Codemasters has unveiled the multiplayer side of Grid 2, the long-awaited follow-up to 2008's sterling racer - and it's confirmed that it will be sticking to its guns regarding the absent cockpit cam, an omission that's disappointed many fans.
Grid 2's multiplayer sits separately from a single player mode that leans heavily on a narrative exploring the world of motorsport. Progression starts from scratch in the multiplayer, and it seems there's been some inspiration taken from the world of competitive first person shooters.
There are playlists now, as well as loadouts for cars that help customise each ride. "It's not a perks system as such," explained senior game designer Ross Gowing. "Because of the work we've done with the handling, it's about how players want to balance that to their own needs. If they want more grip or more power so they can get their powerslides going even further it's up to them how they customise their car in that sense, really."
Matchmaking also seems smart, with dirty players who are a bit too insistent on trading paint being paired together, while those who like to stick to their line and drive with a little more nobility will be placed alongside like-minded drivers. And if you just want to play with friends, you'll be well-served - there's a rivals mode that's part of the RaceNet implementation, and there's also two-player splitscreen for local play.
Codemasters took the opportunity to show off the console version of the game - which you can see in our video preview, where gameplay capture comes direct from the Xbox 360 version - and it's looking handsome.
"Obviously the PC's got more power available to it than anywhere else, but we're making sure our console players aren't short-changed at all," said Gowing. "I'm playing the 360 game, and it's stunning. I don't think people will feel short-changed by playing the console version."
As to whether there's a version waiting in the wings for the PlayStation 4 and next Xbox, Codemasters is reluctant to give anything away. "This one's current-generation, and everything's focused on that," said Gowing.
"Once we've got a full understanding of the new platforms we'll have a think about what's best for Grid. Obviously conversations crop up about what we could do if we knew what was out there. We've got our tech guys investigating what to do - and people much higher than myself looking at what's the best strategy."
And Codemasters is insistent that it's made the right choice regarding the absent cockpit cam in the game, and it won't be bowing to pressure from a vocal set of fans.
"The internet's always a funny one," said Gowing. "There's always a small number of small voices who want things you don't have. We always take onboard what the fans are saying. We've got a whole community team who keep a close eye - and we know that we need to make the game that our fans want.
"But at the same time we're very sure in the decisions that we make ourselves. We're talking around cockpit cam here - but we're willing to stick by that decision, and we made it for the right reasons. It's something we're happy to stick by."
Grid 2's coming out on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on May 31 in the UK.