GRID Legends Preview
On November 30th, Codemasters hosted an online preview for their latest racer – GRID Legends. It’s been over two years since the last GRID game was released and this time the developer is bringing back the franchise with a bang.
A bang that includes things such as a wider variety of vehicles – including GTE, more racing modes including multi-class, and a new direction for the franchise – a Story Mode. Codemasters’s stated goal is to create the X-Games of Motorsports crossed with a Netflix – Drive to Survive experience.
Codemasters bills GRID Legends as Action Racing with a Motorsports theme and to carry it off rests upon three game design pillars:
- Create your own racing stories
- Variety and choice
- A social living world
With these pillars, the aim is to engage the player not just with winning races but also by being emotionally involved by going on a narrative journey. These two elements will work hand-in-hand not only to provide a season-long arc but create moments of drama in every race.
Racing With Drama
On the story side, you play the game as, the never seen by the player, Driver #22. You join team Seneca Motorsport as the rookie and race alongside the team’s number one driver – Yume Tanaka. You’ll do battle against rival teams like Ravenwest. The story mode is linear and will take about 8-10 hours to complete. The narrative is told in documentary-style and uses live footage, interviews, and on-track captures. Real-life actors play the parts such as Ncuti Gatwa, most recently seen in Netflix’s – Sex Education based on a script written by Brad Kane, who worked on Ghosts of Tsushima. The game uses virtual production sets, pioneered by The Mandalorian, to film the story.
There will be the familiar Career Mode with Rookie, Semi-Pro, and Pro categories for all vehicle classes with upgrade paths. To spice up the Career Mode, each race is made unique by adding random events. There will be persistent rivals – also true in online play, AI that makes errors, random mechanical failures, an expanded grid from 16 to 22 cars, and the iconic GRID Flashback option, which allows you to rewind and change your fate.
More Cars, More Tracks, Than Ever Before
Over 130 vehicles spread over forty-eight car classes and nine categories will bolster race Variety and Player Choice. Categories such as Touring, GT, Tuner, Track Day, Other, Open Wheel, Trucks, Electric, and Drift. There will be nine Game Modes versus the three that GRID 2019 offered. So you’ll be able to race on circuits, head-to-head, multi-class, electric racing, stadium trucks with ramps, time trial, drift, and elimination.
To further enhance the racing experience, GRID Legends boasts improved physics, new vehicles, and camera behaviors. There is also a Race Creator that lets players make and share their own race visions. On the PS5/Xbox Series X consoles, there will be 4K and 120FPS support – though it’s not confirmed if both will be possible at the same time. The game has wheel support and for the die-hards, there are several cockpit views.
GRID Legends strategy to keep players engaged by adding a social aspect. The goal to keep players engaged is to create a living racing environment. This is done by blurring the lines between online and offline play. Multiplayer is made accessible and also cross-platform. A Smart Menu gives the player new content, social activities, progression and friend prompts. Timed weekly and monthly events as well as a premium service content are also being offered. Before you get worried, the premium service content will not split the player base. Anyone can join an event even if you do not have content offered only in the premium service. Another positive is there are no microtransactions.
Codemasters has big plans for the game and we await with interest to see if they come to fruition. GRID Legends drops on Feb 25, 2022 on PC and PS4/5, and Xbox Series X/S.
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