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Codemasters announces Grid: Autosport, five racing games rolled up into one

Read out full Grid Autosport review.

British developer Codemasters has been making racing games for over 25 years now, covering disciplines ranging from trick driving to street racing to F1. The developer has now confirmed its next foray into the world of racing with Grid: Autosport, a game that will dig deep into the team’s wealth of experience with play that isn’t constrained by a single style.

Due out for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on June 24, 2014, Grid: Autosport offers five distinct disciplines of racing: Endurance, Open-wheel, Street racing, Touring, and Tuner competitions. Each style can be played at any time, and the streamlined campaign will allow you to choose what types of races you want to compete in, and when.

You choose the style of racing you want – you can play them all, just one, or any combination in between – and then you join a team that provides you with goals and cars tailored to your interests. You sign with that team for one year, and during that time you are given a series of objectives. Once the year is up, you can re-sign or try a different team.

Joining a team also grants you an AI-controlled teammate that can accept simple commands. If you want them to be aggressive and clear you a path on the racetrack, they will, but it may cost them position and therefore cost your team points. Alternatively, you may want them to race defensively and secure a spot for themselves, adding points to your team total.

In addition to the choose-your-own-style campaign, there is a “Grid Legends” series that combines all five styles into one series. Before you can join this series though, you’ll need to prove you belong by taking on races in each, and then earning an invite. Each of the five disciplines features distinct controls and goals that require different approaches. Here’s how each one works:

  • Endurance: In real life, Endurance racing takes the shape of grueling, lengthy road battles that last 24 hours. The gaming equivalent isn’t quite so brutal, but each race will run long enough to make you consider the wear on your tires and strategize around that. If you start out driving at full blast, you better open up a big enough lead and hold on, because the eventual, inevitable pit stop will slow you down. Alternatively, you may want to save the tread and wait for your opponents to show wear before making your move.
  • Open-wheel: Open-wheel racing is synonymous with high-speed Formula 1 racing, and as such it requires tight lines and sharp turning. Rubbing – that is, physical contact with other racers – is highly discouraged, but drafting to pick up speed in a slipstream is vital.
  • Street Racing: Street Racing is more a matter of working through limitations than anything. Set in real cities, these races are all about obscured sight lines and sharp corners while driving well-known, modified cars.
  • Touring: Touring races offer a huge selection of familiar and modern – yet heavily modified – cars from around the world, racing on a variety of professional race tracks.
  • Tuner Competitions: Although you may find many of these cars in the Touring class, the difference here is that the challenges break down in to one of three styles: drifting, time attack, and traditional racing in tuned up cars.

Grid: Autosport also offers a healthy dose of online play, which ties into Codemasters’s browser-based community portal, RaceNet. The online service connects to your account regardless of platform and allows you to form clubs and track your performance. Once connected, your progression in Autosport is counted as part of your club’s overall experience, which in turn leads to rewards for all.

The online modes in the game itself offers play for up to 12 players in traditional races, party races with off-kilter objectives (to be detailed later), and custom races that may include player-created events featuring multiple races. There are also time trials for those that want to see how their abilities stack up against other players from around the world.

“It is about pure, unadulterated automotive racing,” Codemasters senior executive producer Clive Moody told Digital Trends at a recent preview event. “It’s back to our roots, it’s back to our heritage, stripping out anything which is completely unnecessary and getting people to the race.”