F1 2019’s Career Mode has several changes, not least of which is the all-new F2 Feeder Series. As a fan of all forms of motorsport this seems super exciting and gives you an opportunity to progress from a known and branded F2 team into an established F1 team.
The way Codemasters have done this may not be to everyone’s liking. You’ll start by selecting an F2 team, after which you’ll be taken through a series of scenarios that will create the standout moments of your F2 season prior to your entry into F1. These scenarios very much play out like scenarios on some of your other favourite sports games. FIFA and NBA 2K being the key ones that spring to mind.
Rivals set the tone for Career Mode this year
These scenarios are very rival driven. You’ll follow fellow aspirational drivers Lukas Weber and Devon Butler through the first season. Lukas is your calm headed teammate whom the rivalry shouldn’t get too heated. However, Devon Butler from what early shots of cut-scenes have shown look fiery and antagonistic. The choices you make during your first season in particular will apparently influence future results in the story mode. Imagine the scenes if you lose out to one of these characters in your 3rd season of F1 to see them win the World Drivers’ Championship first.
The scenarios have over one outcome, for example, did you let your faster teammate past or not? Your choices are key here. Realistically, I think this is only a 1-2 season thing. Come season 5 there won’t be any cut-scenes and you must rely on the racing more to create more organic storylines, which is what we’re all used to anyway.
Codemasters have also promised us these choices will have lasting consequences with the kinds of questions you’ll be asked in the press conferences and even what Anthony Davidson and David Croft say about you in the buildup to races. Of course, these relationships aren’t just one way, either. Lukas and Devon also answer questions from the press, and you’ll regularly receive transcripts of their interviews so you can see what they’re saying about you – or about the other official drivers on the grid, with whom (like you) Lukas and Devon can form rivalries of their own. Given Devon’s hot headed nature he is unlikely to get on well with Sebastian Vettel in the same Ferrari team.
That segues nicely onto the flexibility Codemasters have brought in for this year. Liberty Media and the FIA still have licensing issues surrounding driver transfers of a FIFA standard where any driver can race for any team. However, being characters of pure fiction Lukas and Devon aren’t locked to a specific team.
They’ll start in teams similar to your own in terms of performance, but beyond that they’re able to pursue contracts with any team on the grid, just as you can. In this way they represent a new challenge.
Your overall performance will earn you Respect, which will have an impact on the contracts you are offered by the F1 teams at the start of the following F1 season. It’s not just Respect though, Reputation will also influence your contract offers, and by picking a driver academy at the start of the game, you can choose which teams you want to earn bonus Reputation with over the course of the Feeder Series.
Think of it like real life. If a driver races for the Red Bull academy then they are more likely to get picked up by Toro Rosso. This metric of respect and reputation quantifies what the driver academy values most and ultimately which team desires you most.
2019 Spec Cars
And all of this takes place against the backdrop of the 2019 championship: all the drivers, all the cars, all the teams, all the tracks. New handling. New tyre classifications. New rules governing the point for the fastest lap. The best-looking graphics ever seen in an F1 game. And if you want to experience all of this without the dramatic elements, it’s possible to skip the Feeder Series entirely, jumping straight into F1 without the new characters and their associated gameplay systems.
It doesn’t have to be this way
For those of you more used to the simulation aspect and don’t want anything like the above. There will be an option to remove the fictional characters, the cut-scenes and the artificial drama so you can focus on the main aim. Becoming the F1 World Champion.
This is a welcome aspect as not everyone will be keen to experience the new journey, and for newer players it will be nice to just jump in a Ferrari and compete without the grinding battle to the front of the pack.
The full F2 roster from 2019, including new drivers such as Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Tatiana Calderón, will be added to the game as a free update post-launch – this won’t only add the drivers, but also the teams and the cars as well. This isn’t this only update they will be adding though, as Codemasters also plan on bringing F2 content into multiplayer post-launch too.
F1 2019’s career mode is a revolution for the franchise, and if it can deliver the level of detail and impact it promises then it could set the standard for motorsport games, and even sports games, going forward. Codemasters have been brave this year, and it should be to the benefit of us all.
What do you think of the new career mode? Will you try F2 or jump straight to F1? Let us know in the comments below!
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