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EA cancels Project CARS franchise – Slightly Mad Studios future uncertain

EA cancels Project CARS franchise – Slightly Mad Studios future uncertain
Project Cars 3 – the last of its line (pic: Bandai Namco)

The Project CARS series is dead, as EA announce it will ‘stop further development and investment’ and try to reassign its developers.

One of the primary arguments against the sudden spate of acquisitions and consolidations in the games industry, is that it leads to less choice and less independent studios – with inevitable job losses from the ones that get bought out. And that’s exactly what’s happened with Slightly Mad Studios and Project CARS.

The British studio responsible for the Project CARS series was bought by Codemasters in 2019 but then Codemasters were in turn bought by EA a year later. That’s a lot of racing game franchises and developers in one place and so, almost inevitability, EA has decided to give up on the Project CARS franchise.

‘Following an evaluation of the next Project CARS title and its longer-term growth potential, we have made the decision to stop further development and investment for the franchise,’ said the publisher in a statement.

Although the first two Project CARS games were very successful the third one , which was purposefully less realistic than before, was not. Neither was Fast & Furious Crossroads – which ended up being one of the worst games of 2020 – or the Project CARS mobile spin-off that launched last year.

It’s unclear what will happen to Slightly Mad Studios itself, but EA has promised to move staff to ‘suitable’ roles wherever possible – which may mean the studio, which employs around 150 staff, is being shut down or repurposed.

‘Decisions like these are very hard but allow us to prioritise our focus in areas where we believe we have the strongest opportunity to create experiences that fans will love,’ EA told .

‘We are focusing on our strengths in our racing portfolio, particularly licensed IP and open world experiences, and expanding our franchises to be more socially led with long-term live services that will engage global communities,’ adds the statement.

‘Games are at the heart of sports and racing entertainment, and with shifting fan expectations, we recognise the need to evolve our games beyond pure play, providing experiences for fans to also watch, create, and connect with their friends.’

To add the ignominy of the situation, Project CARS and Project CARS 2 were delisted earlier this year because the licences for their cars and tracks had expired. Which means that Project CARS 3 is the only entry still available.

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MORE : Project CARS 1 and 2 will be impossible to buy from October

MORE : Project CARS dev working on Fast & Furious game, calls EA ‘corporate monsters’

MORE : Why Project CARS is the best driving sim ever – Reader’s Feature

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