Mode you can do the whole 2018 F2 season as well as take these cars on any of the F1 circuits.
Fans have been begging for more customisation options in F1 games for years and Codemasters are finally delivering. F1 2019 will see custom livery options in multiplayer mode.
This isn't the only addition to multiplayer either. There will be a car specially designed by F1 icons Ross Brawn and Pat Symonds available to players that is built to the specs of the 2019 F1 cars and represents a big step forward in realism for the franchise.
Online lobbies can fall into a pattern of watching Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull race around the same handful of tracks. Adding these custom liveries will make every race feel different and give some more ownership to players and hopefully result in drivers taking more care in online lobbies.
While career mode looks to introduce improved rivalry mechanics, the greatest rivalry in F1 history is coming in F1 2019. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, along with their legendary McLaren MP4/5B and Ferrari F1-90 cars will be in the Legends Edition of this year's game.
Along with their cars you'll get to face-off in eight race challenges and exclusive Senna & Prost themed multiplayer liveries. This adds a whole new dimension to F1 2019 and brings the series in line with other sports franchises that have included a story mode or historical gameplay for some time now.
More Classic Cars
Classic cars has been something Codemasters have been adding to the games for a while now, building on their stockpile each year. They all handle and perform very differently from the modern cars, which makes mastering them an extra challenge for drivers.
This year the Anniversary and Legends Edition will include the 2010 Ferrari F10 and 2010 McLaren MP4-25 which both won races and competed for the title that year. Codemasters will also carry over last years batch of cars that include 1970's Lotus' and the spectacular 2004 Ferrari.
There is an exhaustive wish list for F1 fans of what they would like added both to the real series and to the game. We would love to see the ability to create your own team in the championship. Adding an 11th team to the career mode grid and being able to design the livery, choose the name, and pick a driver to take the second seat next to you. RealSport Racing has a nice ring to it.
The future of games is undoubtedly virtual reality. While the addition of VR is unlikely to come on console in this iteration of F1, the ability of PC games to be VR-ready is already well established. Sim racing game Assetto Corsa has shown us just how sensational F1 in VR can look. This is the future of F1 gaming, and we can't wait.
What do you want to see in F1 2019?
- Driver transfers
- More realistic damage
- Classic tracks
- Better online penalty system
- FIFA-style "Journey" game mode
- Other (comment below)
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