New footage from upcoming racing simulator Project CARS 2 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One has surfaced on YouTube. Slightly Mad Studios’ new game is expected to launch later this year with support for virtual reality like its predecessor, and hopes to address the criticisms of the 2015 original.

We’ve known about Project CARS 2 since its controversial early announcement in June 2015, just a few weeks after the launch of the first game, which arrived in a state of inconsistent quality. Visually stunning, with an interesting career mode and plenty of content, it hoped to bridge the gap between PC and console racing sims. It received mainly positive reviews, but drew criticism from enthusiasts due to its bugs and questionable physics.

Although Slightly Mad Studios improved the game over the following months with several major patches, it never really reached its full potential as a sim, but eventual support for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and OSVR headsets was very welcome, and well-implemented.

If you have suitably high-end hardware to match its demanding engine, it remains one of the most visually-impressive VR titles available.

Best Steering Wheel & Pedals for Newcomers to VR Sim Racing

Project CARS 2 is expected to enhance VR support on PC, but a potential PSVR mode for the PS4 version has not been confirmed at this stage. The original game was once due to support the headset, but the chances of it happening diminished over time.

Once again, Slightly Mad Studios had used their crowdfunding platform to assist the development of the sequel, meaning that leaks are inevitable, despite the more secretive development process this time around. A ‘trailer’ (above) recently surfaced on YouTube, which revealed a chunk of new, in-game footage. This turned out to be a placeholder intro for the game used for internal presentations, and does not represent the final quality of the game, according to the developers, evidenced by the variable framerate and placeholder use of music from Pirates of the Caribbean.

However, it does include some interesting looks at new cars, such as the Ferrari 288 GTO, Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo, Porsche 935/80, and Jaguar XJ220S (manufacturers that were absent from the first game), along with footage of new tracks like Long Beach, the rallycross track in Hell, Norway and a Canadian ice track. It also demonstrates some of the upgraded technology, with a significantly-improved dynamic time of day and weather system. With all of this footage coming from out-of-date builds, the final product should look even more spectacular.

Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell recently hinted at a September 2017 release date, and while it could slip like the first game, it sounds like they’re readying a marketing push very soon, with the real trailer due early this month. Bell has boldly stated that the title, which is still in development, has already ‘raised the bar for simulation’, with new rendering, physics, force feedback, drivetrain, differential and tyre modelling systems. Fingers crossed it can deliver, and continues with support for multiple VR headsets.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • George Vieira IV

    What draws people to this franchise over Forza? I picked up the original game for the VR aspect, but with the next Forza due out on PC, and hopefully with VR support, I’m not sure this title has anything to pull me in.

    • Its all the same Forza, Project Cars, Gran Turismo. The cars and tracks are all beautifully rendered its just down to where you want to put you time.

      • George Vieira IV

        Personally I’ve found the ability to modify cars in Forza, allowing them to compete in different classes, combined with the larger amount of everyday cars, letting me set up fair races of a Civic vs a Corvette really makes it stand out.

        Turismo is good, but no PC support.

        • J.C.

          Well, one rather important question to ask is “will the next Forza have VR support?”. Forza horizon 3 does not, but that’s just as well…the engine is designed to stream in world data, and struggles to do so at high speeds + high framerates. Also, the game is far more prone to car flipping, which is horribly nauseating.

          Hopefully pcars2 can actually run decently on a 1080. The base game can’t handle driving past grandstands, on the lowest settings, without horrid stutter. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s likely because the game wasn’t initially built with VR in mind.

    • Christopher Dorn

      The key difference between Pcars and Forza (and GT) is that Pcars is a full on simulator and concentrates mostly on Motorsport racing and not street cars. Pcars covers the career of a professional race driver. Where as Forza and GT is more of a celebration of car culture and a car collecting game. Both Forza and GT are not full on simulators. They are more “simlite” because they are not arcade but they are definitely not simulations. So where GT and Forza is just some cars doing a certain amount of laps around a track, Pcars is the full race weekend of practising, qualifying, race, pitstops, tyre management.

