Anyone who follows Formula 1 will know that 2022 is a monumental year for the sport. Coming off the back of Abu Dhabi last year, tensions for the Championship are higher than ever. With an all new set of regulations to adhere to and a clamping down on rules, the F1 22 playing field is shaken up like never before. The question is, how does this all affect the video game companion for this year, F1 22?
After spending some time with a preview build of the game, there’s a lot that fans will find familiar here. F1 22 certainly shows progress, even if it’s in the iterative sense. Luckily, those iterations are fairly substantial with a host of new gameplay features that will resonate with fans, both hardcore and casual.
So, what’s new in F1 22?
F1 22 – New Era
Since players will be spending most of their time out on the track, let’s start there. The 2022 car regulations mean that these new cars are intended to go even fast and follow much more closely. This is to encourage more action-packed racing with more opportunities to overtake. That’s all been replicated in the driving model in F1 22, and you can really feel the difference.
Senior creative director Lee Mather explains how the team has worked to make the cars feel different to drive this year: “Some of the big changes are felt through the improvements to the tyre model in the relationship between the longitude and lateral grip changes. That gives more confidence, it gives a car that’s incredibly grippy, but not to the point where you’re doing insane lap times.
“There’s also the additional weight in the cars, you certainly notice that in the inertia when turning the car and also the braking. There’s the new 18” wheels – unsprung mass is always the enemy of vehicle dynamics, and these cars have larger and slightly heavier wheels.
“And then, of course, we’ve got the shift in the underbody aero now. There’s a lot more of the downforce generated under the body of the car. For players of the game, taking a bit of curb aggressively and damaging the floor is something you definitely want to avoid. In the past if you lost a bit of your wing, you’d be losing downforce – now it’s much more precious to protect the floor.”
F1 22 – Alongside and ahead
For the most hardcore of F1 fans, there are more features than ever to help you feel like you’re actually taking part in a GP weekend. For one, the sprint qualifying format is now available to use in the game. While sprint qualifying only applied to a few tracks in the actual season, Codemasers has enabled this format on all tracks, should you prefer.
Taking that realism further, Codemasters is keen to keep players in control at more points of the race than ever. For example, it’s now possible to take part in the formation lap, and an AR grid slot lets you position your car either aggressively or defensively.
Something else that has been taken up a notch in terms of realism is the race engineer radio personality. Love him or hate him, Jeff has been given his P45. The new person on the end of your radio is Marc Priestly, an ex-race engineer for McLaren Mercedes back in the day. His lines have been recorded using an actual F1 engineer headset, and the difference in authenticity is immediately noticeable in-game.
F1 22 – Racing For Everyone
While F1 22 is looking more authentic than ever, don’t let that fool you into thinking that this is for hardcore fans only. With Netflix’s Drive to Survive further expanding the sport to a massive audience, Codemasters is keen to invite those players in while ensuring the veterans aren’t left behind.
That’s partly why everywhere you look in F1 22, the experience is tailored to mimic the live broadcast experience of F1 wherever possible. If enabled in the options, new ‘Broadcast Style’ segments can replace the more delicate operations of an F1 race. We’re talking pit lane entry, formation laps, and safety car deployment. If you’d rather sit and watch a scenario play out on screen rather than stress about playing an active role, those accessibility options are there for you.
Having played much of F1 22, it certainly seems like the most full fledged game in the series to date. Sure, there’s no single player campaign this year – a feature which I particularly enjoyed. Crossplay is also a feature that’s coming post-launch.
However, the work that’s gone into making this F1 game the most authentic yet is clear to see. For those weekends where there’s no F1 to keep you company, F1 22 is shaping up to be the perfect solution.
You can watch our full interview with Senior Creative Director Lee Mather over on the GameByte YouTube channel. Are you looking forward to F1 22? Let us know across our social channels.
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Featured Image Credit: EA/Codemasters