How VR came to be in F1 22

Ross McGregor
VR has been one of the most requested features in the F1 franchise, and it will finally arrive for PC gamers in this year’s EA SPORTS F1 22.

One of the most requested features in the EA Sports’ and Codemasters’ F1 game franchise has been the implementation of Virtual Reality (VR). Finally, with this year’s EA SPORTS F1 22, the series will feature fully functional VR from day one on PC.

In our most recent episode of the Traxion.GG podcast, we spoke to Lee Mather, Senior Creative Director on EA SPORTS F1 22, about several F1 game-related topics, but in particular why VR has been implemented now.

“We know how loudly the fans have called for VR for a number of years. As you know about the scale of the game. But the opportunity came up in a similar vein to cross-play that we could partner with somebody externally,” explained Mather.

With DiRT Rally 2.0 (DR2), Codemasters outsourced the development of its VR mode to an external partner, and Mather explains F1 22‘s VR mode follows a similar path:

“That resource became available to us, they had time in their schedule to work with us. They’ve worked with us previously on other Codemasters games doing VR. So it was the perfect opportunity to finally push it into a Formula 1 game.”

Small Portsmouth-based developer Climax Studios handled DiRT Rally 2.0’s VR implementation first time round, so we can assume they have fulfilled the same role on F1 22. This bodes well, as DR2 is one of the Traxion.GG team’s favourite PC VR experiences.

Another relevant point Mather makes concerns the new ‘helmet camera’ that was recently introduced to F1 TV broadcasts. Adding VR to the gaming franchise now makes sense as fans can get a simulated driver’s eye view of the action, much like our very own John Munro experienced in his recent hands-on with the F1 22’s VR mode.

“Obviously, with the onset of the helmet cameras in the sport as well, you know, it really fits nicely with what people are seeing on TV, which is obviously something that we’re always very passionate about… mirroring what the sport’s doing.

“We’ve got the great audio already in-game [and] we can recreate that for the players [which] really puts them in the car… We want players to really experience what it’s like in a Formula 1 car.”

And from John’s brief time in VR with F1 22 overall impressions are very positive – even with his six-year-old HTC Vive headset. Graphical fidelity was relatively high even during a rain-soaked race against the AI at Silverstone, and the experience was smooth and bug-free.

Will F1 22 be PlayStation VR2 compatible?

F1 22 is set to be VR compatible for PC users only, so we enquired about the potential of future console VR updates – namely compatibility with PlayStation’s new VR2 headset. Mather was coy: “As I’ve said over the years, with VR, there’s nothing ever off the table. It’s always under discussion.”

That is not an unequivocal ‘no,’ but it is not a ‘yes’ either. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that DR2 VR arrived sometime after the game’s release, so the team has set a precedent in terms of adding VR features belatedly.

Are you looking forward to trying F1 22 in VR? Let us know in the comments below.

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