With F1 Manager 23, the clue isn’t in the name as it has an identity crisis. Having played the game for a while, our writer Angus believes it is doing too much at once. Here’s how he would fix it.
F1 Manager 23 released on 25 July which means fans of the real world series have certainly had plenty of time to test it out for themselves. From re-enacting real world races to building an F1 team up to World Championship calibre, the title certainly offers a lot.
But what if this far reaching aspect of the game was the cause for its downfall? Last year’s title saw early excitement die off at an unimaginable pace from top-ranking Steam Chart figures to ridiculously low sale prices.
With this year’s title, Frontier Development made many changes and additions to help alleviate the issue. But I’d argue that nothing will change.
F1 Manager 23’s Identity Crisis
There is a simple reason for my belief that F1 Manager 23 will do no better than its predecessor; the franchise is inherently flawed. Tackling both on-track action and intricate managerial tasks, it is over-reaching. As a by-product, it does neither aspect of the title in sufficient detail.
The team management side of the game is clearly rushed. The many social media buzz words such as Budget Cap and ATR feature. But there are no true figures associated with them. These are never explained in good detail and, bar the odd graph tracking the monthly budget, one doesn’t know how their actions are impacting the rule set.
When it comes to track action, the player essentially takes the place of the Race Engineer for both drivers. It is clear that this element of the game features more depth and it shows that this is the true passion project of the dev team. But that being said, it still does come across as a simplified version of what it could be.
This is where the article title comes in. By spreading itself thinly across a multitude of game mechanics, F1 Manager 23 is attempting to do too much at once. Not knowing what it wants to be, the game has an identity crisis that must be dealt with in one of two ways.
Either work extra hard over the next twelve months to put out a truly detailed manager game. Or focus on a single aspect of the current title.
Manager Game Route
My least favourite option would be for the title to become an out-and-out managerial creation. Whilst many players enjoy trawling through the numbers of budget caps and comparing the advantages and drawbacks of personnel, I don’t have the patience for it. Clearly, I’m a victim of the Gen Z attention span.
However, it would surely make for a brilliant title for those interested in the upper echelons of F1 team management. Rather than adopting a ‘do everything’ mentality within the team, a true Team Principal is above all else, a people person. Their job is to hire the right people and keep them happy and motivated. Making sure they are doing the correct job, rather than doing their job for them.
This is the main thing that would have to change in F1 Manager 23 to be a successful title. The newly added Driver Confidence bar in race mode would make for a fantastic mechanic across the entire team. The aero department, pit crew, engineering team, strategists, drivers would all present confidence, motivation and happiness bars that evolve throughout the season.
These would effect each department’s turn out and alter the team’s success. This is one of many changes the F1 Manager series requires if it is to become a true manager title, simulating every aspect of the Team Principal’s job.
F1 Race Engineer 23
What I truly want the F1 Manager series to do however is to drop the managerial aspect altogether. I would like to see Frontier rebrand the games as F1 Engineer for future releases, building them up as titles focusing on the voices F1 fans hear on team radios.
By dropping the managerial aspect of the games, the dev team could surely spend more time working on the details of mid-race strategy. Whilst the current title certainly portrays the racing action in a fun way, there are several improvements one could make to the instructions system.
Currently, there are five choices when it comes to the driver’s speed in the corners and three for fuel and engine management. A smoother alternative may be a pair of sliders allowing for greater adjustability.
Elsewhere, the Race Engineer is, much like the team principal, a people person. Therefore, one should be able to provide pep talks to their drivers. Instead of waiting for your racer to set a fast sector time of make an overtake, give them words of encouragement to motivate them.
But do this too much and you may tire them out or make them overly confident. Small changes to the extent of calls would lead to greater depth, allowing Frontier to solely focus on this aspect.
Ultimately, this division of interests will never happen. The desire for a strategy game is just as great as that for a managerial F1 title. Financially, it makes sense to package both portions together. But perhaps, one should be able to choose which role they want to occupy in their career mode; Team Principal or Race Engineer.
Do you think F1 Manager 23 has an identity crisis? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!