Every Sunday, we bring you an article from our archive - and this week, to celebrate the original PlayStation's 20th birthday, we present the story of the studio behind one of the console's most iconic games.
There are always things you can rely on in life. Michael Schumacher on the winner's podium, and an annual Formula One game from Sony. But although interest in F1 videogames continues to tumble from their peak ten years ago (when, incredibly, Psygnosis' F1 game was the biggest all format seller in the UK in the entire year), the quality of these often overlooked games remains as high as ever.
Sony ticks all the right boxes as usual, with its long-term license deal ensuring that, once again, it's the only game where you can find all the current F1 drivers, teams and tracks featured - with only the very latest team changes not included. That means you can always justify your purchase with the excuse that it's the final time you'll get to be Michael Schumacher before he retires.
Following on from last year's solid debut PSP offering, both tracks and cars are well recreated on the small screen, with crisp details and fantastic replays, though Sony still hasn't quite managed to fine-tuned the visuals to the PS2 standard, with noticeable pop-up on some of the stands and scenery around the circuit. At times it still looks a bit rough around the edges in places, but due to the sheer speed, you won't particularly care. Even with 22 cars leaving the grid, the game motors along, and the only pause is in the moment just before you're about to plough into someone - perhaps an intentional break to give you time to swear loudly and brace for impact? This can happen a lot when you're braking hard to try and use all the downforce available in a modern F1 car, particularly against tougher opponents.
Sony's announced that its next Formula One game is due out in June WAIT COME BACK! There's something interesting about this one! Studio Liverpool's making the PS2 and PSP versions, and apparently you can compete cross-platform. In other words, if you've got a PS2 version you can play online against someone who has the PSP one. That wasn't to say that Formula One games are boring, by the way. Don't cry.