In just a matter of weeks, both the first and second entries in Slightly Mad Studio’s Project CARS lineup will be delisted permanently. The official announcement comes from EA, Codemasters, and Slightly Mad, who posted the announcement on the official Project CARS Twitter.
The reason for the delisting is not out of the ordinary. It’s all due to expiring licenses, specifically licenses for vehicles and tracks. As a result, the original Project CARS will be removed from all storefronts on October 3. And before that, Project CARS 2 will be removed on September 21.
End of the line
We’ve seen this happen time and again with other titles and franchises where the digital edition of the games are removed after about three or so years. For instance, despite the fact that four Forza titles have fully released on PC , only two are currently available to purchase — Horizon 4 & 5, the former of which will likely be delisted in another year.
As it relates to the Project CARS franchise, only the third release will remain on storefronts for now. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the weakest of entries according to both critics and series fans alike.
— Project CARS (@projectcarsgame) August 22, 2022
With the original Project CARS, Slightly Mad Studios sought out to build a new sim racer that prided itself on visual fidelity and complex, realistic mechanics. It was originally a crowdfunded title, with the “CARS” in its name actually meaning: “Community-Assisted-Racing-Simulator.”
Project CARS 2 honed the strengths of the first entry and tightened up the handling, so to speak. This resulted in the studio getting closer to its original vision, and fans were pleased with the progress.
Unfortunately, the series started to lose its momentum with the latest entry, Project CARS 3, which was originally supposed to be a more arcade-focused spin-off with a clear title to demarcate it as such. At some point during development, the name was changed to pCARS 3 as a marketing tactic. This only damaged the game and the series’ reputation, as it veered so far off the path set by its two predecessors that most of the fanbase don’t feel like it should be a part of the same series.
Looking ahead, the announcement of the delisting, the Slightly Mad team states, “we remain focused on making the best sim racing titles… We look forward to sharing more on the next Slightly Mad project when the time is right.”
Switchbacks and slaloms
Much has changed at Slightly Mad since the release of the original Project CARS in 2015. Codemasters purchased the studio at the end of 2019, just months before Project CARS 3 released. Following this, Codemasters itself was acquired by Electronic Arts in 2021, bringing both it and Slightly Mad under EA’s massive umbrella.
Codemasters has been busy with the release of DiRT 5 at the end of 2021, GRID Legends that came out earlier this year and F1 22 which launched a few weeks ago.
It’s unclear if Slightly Mad has pitched in with any support for either of those titles, but it’s clear the studio is working on something behind the scenes. We’ll have to wait and see if the Project CARS franchise will drive again, or if a totally new model will come about.