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Playing Race Driver: GRID online with eleven of Codemasters' finest developers, QA testers and PR people, we find something unfamiliar running through our head. It's a Dodge Viper. This happens quite a lot, and this particular one has just knocked off our bumper, but more immediately worrying is that it's flipped our car onto its back and crippled the engine. Thanks for that.
Ever since early man discovered sticks and fire and the wheel and Nurburgring Nordschleife, we've been hitting pause and restarting the track to make up for some terrible error. Whether it's letting a wheel slip beyond the rumble strips into a sandpit of doom, or screwing up the apex on a crucial hairpin, we've all been there, and it's always annoying, and it's always on the final lap, and we always shout, and unfortunately we can't all run away into the hills and blame it on Dietrich. So thank goodness for Race Driver: GRID, which has something called Flashback that you can use to undo catastrophic errors. In the 80-percent-complete preview build we've been pootling around for the last few days, it's exactly the sort of lifesaver you'd expect.
On our visit to Codemasters' HQ to see the reboot of the track racing series formally known as TOCA, one other game keeps coming up in conversation. That game is Project Gotham Racing 4, and it's not just the journos bringing it up. Codies developers are generous enough to praise PGR4's beauty, its structure, its weather effects, its difficulty balancing. Watching an Aston DBR9 tear around sunlit Milan esplanades and neon-lit Shibuya alleyways - and, later, feeling a certain credible but forgiving slide in the handling, when we go hands-on - it seems that the influence of Bizarre's brilliant series runs deep and wide in GRID.
Codemasters showed key titles for the year ahead at its Code07 event in Bedfordshire earlier this week, airing nine titles and making announcements for Operation Flashpoint 2, Rise of the Argonauts and Race Driver One.