It’s that time of the year again. A growing sense of inevitability that after just a few races, we already know who this season’s Formula 1 champion is…
Still, fret not, Fernando Alonso is potentially dating Taylor Swift, Ferrari has snagged a pole position and it’s time for the pre-release hype to build for this year’s official driving game – EA SPORTS F1 23.
Here’s everything you need to know, so far, ahead of this season’s launch.
EA SPORTS F1 23 is the official driving video game of the 2023 Formula 1 season, created for PC, PlayStation and Xbox devices. It’s published by Electronic Arts (EA) and developers by the United Kingdom-based Codemasters.
F1 23 will have the drivers, cars and liveries of the current season and mix them together with single-player Grand Prix races, Time Trial mode, the excellent My Team managerial career, ranked and unranked cross-platform online racing and even a Hollywood-esque dramatisation.
Development history and game engine
F1 23 will be the 15th official Formula 1 game developed by Codemasters’ Birmingham studio, now under the stewardship of Electronic Arts since 2021.
Starting with F1 2010, in, well, 2010, there’s been a yearly official F1 game from the UK studio each year since, spanning three console and hardware generations and about one billion first-corner online crashes at Monza.
The more astute of you would have realised that only makes 14 games, but don’t forget the kart-racing F1 Race Stars in 2012 which was also created by the same team.
Ever since the first game from 13 years ago, the company has used its proprietary Ego game engine technology, although along the way it’s received countless upgrades and revisions. F1 23 will once again be based on this platform.
Two new tracks
This season’s fresh tracks – the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and the Las Vegas Strip Street Circuit in the USA – will be in the game from launch.
- Losail International Circuit (Qatar)
- Las Vegas Strip Street Circuit (USA)
Losail did debut on the Covid-19-affected 2021 season in November of that year. The race was won by Lewis Hamilton, and Alonso managed third for Alpine, but the F1 2021 game was never updated to include it. If you’ve ever played a MotoGP game, you’ll be familiar with the rather flat and generic layout, as it’s been a fixture in that championship since 2004 and 2008 at night.
Las Vegas, meanwhile, is all-new and will be the third 2023 season race held in the United States – joining Circuit of the Americas and last season’s new addition, Miami – which also made the launch of F1 22.
Three tracks from prior games return that aren’t on this season’s real-world calendar too, which helps with online racing variety: France’s Circuit Paul Ricard, China’s Shanghai International Circuit and Portugal’s Algarve International Circuit, aka Portimão.
New vehicle handling – the big one
Next up, what’s arguably the biggest ‘feature’ – improved vehicle handling.
Last year’s F1 22 game was the first to replicate the then-all-new real-world rules, and it’s safe to say things were slightly misjudged. Now we know that the ground-effect era delivers cars rooted to the ground, almost unshakeable in the mid-corner.
The problem was, the last game suffered from snap oversteer, even with a direct drive steering wheel, there was little or no prior warning the car was about to spin. With 100+ hours of gameplay, you could adapt – see the esports aliens – but for others, a lack of feedback or warning wasn’t enjoyable.
We’re yet to try F1 23, so our judgement is reserved for now, however, EA and Codemasters are at pains to explain how the “handling has been upgraded”, “allowing for more predictable behaviour” and “better traction.” We hope this is really the case and looking forward to testing it out.
This goes alongside revised torque delivery and what’s dubbed as ‘Precision Drive’ – read, proposed crisper handling when using a gamepad.
The return of red flags
A small, yet significant, change is the return of red flags. These have not been present in a Codemasters-developed title since F1 2014, where trigging a pile-up would result in a race stoppage, then a restart minus those who have lost wheels.
Last year, F1 Manager 2022 – created by Frontier Developments – implemented both an official licence of the series and red flags, proving the viability, and so, in F1 23, they return.
Now, more than ever this feature is pertinent. Like it or not, if Azerbaijan 2021 and Australia 2023 are anything to go by, F1 is intent on using them as a way of delivering last-minute grid-start showdowns.
Just to be clear at this point, unlike titles such as Ride 5, Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown and EA’s Need for Speed Unbound, F1 23 will also release on the elder PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles alongside PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
- PC (Steam, Epic and EA)
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X|S
Braking Point is back
Devon Butler returns with a vengeance!
Not keeping track? We must rewind four games to F1 2019, and a then-fresh addition. Before you got going with the main My Team managerial mode, there was a fictional story acted out, as you – a Formula 2 newbie – battled the arrogance of antagonist Butler both on and off the track.
The experience was fleeting, however. Once you’d completed a handful of races and cut scenes, it was back to a regular F1 gaming experience.
Two years later, however, and F1 2021 delivered Braking Point. A dedicated narrative-led story mode this time, it build upon the Butler character and placed you at the helm of rising star Aiden Jackson.
Alongside a set of additional characters, such as stalwart Casper Akkerman, you played through three-to-four hours of bickering, in-fights and emails. It was enjoyable, so now, two years later, the yarn continues.
This time, instead of Jackson driving for a real-world team, he looks set to be competing with a new, 11th team, the yellow and purple Konnersport Racing, and with Butler as a team-mate to boot. See, the rather odd, team launch, recently…
New tracks, more Braking Point, red flags and revised handling. On paper, it’s all welcome. So is the option of 35 per cent race distances – up until this point, 25 per cent and 50 per cent were, but nothing in-between – and a facelifted safety rating system.
Previously, you would rise up ranks when racing online, and in theory, you would be placed within lobbies with those of a similar rating. There was also a safety rating system too, based on your ability to avoid crashes.
Still, oftentimes, it was still a bun fight. Now, the safety rating will somehow also factor in your abilities when racing in single-player game modes too, which sounds analogous to the system within Assetto Corsa Competizione. Undoubtedly, this latest feature will be judged properly in the months after release.
Finally, we must mention F1 World, but only briefly. Again, we’re yet to go hands-on, but initially, it sounds like an expansion to the existing Podium Pass system present since 2020.
This is the completion of optional challenges, earning XP, levelling up and unlocking free cosmetic customisation items – or, spending real money on PitCoin virtual currency, to then buy said items. We are imagining that, but wrapped up in a clearer progression system and also featuring some form of car upgrade system.
Does F1 23 support VR?
Yes, on PC, F1 23 will support virtual reality, in the same way F1 22 did.
Does F1 23 support PSVR2?
No, sadly not, EA SPORTS F1 23 does not support PlayStation VR2 (PSVR2).
Does F1 23 support online co-op My Team?
Yes, EA SPORTS F1 23 will once again feature an online enabled, cross-platform, co-op My Team managerial mode.
Release date and editions
All that’s left for us to say now is that the F1 23 release date is 16th June 2023 for PC, PlayStation and Xbox both digitally and physically. Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris appear on the front cover.
For the super-Max fans, there’s a digital-only Champions Edition for an extra fee which includes three days of early access from the 13th June and bundles in some digital bonuses: 18,000 PitCoin, an XP Boost, Verstappen race wear for your character, two icons for Braking point and four icons for My team (these are older real-world F1 drivers which you can sign for your team).
Oh, and an F1 World ‘Bumper Pack’ and a ‘Vanity Item Pack’. Yay?
F1 23 Champions Edition contents
- Three-day Early Access
- Time-limited Las Vegas content (pre-order before 31st May 2023)
- Max Verstappen Race Wear Pack
- Braking Point 2 Icons and Vanity Item Pack
- Dual Entitlement
- Four new My Team Icons
- XP Boost
- F1 World Bumper Pack
- 18,000 PitCoin
Are you looking forward to F1 23? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: EA / Motorsport Images
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