We discussed the racing sim Project CARS on the Podcast a few weeks ago, but there's fresh news on the title. Developer Slightly Mad Studios, which worked on the Need for Speed: Shift series, has revealed that it's raised $660,000 through the game's unique approach to crowd-sourcing. Over 40,000 people have contributed, and they're already getting something in return. Backers can play early builds of the game, participate in forum discussions on features, attend development meetings, and even have their faces put in the final product. There are difference access levels depending on how much you kick in, starting with a Junior level that costs about $13 and ending with a Senior Manager position that runs over $33,000. Contributed funds earn gamers a discount on the final product. Spring for Full Member status, which costs $60, and you'll end up getting the game for free.
If that's not enough to entice you, buying into Project CARS early can be seen as an investment. 70% of the game's profits will be redistributed to contributors (PDF). The more you pay for your membership, the more you'll get in return if the game is a big success.
So, what about the actual game? Here's the latest trailer, which was apparently rendered in DirectX 11 mode:
Not bad. Project CARS is supposed to offer simulation-grade physics, and the graphics appear to be coming along nicely. The screenshots on display in the latest community gallery look even better, giving me hope that this could turn into the PC equivalent of console favorites like Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo. Those games have always offered satisfying driving physics in addition to fantastic graphics, while PC-specific racing sims have traditionally been a little short on eye candy.
With next-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles not expected anytime soon, there's plenty of opportunity for Project CARS to set a high standard for driving sims. After logging countless laps in Forza, it may finally be time to get a decent wheel and pedal set for my PC. Thanks to Gamesindustry for the tip.