There was a fair amount to digest at EA Play on the 22nd July, but frankly we sort of got lost in a fog of tyre smoke at the reveal of GRID Legends to kick the show off (though closing out with the Dead Space remaster pulled us back into the moment, and we’ll be back later to talk about that one). Just as we’re basking in the glow of the excellent Braking Point mode in F1 2021, Codemasters put the senior game designer Becky Crossdale front and centre to tell us that GRID is coming back, and with a major focus on a story driven career. Not only that, but it’s fully acted by real people in mixed reality environments to capture the highs and lows of the racing campaign. It was a genuine surprise to hear it’s in development – we liked the reboot GRID from 2019, but did sort of miss the career based setup that inspired the earlier series – and we won’t have that long to wait as there’s a 2022 release pencilled in already.
Setting itself up as a fly-on-the-wall documentary, GRID Legends has series antagonists Ravenwest returning to (possibly) be the dominant team in motorsport, and sets players up with the challenge of bringing them down a peg or two. It promises to face you off against fierce personalities, politics off the track, drama on the asphalt, and includes actors such as Ncuti Gatwa (Sex Education/Horrible Histories) playing the parts of the main drivers. Where the recent F1 game played out a virtual rivalry, this looks like it’s going to try and make it as immersive as possible and have you believing in the story. I did get vibes of the old Wing Commander series with the extended reality sets, and bringing that kind of vision up to date could really be what sells the action.
With this being a Codemasters racing game with a long pedigree, expect a huge amount of cars and tracks to get acquainted with, as well as different event types too with drift runs, electric cars with boost gates and elimination challenges being promised. It’s not single discipline for the latter either with the trailer giving us glimpses of trucks going side-by-side with open wheelers… something that looks like a recipe for chaos, and we love it! There’s around 130 routes across real world and fictional locations including the likes of Brands Hatch, Indianapolis, London and Strada Alpina, with plenty more on the way. Bringing in some of the race customisation we saw in the recent DiRT 5 (which really does deserve a re-look if you’ve not been back since the latest content has dropped), there’ll be options to create your own events and mix up the time of day, weather and the event type. These custom events will be shareable online to test others skills, and you’ll be able to simply browse for a new event from whatever’s on there, making this a potentially limitless racer.
We’re bound to see and hear more about GRID Legends over the coming months, and we can’t wait to see more footage of it in action, as well as get a glimpse of what else it’s going to offer. It’ll be releasing sometime in 2022 and given the direction EA seems to be helping the development team move in, it’ll definitely be unique, and could be a very special racing game too.