"This was the right time to take it to the next level" - F1 24's creative director shares some insight on their upcoming title (Exclusive)

Lee Mathers, senior creative director of F1 24, shares some insight on the upcoming title (Image via Codemasters || EA Sports)
Lee Mather, senior creative director of F1 24, shares some insight on the upcoming title (Image via Codemasters || EA Sports)

F1 24 is one of my most anticipated titles of 2024, partly due to how impressed I was with Codemasters' last F1 title. With the game's looming release date, we got a chance to have a chat with Lee Mather, senior creative director of the upcoming F1 24, and discuss the various improvements and additions the new game is coming packed with.

Additionally, we also got some insight on how Codemasters is planning to support F1 24 long-term, with the Podium Pass. According to Mather, the highlight of this year's F1 title is the significantly revamped and improved Career Mode, which deviates from the stored structure of the previous title (Breaking Point) in favor of a more grounded experience.

We got some information on the game's technical side of things, and how it compares to Codemaster's most recent title, EA Sports WRC. Lastly, Mather also explained how the new Dynamic Handling model aims to deliver an authentic, yet accessible experience to veterans and newcomers alike.

F1 24's senior creative director, Lee Mather shares some insight on the upcoming title, the new handling model, post-launch support, and more

Q. F1 23 is easily one of the best racing sims I played last year, and probably the best F1 games I’ve played coming from Codemasters. How is F1 24 going to improve on the things that fans already loved about the previous game?

Mather: This year we’ve entirely updated Career Mode which opens up new systems and ways for players to progress to the most authentic part of the game. We’ve carried out a significant overhaul of several key areas of the on-track experience with major physics updates. We have the new Challenge Career game mode where players all race a predetermined episodic version of Career where their performance is rated and ranked amongst their peers in one of four difficulty settings.

We have also reworked two of the most iconic and popular circuits in the game. Both Spa and Silverstone have been recreated to be even more realistic and visually impactful. Players will instantly see the significant visual uplift but will also feel the changes after just a few corners. Lusail and Jeddah have also been updated to reflect the real-world changes.

Plus, bringing fans closer to the sport they love, we have added real driver VOs and the new Fanzone feature to give players the opportunity to showcase their support for their favorite team and driver as part of the F1 World evolution.

Q. With the recent hands-off demo that I got to see of the game during the preview event, I saw the new game is getting a massive visual overhaul. Is F1 24 built on Codemasters’ proprietary Ego Engine, or like WRC, is it making the shift to Unreal Engine?

Mather: Yes, F1 24 is built upon our EGO engine which is bespoke to the F1 games. It’s what gives us our ability to move and change effectively, adding new physics and rendering tech allowing us to keep the engine up to date and delivering the latest tech. The requirements of F1 and WRC are very different with WRC moving to Unreal to open up the opportunity to deliver a specific feature, that being +30km long stages which isn’t a need for F1.

Q. I really liked the Breaking Point story mode in F1 21 and F1 23. How much different is the career mode of F1 24 going to be compared to the previous game? Also, is there something similar to Breaking Point in the new game?

The Career mode gets a massive overhaul in F1 24. (Image via Codemasters || EA Sports)
The Career mode gets a massive overhaul in F1 24. (Image via Codemasters || EA Sports)

Mather: Career has delivered a true authentic F1 experience since its inclusion in F1 2010 and its reimagining in F1 2016. With Career being the backbone of the game we felt that this was the right time to take it to the next level with a significant overhaul.

The first thing players will notice is that, for the first time in Driver Career, they will not only be able to race as themselves or to select from the current F1 or F2 grid or one of the Icon drivers. Each driver will have unique stats based on their Careers and they will be impacted by their performance. Each driver will also come with a set of accolades attached to them.

Accolades are key points in their careers that the player will be able to target. For Lewis, as an example, an accolade would be to win an 8th World Championship. For Nico Hulkenberg, it could take your first victory. Accolades give fun short and long-term goals.

Recognition in the paddock will be key to successfully progressing your career. Your level of recognition will impact your strength within the team, and this will be important to ensure you direct the development of the car, otherwise, your teammate will be driving the direction of the upgrades. You will also gain additional perks which will impact how effectively you progress your vehicle development.

Of course, recognition is also going to play a significant role when it comes to contract negotiations. F1 24 has an entirely new contract negotiation system where the player will enter secret meetings and risk their reputation with their current team. Players will also negotiate goals and targets throughout the season to establish the best team and contract options at the end of the year.

Career in F1 24 also has a new rivalry system where players can be part of regular, heated, or career-defining rivalries with other drivers. You can have up to three key rivals at any one time; these being your teammate, your nearest championship rival, and a driver who’s statistically similar to you.

Players will also set goals and targets which will be delivered to them by a team of specialists who are there to support the player with long-term season goals.

F1 24 also sees a new feature added to the on-track experience with engineer objectives. Engineer objectives will be short-term on-track goals which will be set live during the race. The objectives are designed to motivate the players and to help them achieve and perform more effectively.

Glad to hear you enjoyed Braking Point. It was never designed as a yearly feature due to the development times a story mode requires. I am not able to confirm anything formally at the moment.

Q. I won’t lie, the Dynamic Handling model sounds really cool. What changes have been made to the new handling model in F1 24?

The Dynamic Handling model aims to make the game more accessible to newcomers. (Image via Codemasters || EA Sports)
The Dynamic Handling model aims to make the game more accessible to newcomers. (Image via Codemasters || EA Sports)

Mather: This year we set ourselves the goal to push multiple areas of the handling and on-track model to not only add more depth and player agency to both the driving and the set-up of the car but to really push the authenticity of our aero, tire, and power unit modeling.

We started by making changes to the fundamental properties of the chassis and replicating realistic weight distribution and underbody aero properties. We then built an entirely new suspension kinematics system which would allow us to recreate the unique set-ups run by each of the teams.

We also revised our aerodynamics work using computational fluid dynamics and a virtual wind tunnel to learn more about the behavior of air over the body of the car and how it’s distributed across the chassis.

This also led to significant improvements in how aero is impacted by changes to the rake and ride height of the chassis as well as how impactful the Drag Reduction System (DRS) would be per team or track set-up.

Finally, we’ve redesigned a large portion of the Power Unit. Opening up more settings to the player in how effectively the engine can generate kinetic energy, whilst opening up all of the deployment modes to players across all sessions will lead to some incredibly tense and strategic racing.

Q. Lastly, how is Codemasters planning to support the game post-launch? Are there any plans to add new tracks, cars, or other surprises to the game in the months following its release?

Mather: We’ll be supporting F1 24 post-launch in several areas. The Podium Pass will continue to be supported with new content to be unlocked each season purely through playing the game. F1 World will also feature updated content with new seasons of gameplay. The Pro Challenges in F1 23 were popular with our players so you can expect to see a return of those in F1 24 along with some different game modes as part of F1 World.

Another area that will see continued post-launch updates is Challenge Career. As Challenge Career runs for a set period of time we’ll be creating new and exciting scenarios within the new asynchronous multiplayer Career experience.

We will also have a significant free update when we add the F2 2024 season cars into the game. This year the F2 cars have seen a substantial change in not only how they look but in how they perform and race. We’ll be bringing that to our players later in the year.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the things we have planned but does give you some insight into how we want to ensure everyone gets a great long-term experience from the F1 game.

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