Assetto Corsa Competizione, Kunos Simulazioni's follow-up to its sublime driving simulator, has been dated for its Early Access release, with the Blancpain-licensed racer coming on September 12th.
It will, however, be a very limited offering at first, with just the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit available at first, with updates then coming on a monthly basis through to at least February. The multiplayer will be policed by a Rating System that builds upon that which players of iRacing and Gran Turismo Sport will be familiar with.
The announcement came at the weekend's Spa 24 Hours - the centrepiece in the Blancpain GT series' calendar which was won by Walkenhorst's BMW M6 - an event that Assetto Corsa Competizione will look to simulate with its day/night transitions and full weather system. The full and final game is due in Q1 next year.
In an instant, it became my most anticipated game of 2018. Kunos Simulazioni, developers of the brilliant Assetto Corsa, had bagged the rights to the Blancpain GT series - perhaps motorsport's healthiest championship, and certainly one that boasts the most diverse manufacturer participation with Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes, Bentley, Audi and McLaren all taking part. Not a bad list, really, and the racing's more than half decent too.
A new Assetto Corsa is hitting early access this summer - and it's set to be the official game of the Blancpain GT series.
Back when we started the Eurogamer Assetto Corsa Championship we were hoping for a final where everything was still on the line, and that's exactly what we've got. As we head to tonight's race at Adelaide all's set for a thrilling final chapter.
Tonight at 7.35pm UK time (20:35 CET), Eurogamer Italy's esports racing specatacular, the Eurogamer Assetto Corsa Championsip, stages a Portuguese Grand Prix at the Estoril race track. But first - highlights of the last round.
After Silverstone's race, we're now getting to the business end of Eurogamer's Assetto Corsa Championship. The British GP was full of surprises. David Greco has finally got to grips with the fearsome 98T, thanks to the switch to a manual gearbox, and now looks firmly in control. Elsewhere, it was a bad day at the office for Hany Alsabti, who after a mistake in the early stages of the race was forced into a comeback drive to fifth place.
We at Eurogamer Italy set up our first ever esports championship to be as difficult as possible, but also set out to find the best drivers we could to take it on. After a difficult start at Imola and Mexico City, the last race in Montreal confirmed our expectations: these drivers are of the highest level, and the skill of the best among them is starting to tame the powerful Lotus 98T. Three winners in three Grands Prix is a testament to the challenge that a full race on Assetto Corsa poses to the drivers' attitudes. This time, it was David Greco of Thrustmaster White that took the lead and the win for the official team of the peripheral manufacturer. Behind him, a solid race from Hany Alsabti, Tuomas Thatela, Kevin Siggy, Jack Keithley, Jackub Charkot and Amos Laurito put on a great show that our friends at SimracingZone.net captured in the Virtual Studio below, with not one but two Sparco Shows and the customary Nvidia Moment.
After a fascinating but flawed start to the championship at Imola, the second round of the Eurogamer Assetto Corsa Championship at Mexico produced some great action on track. Tuomas Thatela of Supernova Racing Team took the win from Hany Alsabti with a last lap drama almost changing the look of the final podium. Jackub Charkot ended up taking the final step for the Ragnar Feeder Simulator team.
Last week's opening race of the Eurogamer Assetto Corsa Championship at Imola was pretty entertaining, despite two botched starts due to big pileups. The ensuing race was a cool display of skill from many drivers, in particular Hany Alsabti for his dominant win for the Thrustmaster Black team. Very solid, also, were Jackub Charkot of the Polish Ragnar Feeder Simulator team, who placed second, and Kamil Franzack's third place in the only Thrustmaster White car, subbing for the absent David Greco. (The Italian driver will be back at the wheel tonight.)
Eurogamer's Assetto Corsa championship kicks off tonight, and here's how you can keep up with it thanks to our Virtual Studio. Created in partnership with SimracingZone.net, the Virtual Studio will highlight the best moments of every race, showcasing all the great moves, crashes and overtakes.
Here's a first for us at Eurogamer: our own sports championship! Over the coming weeks and months we'll be hosting a series of livestreamed races on the fantastic racing sim Assetto Corsa, featuring some of the top sim-driving talent from across Europe.
Kunos Simulazioni is facing a bit of a conundrum.
Having first launched on PC in 2014, Assetto Corsa made its mark with a push for accurate car physics - a key selling point that sadly wrestles with the more CPU-restricted designs of PS4 and Xbox One. The logic here is clear: the more cars simulated on a circuit during a race, the bigger the hit to frame-rates on console. Your mileage may vary as a result of how you set your vehicle count, but it's disappointing to see the game veer so far away from its target 60fps - coupled with aggressive tearing - when set to anything between 10 and 16 cars.
We've been here before with the likes of Project Cars, of course. There we had another ambitious PS4 and Xbox One racing sim that struck 60fps quite happily with eight cars and less, but cranking that to 16 and above caused it sub-50fps levels of performance. In Assetto Corsa's case however, the consequences for pushing the car count up are actually more restrictive. Even with just 10 cars on the road we're faced with performance at the lower end of 45-60fps. Taken to its maximum 16 cars, this number drops to the 35-50fps region on both consoles. One difference between Assetto Corsa and Project Cars (and indeed the F1 titles, which also possess similar performance issues) is that both PS4 and Xbox One operate at 1080p resolution, though the Sony console's anti-aliasing solution is more effective on smoothing off the jagged edges.
