The Reason for Le Mans Ultimate’s Move to Early Access

Le Mans Ultimate arriving in early access is “a gentler step for us,” as per the CEO of Motorsport Games.

After months of anticipation, Le Mans Ultimate will enter Early Access tomorrow, deviating from the original intention. The creators of rFactor 2, Studio 397, initially planned to release Le Mans Ultimate in December 2023, but due to setbacks, the release was delayed until February 2024. Subsequently, the official WEC game unexpectedly transitioned from a full launch to Early Access just weeks before the release. When questioned about why Le Mans Ultimate entered Early Access, Motorsport Games CEO Stephen Hood shared, “We’d been discussing it for a while. Projects never go according to plan. I’ve never been part of a project that goes absolutely according to plan.”

Hood continued, “Instead of releasing it at full price, charging a premium, and asserting that everything was complete and satisfactory, we thought it was more equitable to classify it as early access because we have all these features in place but we’re omitting some things, like the cooperative mode because it requires more polishing.” He further mentioned, “Due to the removal of certain features, we were able to reduce the price, which I think is very favorable at £25. We thought providing all the cars and tracks would be a bargain for the end user and an easier transition for us. Despite appearances, I believe it was the right choice for the company and the product.”

Additionally, shifting to early access will aid Studio 397 in shaping Le Mans Ultimate based on community feedback.

Le Mans Ultimate being played on various systems and configurations will support Studio 397 in collecting essential feedback for resolving issues. Beyond that, the focus will be on enhancing the core game with new features. Hood envisions the initial phase as a “refinement process,” with “major ticket items” to follow “from summer onwards.”

Sadly, VR did not make the cut in the Early Access edition, despite rFactor 2 supporting virtual reality headsets. Hood verified that VR support for Le Mans Ultimate is “indeed being considered,” but “it needs to meet the Le Mans Ultimate standard.”

Coop multiplayer was also “not quite prepared” for the early access launch; however, Hood indicated potential updates in the future. He said, “I believe it will blur the line between playing online and offline in a controlled environment with one or two buddies against the AI. Maybe the community will want to race against other players.”

The 2024 WEC promises to be an electrifying season, with new manufacturers such as Lamborghini joining the prestigious Hypercar class grid and additional locations added to the calendar. For the Early Access launch, Le Mans Ultimate will encompass all cars and tracks from the 2023 WEC season.

Moving forward, Hood assured us that 2024 content is in the works to keep Le Mans Ultimate current. He affirmed, “Yes, certainly. Incorporating all the 2024 content has been a monumental effort on Studio 397’s part.”

Le Mans Ultimate will serve as an “evolving platform” rather than churning out annual releases with incremental updates. Hood remarked, “It’s not about a yearly version of the game. A year takes too long for major updates. We should be rolling them out sooner rather than later, so I view it as an evolving platform, even outside early access.”

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