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A new release date has been set for Project CARS. The game is now due for launch on March 20th, 2015 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. No word yet on whether or not the Wii U version will have been affected by this decision, but in a way I think some gamers can take a sigh of relief knowing that they won't have to juggle so many games to buy this fall season.

Videogamer.com originally posted an article surrounding a forum conversation that took place on the members section of the WMD forums. It's a nuanced post that gets right to the point of explaining why they decided to move out of the fall season, stating...
"the new release date for the PC/PS4/XB1 versions of the game is now March next year. We wanted you guys to read it here first and to try and expand a little more on the reasoning."

"Primarily, this has come about because a couple of other big games have announced they are shipping around the same time as our planned first date," the post continues. "We know it might be a little hard to believe but this would have had a very significant impact on our initial sales (and the initial sales period is critical as that's when the majority occur). It became immediately clear therefore that we'd need to move away from this release window.

If it sounds like them backing out of a heavyweight title fight because they're a welterweight, well that's not all that far off.

The post goes on to further explain that it wasn't just about tangling with the big boys, it was also a matter of polish and prestige that comes with bug fixes and content quality. They didn't want to pull a Battlefield 4...
The other factor at play here which I'm sure most if not all of you are aware of is that the game is still lacking the fixes and polish it really deserves. We've been working extremely hard on tracking towards the original date, and could indeed have made it, but deep down we knew it wouldn't have resulted in the ultimate level of quality that we wanted. Project CARS isn't "just another game" for SMS, it's the start of our very own IP/brand which we believe can live and be successful for a long time. It's critical the first release is a solid one therefore to lay the foundations for those plans.”

I think this is an extremely relevant point here. I could easily see Project CARS becoming a new generation franchise that really pushes the competitive levels against Forza and Gran Turismo to new heights. The game is already gorgeous and the physics are already amazing; a sequel would just be twice as sexy.

Of course, there's no such thing as a sequel if the first game doesn't do so great. There's also the factor that this is a crowd-funded project and it really needs some good sales-legs to grow as a brand, especially on home consoles.

Following the forum post, Bandai Namco decided to goad Slightly Mad Studios to offer up a more PR-friendly, diplomatic response, hence Ian Bell, head of studio at Slightly Mad Studios, commented about the delay with a more corporate tone, stating...
“Our goal has always been to deliver a landmark title that encompasses the wishes and desires of racing fans from all around the world; something with features and content powered by the community that provide a truly unforgettable and pioneering experience" said Ian Bell, Head of Studio at Slightly Mad Studios.

"Whilst a tough decision to make, the change in release date allows the game the greatest chance of success and visibility, and the opportunity to polish the game even further to the high standards that both ourselves and our community demand and expect. We’re eager for you all to see what we’ve been working on in just a few months."

It's funny that it's the same thing as the forum post, just said with far less personality, less flair and less earnestness. I imagine it would be that way since the forum post was the dev talking directly to the audience and the PR response is just to look professional and make Bandai Namco not look bad.

Anyway, I'm not bothered by the delay to March. If the Wii U version was the only version delayed to 2015 it would have seemed pretty crappy, but in this case it at least feels a less like ableism from Bandai Namco. You can learn more about Project CARS by paying a visit to the official website.
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