      Tyre management is barely touched upon in GT or Forza as there is just basic wear and heat on them. But in reality tyres are dnyamic and change every lap and you have to look after and maintain them. Which Pcars and other PC simulators take into account. Track surface temperatures, wind, atmosphere are just examples of things that real simulators take into account which forza and GT dont.

      So yes they are both racing games but completely different. Its like saying that call of duty is exactly the same as Arma as they are both military shooters

  • NooYawker

    Anyone who hasn’t tried a driving game yet can pick up a free Project Cars-Pagani Edition on steam. It’ll give you an idea of what to expect with VR driving.

  • mbze430

    It needs iRacing’s physics!!!!

  • Globespy

    Of course it will have VR support! Ian Bell may choose to be an ass about supporting the upcoming Microsoft/partner VR headsets given the poor treatment the first hand received from Microsoft who were actively sabotaging it’s success to focus more on their strong partnership with Turn10.
    The real big questions if they are supposedly “raising the bar on simulation” is that all tracks need to be fully laser scanned and they need to have taken the same kind of time that titles like iRacing have in accurately detailing each car’s individual handing and road physics characteristics. Sadly, I fear they are probably going mainstream like Forza. Sure they have a couple of laser scanned tracks but it’s hardly a simulation – Turn10 have admitted it’s not an actual SIM, and we will get a bunch more canned effects to please the controller players and occasional wheel racers.
    I hope I’m wrong and they deliver a fantastic detailed, realistic Simulation but given the original games lack luster feel where most cars felt the same – fake, numb and uninteresting – it’s a big ask for them to really step up here. Assetto Corsa is a move in the right direction, but even it still fails to deliver iRacing class physics realism despite a host of laser scanned tracks.
    Admittedly, I’m playing on a $2.5K+ OSW Simucube setup and high end rig, so I’m able to feel all the track and car fidelity that’s simply just not there in Pcars/AC. Most low end consumer wheels (including Fanatecs gorgeous, but overpriced system that’s essentially doing the same thing as the Thrustmaster TX) don’t have the ability to differentiate the finer details and their huge torque deficit from direct drive wheels is actually a benefit as the canned effects actually feel more realistic on brushless motor/rubber pulley systems.
    I still prefer playing AC and Pcars on my old TX wheel as the OSW just draws attention painfully to their lack of fidelity and realism. Canned effects rumble strips are overly exaggerated and canned road effects just don’t feel convincing on a DD wheel, I’d go so far as to say they are an unwelcome annoyance.
    I’m not bashing any particular hardware as I’ve owned and loved most of it and still use it.
    I’ve just seen what could be and it’s really hard to take any claims of Simulation realism seriously when compared to iRacing. I’m like many and resisted going to iRacing for years because of its higher costs. But they are the only true SIM racing title today that can be put under a microscope and still shine. Interestingly, my TX feels much more alive in iracing than Pcars/AC which proves that even consumer wheels can greatly benefit from quality data.
    So hopefully Ian Bell’s comments are more than the usual marketing hype we’ve come to expect from him. He knows the majority don’t use high end SIM racing rigs, so it’s fiscally more sensible to shoot for the low end consumer/casual racer setup where it feels like you are racing a Porsche or Lamborghini, but you have no reference point. I’ve driven a Huracan, MP4-12C and 458 Italia on a closed circuit track and owned several Porsche cars that are regularly tracked so I’m in a position to to know rather than speculate.
    Sorry if this has gone off topic. I just feel that it’s time for developers to go the extra mile and things like laser scanning tracks and taking the time to accurately model individual cars should be the norm, not the exception fit titles grossing tens of millions.
    Fingers crossed!

  • wheeler

    Let’s hope a 6700K with a 1080 can actually run the VR mode of the sequel smoothly…

    • James Friedman

      I haven’t tried the first one yet and I have those specs. That’s unfortunate and I doubt it require less resources. Will probably need to upgrade to a 1080Ti

    • Rayza

      Yeah it’s completely unplayable for me with a 980ti

    • NooYawker

      If it won’t run on that it shouldn’t be on the market. I have a non-k 6700 and an 1080, to expect anymore than this, they’re nuts.