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What has happened to this once great developer?


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I used to love CM, but since they were bought in 2008 they've lost all my affection, in fact I find them quite terrifying.

I half expected to see CM on display at Banksy's Dismaland theme park. They epitomise perfectly modern life. Plastic, shiny, money-grabbing, glitzy, celeb-obsessed, the zero-second-attention-span generation rip-off Britain!

I'm only 35, but I know I sound like an old man when I say, it didn't used to be like this! And CM didn't used to be like this! In the 90s they produced brilliant games, like Colin McRae rally and the ground breaking TOCA touring cars. CM Birmingham are a sad shadow of them. Those games were inspirational! 

CM Birmingham should have a team day out and play all these games. They should also try Crammond's Grand Prix 2, 3 and 4. They would see the difference to F12010-15 and feel the passion and detail those teams had. Grand Prix 2 still has fans playing and modding it over 15 years later, can you imagine saying that in 2030 about F12015? No chance. It and all of its bugs will be nothing more than a wikipedia entry and a handful of youtube videos laughing at the ridiculous pit exit gear change bug.

I am sorry to say it but CM have become the worst kind of games developer, a poor EA Games clone, arrogant, lazy, totally marketing and money led with very poor quality control and talent.

How and why does this happen? Shouldn't market forces dictate they fail?

As a developer myself, I have some sympathy with CM, it's now a cut-throat multi billion pound industry with shareholders, vast development, marketing and management costs (hey this is rip off Britain). That combined with 
F1's anti competition, multi-year franchise deal with CM means the smart business choice is always marketing before quality.

Fix bugs you created by not testing your code, or run a 30 second TV ad before Game of Thrones? No-brainer if you don't care about the product or your customers. Call me an old fashioned developer but I would be ashamed to be in anyway associated with this game.

CM are all pretty young (looking at their profiles), which makes them a cheaper, less experienced resource, probably mostly seeing CM as a career stepping stone to better games developers and better pay. These guys do not look at their games like smaller outfits, or their pioneering namesakes of the 90s, did. They don't love F12015. It is just a job. But I am sorry guys that does not excuse the shoddy quality of coding and testing, these are both management and talent failures.

But worse than that the comical bugs, is the core team at CM have lost sight of what makes a game great! They don't employ visionaries like Geoff Crammond, who cared about the game they were creating. It doesn't make economic sense to care too much about a game when it will be shortly gone like a fart in the breeze. CM are making smart business choices but creating an awful series of games


The only thing that matters to CM is

1. can we produce a glitzy (fake) TV add showing something graphically improved from previous iteration
2. can we create as much hype as possible
3. can we scrape a 6 or 7 in the main reviews

With 2015 they did this. I expect management are very happy and got their bonuses. This is what they are now, a cash making marketing firm with a few developers building what they tell them to and diverting resource away from testing towards promotion

Management So how many FANTEC wheel users are affected by this bug?
Junior developer A few 1000, maybe less?
Management Ok, forget it, start working on a 'Lewis Hamilton in sun glasses' cut scene for F12016, marketing are demanding more celebrities for next years ad campaign


According to my source, CM have now switched over 90% of resources from 2015 fixes to 2016. As I said it makes perfect business sense, the fringe negative publicity is deemed less important than a 2016 release date.

What really annoys me though is the one thing that could have stopped this trend was the reviewers, but somehow F12015 managed to get at worst 3/5 from most of them? Really? A totally unplayable game 6 or 7 out of 10? 

Until reviewers start being honest and give games like this 1 star there is no incentive to change their behaviour. I am not going to say these reviewers are bought off but draw your own conclusions.

Its a great shame, but this model is here to stay, multi-year sports franchise deals with year on year minor updates producing very very poor quality games but with maximised profits. EA pioneered this money making model and it is now being rolled out by all other sports game developers.

It's very sad for those of us that remember what games used to be. I think most of us would much rather wait 2 years for a quality game, tested and loved by the developers that build it, but I understand it is wishful thinking, the shareholders and money men could never allow that. Banksy is right, modern life and modern games are worse.

In short, even by CM's standards F12015 is a shameful debacle and a blot on their name which will take a long time for many of us to forget, if ever. They should provide the option of a free update to 2016 or or a full refund. I know this won't happen but it has to be said.
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that's little harsh, but i don't disagree with you. it's heartbreaking to see what CM is doing with the F1 license. but you can just not play or buy CM F1 games. you could play modded versions of  F1 in other games(such as AC, which is quite good). CM does have some other quite decent games. I don't think CM is a complete right-off. for example, dirt rally is quite good, even in early access. they seem to be asking and listening to players and are making adjustments accordingly.

