Lee Mather, Creative Director for F1 2017 at Codemasters caught up with Game Hype’s John Betts at the trendy Loop bar in London earlier this week, and gave us plenty of juicy gossip for all you racing fanatics out there, in the build up to F1 2017’s release on August 25th
You can listen to the audio here but for those who prefer to read the transcript of the interview, check that out below. Enjoy!
John Betts: What main things did you feel the team needed working on since F1 2016?
Lee Mather: So we’re really proud of what we did with career, and we already got some ideas of how to make that bigger, so we knew that the elements we really wanted to focus on were the R&D system, giving the player more choice, direction, different things to consider between races. Tackling the engine and gearboxes on the car, its a big part of the sport and there’s been alot of talk about gearboxs and gearbox penaltys. But also the management of each of the engine components, so maybe you’ll go into a session and think well maybe this weekend i’ll take a poorer result to not waste components, and know that next weekend on a track i’m stronger at i’ll go full pelt. So it’s giving those players the extra choices, and consideration about what they’re doing not just on track, but also away from the track and how they carry that over, such as wearing components , making you adjust your racing style to compensate for that.
John Betts: So a huge strategy element to it now, it certainly makes you think about your strategy and setup before you on track.
Lee Mather: Very much so.
John Betts: How much input regarding Research & Development do teams and drivers have?
Lee Mather: So in terms of how we build those system’s, we deride that very much so from the world of Formula 1, we do our research, believe it or not, we have a few motorsport journalists who follow the sport that regularly contact us, who say thats a good idea, or that’s a component you might just need to reword. So we get alot of feedback from people within the industry. When it comes to the actual cars themselves and how they drive, we do get feedback from the drivers. You probably seen a video from earlier this year with Lando Norris driving the Mclaren’s, we got feedback from Lando. We’ve had Max Verstappen playing the game, he gave us feedback. So its really cool to get that, they get access to the game early, to help us with feedback during development.
John Betts: That’s cheating then, on the leaderboards they’ll all be so much better then the rest of us!
Lee Mather: Yes, we need to get them connected up to the internet, while they are playing, see what time they post….
John Betts: So what inspired the team to go with the make history slogan, and re-introduce the classic cars?
Lee Mather: Yeah so the thinking behind that was, we did classics before, and they were very well received, really good fun, adding such a different element to the season, but this year seemed like a really poignant point to do it. As the big talk before the season began was that 2017 cars would be the fastest F1 cars ever created, so we thought why not compare them to the cars that went before them. Some of the most iconic cars in formula 1 history, including the 2004 Ferrari which was the fastest F1 car upto this year. It gave us a great opportunity to not only showcase the changes in rules this year, with the heavier car, wider tyres, increase in aero, decreasing lap times. But also how the cars felt, 5,6,10 years ago and that gave us a great chance to run that comparison.
John Betts: Is there any prospect of a tie-in with Formula 3, during the early stages of career, where when you succeed you promote to Formula 1, during future releases?
Lee Mather: It’s certainly something we’d give consideration to in the future, it would be very cool to do something like that.
John Betts: Yea, it’d be pretty awesome that. What mode/aspect of the game is your favourite part?
Lee Mather: I think I sorta touched on it earlier on, I really do enjoy managing the engine and gearbox components, then obviously the little intimissions from the classic events when you get invited to do something different.So different styles of gameplay with the cars, not always just a straight race, the overtake challenge, the pursuits, they’re so much fun, then if you go and do championships, the different structure of race weekend derived from other forms of motorsport. I think there’s so many different ways to play the game outside of career. So yeah, I really am loving how to manage every element and stay on top of that, give it consideration.
John Betts: So do you play online yourself?
Lee Mather: So I haven’t played online as much recently, because I’m not as good as i used to be, getting older, my reflexes getting slower! Couple of weeks ago i spectated a bunch of guys racing on twitch, just chatting in the lobby and tweeted that i was watching, then a few people put the two together, and said hang on, why don’t you join us? So i got the wheel out and played some 2016 online with the guys. It was really good fun.
John Betts: You always get that one or two that try to ram you off the track!
Lee Mather: Yep, throwing it down the inside, and of course if you’re playing in a lobby with damage simulation turned on, that’s gonna cause havoc.
John Betts: That’s quite fun at the same time, as it gives you that unpredictability, you’ve always got one eye on whats happening behind you, checking the rear mirror. Thinking hmm, that guys driving rather suspiciously.
Lee Mather: Then you’re sort of cautious, and start braking too late, and you start overshooting the corners, and he goes up the inside!!
John Betts: Or in that case you think this guys not a legit player,and slam the brakes on!!! He goes into the back of you, I’ve done that a few times I must confess, I’m not proud of it.
Lee Mather: There’s been racing games I’ve played where you know,somebody will use you as the brake,but if you do that in Formula 1 with the damage turned up,then obviously the guy behind you will come out much worse, as he’ll come out of it with no front wing, so the penalty is more his then yours.
John Betts: Well many thanks for your time, appreciate the interview.
Lee Mather: Thank You.
F1 2017 releases August 25th on Xbox one, PlayStation 4 and lastly the PC. Be sure to check out Game Hype tomorrow once our official review goes live! We’d also love to hear your thoughts on the interview as a whole via the comment section below.