7 July 2001
As you may or may not know, Infogrames (French publisher), have bought the troubled Hasbro-Interactive, owners of Microprose, and ultimately the producers of the grand-prix-series.
So, what does this mean for the future of the grand-prix-series?
Well, firstly, Geoff Crammond owns all the base code for Grand Prix 3, with Microprose/Infogrames developing the sound, 3D, and textures. So, I can safely say that Infogrames cannot "stop" the development of the series. Geoff is free to do what he wants with the code, and does not need the authorization of Infogrames to do anything that he doesn't want to.
However, I, and others believe that during the development of Grand Prix 3, Hasbro-Interactive influenced the development of the game in ways that forced Geoff to conform to their expectations. Instead of producing a full-on simulation, Geoff was pressured into making Grand Prix 3 more like a "game". The reason I say this is because Grand Prix 2 was such a step forward for its time, but Grand Prix 3 was evolutionary, not revolutionary as we had expected. In fact, Grand Prix 3 was little more than Grand Prix 2 with 3D-hardware-accelerated graphics. And considering Geoff didn't make the 3D engine, it makes you wonder what he was doing with his time.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting down Geoff or the game, but for 4 years work and to come up with that, it seems a little strange.
To me, it seems that Geoff has developed a lot more, but Hasbro-Interactive ordered him to keep the features out of the final product. I don't understand why, but that seems to be the case. Perhaps Hasbro-Interactive wanted Geoff to gradually include the extra features in many games as time went on, to increase profitability for the company.
Take for example F12000. The team who developed F12000 had never done an F1 game before, but in about 1 year, they developed something that had a lot of merits. And 6 months later, they re-released the game with a lot of improvements in the guise of F1 Championship Season 2000.
Think what you want to think, but that is my personal opinion on what has happened.
Will this happen at Infogrames I hear you ask?
No. In my opinion Infogrames mean business. They want to publish the most authentic F1 simulation of all time. By the way that they announce a 2000 add-on pack weeks before F1 Racing Championship is released, something that will likely challenge GP3's crown, and that they state "these new titles, due out in the spring, promise to deliver the level of depth in the technical specifications that Formula One fans demand." Proves to me that they are bullish and want the Grand-Prix-Series to exceed expectations of consumers.
I'm sure they've read forums on the fan-sites, seen people's reaction to the game, and now they want to please the fans.
So, we can all live in hope that Infogrames let Geoff Crammond of his leash and impress us with something outstanding...