The flamboyant and always enthusiastic, founder and CEO of Slightly Mad Studios, Ian Bell is no stranger on various social media channels. From time to time, Ian Bell rejoices or annoys the public with his views and statements that sometimes can be looked at as being slightly controversial.
Nevertheless, regardless of the fact that many either love or hate this British sim racing celebrity, it is safe to say that Ian has come along way since the early days of racing games. Slightly Mad Studios is still one of the UK’s most pioneering developers with a nice track record of game developments such as GTR, GTR 2, GT Legends, Need for Speed: SHIFT, Test Drive, and the more current Project CARS franchise. With Project CARS 1, the studio successfully introduced the game crowdfunding system and was one of the first to implement all the popular community requested features such as Dynamic tracks, Dynamic weather, Day to Night transitions, Proper VR support, and more. Sadly enough, part of the sim racing community got rather toxic towards these releases, with no real valid reason as far as I am concerned.
About a year ago, Codemasters officially acquired Slightly Mad Studios, where Ian Bell now takes on the role of Executive Director on the board of Codemasters, while still staying active at Slightly Mad Studios as CEO.
In August 2020, SMS released the Project CARS 3 title for the PC (via Steam), Playstation 4, and Xbox One. Pcars 3 was officially announced as the spiritual successor to Need for Speed: SHIFT witch is a semi-arcade racer. However, once more, a part of the community went deaf and dumb concerning this statement and did immediately pull the sword on the new racing game, complaining that it was not a full-blown simulator. But hey… 2020 has been a year of fun, joy, and happiness, so why not get upset about important stuff such as our personal views and preferences.
So whats next?
Ian Bell would not be Ian Bell without Tweeting a few teasers that bring some life to the circus. In some recent Tweets which have now been deleted, Ian teased the development of Project CARS 4. Even more so, he hinted at a new or updated Madness 2.0 game engine that would raise the bar once more and would include interesting features such as Live Track 4, ray-tracing capabilities, impressive physics, and more.
In Ian’s own words, for Project CARS 4, Slightly Mad Studios will be dialing realism up to 11, delivering the best racing simulation to date. The Tweets explain that development is currently in a test phase, and that it might take a few years, before we see the results.
Fingers crossed. I can already feel the community negativity brewing, but let that not spoil the fun. In all honesty, it would not be the first time that SMS surprises us all, with something formerly deemed impossible. They are not afraid to do things differently and then stand by it. That can only be a good thing for those who are open-minded enough to give motivation and perseverance a chance.
Who knows… Maybe the recent Electronic Arts Codemasters takeover does have an effect on the near future of the Pcars franchise. Where there is money and opportunity there is EA… , And there is definitely money and opportunity in eSports… So who knows.