This is also coupled with full-screen tearing. In some respects this is a benefit to the game's playability; on the one hand, yes, it sticks out like a sore thumb when turning a corner - lateral motion plus sharp contrasting edges tends to exacerbate the visibility of the tear-lines. But on the other, this artefact means each frame is output as closely to its 16.7ms render time as possible. Whether the frame is complete or not, it gives the player as much visual feedback as possible within each second of gameplay - a crucial component of any racing sim.
The proof of any racing game is in its time trial mode. Just you, your vehicle and the track in communion; nothing to dilute or interfere with the faceted challenge of shaving seconds off your time through skill, ingenuity and courage; and nowhere for the game itself to hide. It has to be fun and interesting to drive for its own sake, or it's sunk.
Developer: Kunos Simulazioni
Assetto Corsa is getting the coveted Porsche licence, with cars from the Stuttgart marque coming to both the PC and console versions of Kunos' driving simulator this autumn via DLC.
Assetto Corsa has had its console release bumped back a couple of months, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Kunos' excellent PC driving sim now coming out on June 3rd in Europe with a North American release coming soon after on June 7th.
Assetto Corsa, Kunos Simulazioni's acclaimed driving simulator, will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this April, with both versions due to hit in Europe on April 22nd.
It's been just over a year since Assetto Corsa came out of Early Access on Steam, in which time the simulator has been recognised as one of the finest of its kind on the PC, and with a brace of DLC packs introducing classic tracks such as Brands Hatch and Spa Francorchamps. All the Dream Packs will be included as part of the base console launch on day one, and in the future updates will arrive in tandem with the PC version.
While code is yet to be finalised, at present Assetto Corsa is running at 1080p and 60fps on PlayStation 4, while the Xbox One version will be targeting 60fps and a resolution of 900p. Few compromises have been made for the new version, with the handling model intact and the only significant change being an all-new UI.
"We don't have a thousand cars, tracks or a career where you can collect cars." Marco Massarutto, co-founder of Assetto Corsa developer Kunos Simulazioni, knows he can't play the numbers game, especially now the lauded simulator is on the cusp of coming to a competitive console market. "[In Assetto Corsa] you don't collect cars. You drive cars."
Assetto Corsa, one of the PC's finest driving simulators, is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next year.
The console versions are coming through a partnership with 505 Games, though there are few details beyond the platform announcement and a loose 2016 release window.
What we do know, however, is that Assetto Corsa will make a welcome addition to console thanks to its impeccable handling model. Having launched in Early Access at the tail-end of 2013, the game saw its full PC release late last year, and was well-received. "When it comes to replicating the simple, intoxicating pleasure of driving, no game does it better right now," we said in our review earlier this year.
Would you whine about the lack of a cup holder in a LaFerrari? There's little point griping over the absence of certain luxuries in Ferrari's most recent, most excessive hypercar, and - if you're ever lucky enough to find yourself in one of those exotic cockpits - your only concerns should be the 900bhp that's under your right foot and the suite of wonderful tools constructed in Maranello to help you apply all of that power to the tarmac. Different cars have different purposes, and it's often more enlightening to assess how well they fulfil their own goals than to attempt a dry appraisal of the whole package.
Assetto Corsa has been built to celebrate the joy of cars, and the fantasy of tossing them about with abandon; it's about the heart-in-mouth moment when an RUF Yellowbird steps its tail-end ludicrously out of line before it's wrestled back from the precipice, or the feeling of getting a BMW E30 M3's chassis stretching like putty in your hands as you playfully ply it from one extreme of a track to another.
It's worth bearing that in mind when it comes to this PC racing sim, constructed some 240 miles south of Maranello at Italian outfit Kunos Simulazioni. As a game, it so often falls flat, offering a bloodless lattice of events and a career mode that goes from zero to nowhere across a life-sapping crawl of hours. Its dressings are functional, its presentation stern and with few frills. None of that really matters, though, when the driving is this good.
You can't usually tell much about a developer from where they set out their stall, though it's certainly tempting to try. Polyphony's old offices used to overlook Tokyo's Route 246, a stretch of public road the Sony-owned developer would go on to immortalise in its Gran Turismo games, while Turn 10 operates within the watchful gaze of Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington. The location of Assetto Corsa developer Kunos, though, feels like a much more pointed statement of intent: within earshot of the sinewy Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi some 20 miles south of Rome, it's a place that's drenched in an endearingly Italian brand of octane.
So it's hardly surprising when a lot of that bleeds into its work. Assetto Corsa's a very Latin breed of racing game, where flamboyance is met with a certain style - two traits that are in short supply when it comes to PC driving sims. It's not exactly hard to find a decent driving game on the PC right now, but the problem is they're all very serious. There's the slightly stuffy façade of iRacing, beyond which lies competitive racing above and beyond anything else in the genre. It takes dedication to extract that side of it, though, its MMO-like subscription met by an MMO-like demand for hours upon hours of rigid practice.
ISI's rFactor 2 is no more accessible, although its rewards come elsewhere: the developer's focus on making a professional grade simulator fit for purpose at factories and race teams across the globe leaves little room for players looking for simple weekend kicks, although it's a perfect foundation upon which the dedicated community has patchily crafted a broad church of motorsport disciplines.