Codemasters already working on F1 2011

Off-track side will be focus of improvements.

Codemasters' F1 2010 will release this Friday - but its senior producer Paul Jeal and lead designer Stephen Hood have revealed that they've already started work on the next instalment.

"Paul and I have already started on '11 now," Hood told Eurogamer in an interview published today.

He explained that while most of the development staff were taking a break after finishing F1 2010, the pair were working on the feature list for the sequel. "There are some exciting things that we want to play around with," Hood said.

Although Hood hopes to be able to do a free title update for the game ("I'd love to be able to do that"), the yearly cycle leaves Codemasters' Birmingham studio no time to produce any additional downloadable content for F1 2010, Jeal said.

"Yeah, it just would have taken too much development time... the dev cycle for a yearly iteration is so short when you factor in the sign-offs and all that stuff, anyway, that we just want to get our teeth stuck into it," he said.

Jeal couldn't confirm that Codemasters would continue to produce Formula One games after 2011, but he was hopeful. "Certainly for 2011, that deal's done and dusted," he said. "I think the 2012 deal isn't a million miles away, it's not signed yet, but I guess it depends on the sales, review scores, that type of thing."

Codemasters doesn't have much to worry about when it comes to review scores; the game currently enjoys a consistent 85 on Metacritic, taking into account our own glowing 8/10 review. "The best F1 season in years deserves the best F1 game in years thankfully, that's exactly what it's got," we wrote.

Our major criticism was that the game's ambition to let you "Live the Life" of a Formula One driver - taking part in media interviews and the politics of F1, jostling for supremacy with your team-mate off the track - seemed underdeveloped. Jeal and Hood agreed, saying they'd simply run out of time to fully realise this for F1 2010 and would be working hard on it for the sequel, along with the game's multiplayer options.

"[We have the most work to do on] Live the Life and multiplayer, just because we've had to invest that much time in the first one on the career, the meat and bones, the driving, the pit-stops, the weather," Jeal said. "We had some great ideas which have been fairly well stripped back in development for both Live the Life and multiplayer."

"Sometimes Paul and I can go into those interviews and it's hard for us, because we know how it's meant to be working," Hood said. "It's disappointing for us when we haven't quite reached that level."

Hood explained that the developers will take a more focused approach on the feature set for F1 2011 to ensure the game is more consistent.

"We're saying these are the core features, these are absolutely essential, the game will hang together if we have these things in. Everything else will be considered a bonus. That's what we haven't done in '10."

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