The release date for Le Mans Ultimate is closing in, so let’s look at what features may be in the game. Here are some top picks we would love to see.
Around a week and a half ago, Studio 397 put a temporary end to the sweep of bad news at Motorsport Games. The developer announced that the official FIA World Endurance Championship game, Le Mans Ultimate will release on 20 February.
With a date finally set and the game looking to be coming along strong, we thought it was time to start putting together a wish list of how we want this game to present. To truly succeed in our minds, Le Mans Ultimate must be full of all the right features. Previously announced elements of the game do manage excite sportscar fans. But here is our list of modes, features and functionalities we need to see in LMU.
Mechanical Failures in LMU
If you sat down to watch this year’s major sportscar races, you will have seen that reliability is a major part of endurance racing. Be it January’s Daytona 24, the Sebring 12 Hours in March, the Centenary Le Mans 24 or even Petit Le Mans last month, each event saw the new prototypes suffer reliability concerns.
If this game wants to capture the immersion of car preservation, it must feature mechanical failures and reliability. Random mechanical DNFs is something GTR2, the previous top sportscar and endurance racing game captured very well. One would often see cars lose braking performance, or begin to smoke. At the end of a longer race, the results page would show lines of issues for other cars.
With Le Mans Ultimate, this sense of random failure could be enhanced. In fact, the career mode could get an element of parts management throughout the year. Engines, brakes and gearboxes all require attention between events, so why not introduce that to the game. In fact, the cars clearly get gloriously dirty in LMU, so why not have them break down?
Furthermore, if Le Mans Ultimate can build in a wear simulation in which parts break more or less quickly depending on one’s driving, it would perfectly capture the essence of endurance racing. Lift and coast is not just about fuel saving. It also helps reduce strain on the drivetrain. Meanwhile, elongating braking distances will help preserve the brakes in longer races. Manage to simulate this and Le Mans Ultimate will be an infinitely re-playable title.
Race Weekend Formats
As the official FIA World Endurance Championship game, Le Mans Ultimate must feature every weekend format present in the series. This includes the three practice sessions of main WEC events and the different race lengths.
Featuring each weekend format also entails that the game must feature the three separate qualifying sessions for each class seen at all races bar Le Mans. Meanwhile, one will expect to see Le Mans’ unique single-hour and Hyperpole format as well.
In Assetto Corsa Competizione, the other officially licensed sportscar racing game, many weekend formats are missing. For instance, multiclass qualifying is very poorly simulated with a single session seeing all classes go up against one another.
Elsewhere, race weekends in LMU must not only be accurate, but also allow for flexibility. If a player wants to use the Hyperpole format at Portimao, the game should allow them to do so. But more importantly, one should be allowed to run different fields of cars. Fancy creating an LMP2 cup with just the Oreca 07? That should be possible in LMU. The same deal goes for a GT-only event.
Furthermore, the ability to run races to laps rather than simply time would also be an interesting addition. Dubbed the 1000 Miles of Sebring, the opening round of the season is traditionally a lap-count race. However, with Hypercar speeds as they currently are, the event always clocks out at the 10-hour mark. Being able to race a 50-lap Sprint at Spa for instance would a nice way to change the challenge from say a two-hour version.
One can also bring the same sentiment to the starting formation. In rFactor 2, the title upon Le Mans Ultimate is based, several starting procedures are available. The game offers standing and rolling starts, both with the possibility of completing the formation lap. Whilst standing starts never feature in the WEC, it would be a nice way of changing up the racing.
Dream Le Mans Ultimate AI
Speaking of rFactor 2, one feature of Le Mans Ultimate we are sure will live up to expectation is the AI. Over the past year or so, Studio 397 has put a lot of work into the rF2 AI system. The sandbox simulator’s computer rivals can now navigate traffic in a very impressive way and is beginning to master strategy decisions.
As LMU is allegedly as many would describe, an rF2 reskin, it is sure to feature just as impressive Artificial Intelligence tech. With multiclass racing at the core of the FIA WEC, AI that can navigate traffic is desperately important.
What we want to see improved upon from the rFactor 2 AI however is greater balancing, or rather unbalancing. A few months ago, we pointed out that the rF2 BTCC content is a perfect representation of what one can expect in LMU, and it is a great sign. The quality of cars, tracks and racing is superb. However, one part of the content that frustrates us and many others is the tightness of the field.
Whilst Nicholas Hamilton and Dexter Patterson are great drivers, seeing these typically midfield runners setting pole position times and winning races consistently takes away from the immersion. In fact, the F1 games do a great job of representing a true-to-life running order of the teams. This is something Le Mans Ultimate must get right.
The Vanwall Vandervell 680 is certainly a gorgeous creation and is sure to win many sound contests. However, when it comes to pace, it does well to stay ahead of the LMP2 class. Therefore, if Le Mans Ultimate ever places the green privateer alongside a Toyota or Porsche on the grid, the sense of immersion will no doubt perish.
Le Mans Ultimate Career Mode Ratings
Be it in the FIA WEC, ELMS, AsLMS or IMSA, driver ratings are a crucial part of sportscar racing. In fact, depending on one’s experience and age, a racer can be classed as either a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum driver. This affects what classes they can compete in and their level. Each race puts professional factory drivers – or Platinums – up against gentleman amateurs looking for a fun weekend activity – Bronzes.
With this in mind, a Le Mans Ultimate Career Mode focusing on the different levels of driver classification would make for a great experience. Start out your career as a paying Bronze, or young Silver. In the lack of feeder series content, the first season would see the driver in GTE Am. Help your team to the title in the category. Based on your results through the year, each season could see you reach the next level of classification.
After a while, with multiple seasons under your belt, a contract to join a manufacturer team could find itself your way. At this point, the chance to become a Platinum ranked driver opens up different avenues. Offers to race as the Pro in an LMP2 or GTE Am car may join the possibility to drive in Hypercar.
Assetto Corsa Competizione is one title that had the opportunity to implement this feature into its Career Mode. However, with a very bare bones storyline, the official SRO game missed out. Despite referencing the FIA driver rating system in the online portion of the game, it never delved into this in singleplayer. Hopefully, Le Mans Ultimate can incorporate this feature into its Career Mode, providing a variety of goals to the player.
Confirmed: Asynchronous Multiplayer Explained
One game mode already confirmed for Le Mans Ultimate is the Asynchronous Multiplayer. A somewhat revolutionary feature, this will allow players to get together with friends to complete longer endurance races against the AI. However, instead of completing the full run in a single go, the Asynchronous mode allows players to do stints individually.
Over the course of a week or so, the three players in the same car will take turns to jump in the car and run their respective stints. This was explained in depth by Dom Duhan, Head of Studio 397.
This new mode will reduce the time constraints typically experienced for those looking to complete endurance races, instead allowing them to do an hour’s driving a day. However, one still gets the experience of completing the race with friends.
If you do not have friends to race with, however, single player events will also be possible. If this asynchronous mode exists, one can only expect mid-race saving to also feature in Le Mans Ultimate.
What features would you love to see on Le Mans Ultimate? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!