F1 fans are a passionate group, maybe more so then any other racing series. and I see you're no different(which is great). it must be a daunting task to take on a F1 game project, and the scrutiny it brings, for any developer . that being said, I do think CM dropped the ball on this one.
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I agree . . .

The answer for the decline comes in one word . .Mumbai.

Many of us are tired . . tired of them turning victory into failure, like with the Grid series . . and now, with BigLee jumping ship, an unexpected gem called Dirt Rally looks as though it will get shafted like Grid 1 did . . . I mean, how can we trust anything any of them says . . . and I have to watch my remarks because I got slapped with the racism tag the last time I questioned the lack of principles associated with our neighbours from the sub-continent.
But, c'mon, Biglee walking . . that indeed sends out the message that we "watchers" [for years and years] haven't been so wrong with our scathing opinions.
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According to my source, CM have now switched over 90% of resources from 2015 fixes to 2016. As I said it makes perfect business sense, the fringe negative publicity is deemed less important than a 2016 release date.
 
  And does your source have info on how much of CM is to be moved overseas ???

The way CM have gone reminds me of the Carpetbaggers of old, the asset strippers . . . they will play the current card until we finally wake up and walk away for good.
BigLee got many of us to turn around with the surprise launch of Dirt Rally, so much so that many of us thought it was very much a project he was backing and steering . . . how wrong could we be as we feel shafted for the umpteenth time.

A few months ago I posted that it was time for CM to follow that old Jewish saying, "if 12 people tell you, you are sick, lie down", meaning it was time for CM to concede and accept their failure . . . enough sour water had flowed under the bridge and they needed to show a little dignity and throw in the towel.
Dirt Rally was the saviour in the final thrashing of a once highly respected company, until one too many staff members walked . . . 
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BigFattee said:
that's little harsh, but i don't disagree with you. it's heartbreaking to see what CM is doing with the F1 license. but you can just not play or buy CM F1 games. you could play modded versions of  F1 in other games(such as AC, which is quite good). CM does have some other quite decent games. I don't think CM is a complete right-off. for example, dirt rally is quite good, even in early access. they seem to be asking and listening to players and are making adjustments accordingly.

F1 fans are a passionate group, maybe more so then any other racing series. and I see you're no different(which is great). it must be a daunting task to take on a F1 game project, and the scrutiny it brings, for any developer . that being said, I do think CM dropped the ball on this one.
Maybe you are right, but I think a game like Dirt Rally maybe proves some of what I am saying. The franchise nature of F1 is a big part of why CM keep failing so epically with this series.

They are trying to hit unrealistic yearly release schedules AND implement a huge number of changes and features. Dirt Rally goes through a far more sensible release process not constrained by the championship season, coming out as a Steam Beta and then getting ported to consoles the following year.

Perhaps a big part of the blame goes on Bernie and F1 then!? 

Thing is though back when F12014 came out we were all prepared to give them a free pass on its issues because they were saying most of their development effort was going into the all new wonderful next gen F12015 release. So they were building it for nearly 2 years, and yet we have this mess of a game, online mode totally broken, no career mode, awful AI.. ok ok I won't start off.

CM guys if you are reading this, little pep talk here: go back to basic project management! Pay for better PMs, agree earlier on scope, estimate each feature with way more contingency, including testing effort and time to fix potential bugs, line up the required quality resources (not in India, trust me this never ends well) and add again more contingency! Spend some time creating an automated game test platform, it will save you a lot of testing time.

Only then will you release a functioning game, if that means ditching stuff that the marketing department (or project lead) dreamt up then so be it. That is your job to tell them it cannot be done. You aren't doing your job.

I really believe 1 more failure like this next year and it will all be over for CM F1. I can't say that anyone outside CM will be very sad either. 
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Now I have played F1 2016 its only fair I should balance last years rant with high praise this time around. 
F1 2016 is really a huge step in the right direction in so many ways and addresses all the things that were awful about 2015 and 14! 
The attention to detail, the feel and atmosphere is there and its clear the team there really get this weird sport we love. Congratulations to Codemasters a real return to form. 
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Now I have played F1 2016 its only fair I should balance last years rant with high praise this time around. 
F1 2016 is really a huge step in the right direction in so many ways and addresses all the things that were awful about 2015 and 14! 
The attention to detail, the feel and atmosphere is there and its clear the team there really get this weird sport we love. Congratulations to Codemasters a real return to form. 
I haven't bought the new F1 game but I love all the praise it's been getting. It being a success as well as DiRT Rally bodes well for the next touring car game, which is what I'm looking forward to the most.
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