F1 2020: Codemasters’ Lee Mather on how they developed a game during a pandemic
The game has had an incredible launch… despite recording podium animations in a back garden!
Creating a game is hard enough, let alone trying to put one out during the worst pandemic the world has ever seen.
But Codemasters did exactly that – putting out what many believe is the finest Formula 1 game of recent years.
But it was not without it’s challenges.
At the front
A lack of real-world races took away a vital resource from the development team – which had a knock-on effect to the development of the game.
“Setting up the vehicles and season performance proved challenging, having not had the opportunity to see any races take place before launch,” Lee Mather – F1 Franchise Game Director told RealSport.
“We took a look at the end of the 2019 season performance data, the pre-season test times and consulted the technical team at Formula 1.
“This enabled us to balance the team performance, but as is sometimes the case, you never know if a team has made major progress over the winter break.”
New circuits, but no Grand Pris
“With Hanoi being entirely new, and not existing when we started is a challenge we’ve faced on a number of tracks over the years, so that was something we were used to.
“Zandvoort had a different challenge, which was that we were able to create the circuit accurately, but had to wait for certain corners to be changed in real life before we could create them in-game.
“Finally we had the move to everyone working from home.
READ MORE: F1 2020 British Grand Prix track guide
“We did a lot of early preparation, but even then it happened a little quicker than expected.
“The team did an amazing job of finishing the game, and Codemasters IT department has made working from home, and the transition absolutely seamless.”
Having to migrate the entire team from an office to home working during development wasn’t ideal – but Codies had to get particularly creative when it came to Podium animations.
“F1 2020 has some very cool podium animations which the player can unlock via the Podium Pass or purchase in the store.
“I’m not going to name names here, but in order to help the animation team have an idea of what sorts of things we wanted, and to get people excited by the concept, one of the designers recorded a selection of them in his back garden.
“You can imagine the reaction from his neighbours. The videos had us all in stitches, and we still have them!”
Keeping it fresh… and an eye on the future
The good news for F1 fans is that Codies also confirmed a number of new updates arriving throughout the season.
“This year we’ll be updating the real driver AI performance statistics based on their real-life performances.
“We’ll also be continuing to add exciting new content to the Podium Pass and in-game shop, keeping the game fresh for players.”
READ MORE: Everything you need to know about F1 2020