Important details about Le Mans Ultimate‘s gameplay mechanics and user experience have been announced. It sounds as if there will be a ranked online multiplayer mode, historic vehicles and mid-session saves, for example.
Here are what we think are the most pertinent features discussed so far from what is a deluge of new information:
The UI looks slick, includes detailed pitstop information
Le Mans Ultimate is being created by Studio 397, the same team behind the now decade-old rFactor 2 simulation, so some of the concerns heading into the new game were levied at its potential user interface.
Despite several updates in recent years, rFactor 2’s menu system is often befuddling, but on the surface, the new title has a UI designed from the ground up with a leaner, stripped-back, look.
In the image that covers pitstop information (above), there are several detailed numbers but it all seems easy to read. For example, how long the next pitstop will be, in total, but then also a breakdown of why this is the case. Fuel, tyres, repairs and a driver swap all add to the stationary time.
The same screen also shows how many of your tyre stock is new, how long is left in the race and the current standings. Further tabs at the top of the screen indicate that granular timing and set-up data are available should you require it, but this main screen provides most of what you need seemingly at a glance.
“Our new UI caters for the sim racing audience but will also aim to support new users who may not have sim racing experience,” highlights Head of Studio 397, Dom Duhan.
“We aim to have presets for newcomers to get their heads around car set-up and refine it as they improve, while at the same time allowing those at the top end the chance to customise their own set-up.
Co-op provides one month for players to complete endurance races
As discussed during the game’s initial reveal in June, a cooperative game mode will allow you to enter events as a team with friends. In theory, you could pull into the pits upon completion of your stint, save the game and then wait for your team-mate to finish their stint, but this doesn’t even have to be on the same day.
“Our new co-op mode allows players to add friends to their virtual team and race for the win by combining stints together in a fun and engaging way, all over a month-long period,” explains Duhan.
Based on the following shot of a menu, you can enter multiple events simultaneously and switch between them while you await your squad members. There’s also a clear graphic that displays your progress through each event.
The number of drivers per car is yet to be confirmed, but the screenshot indicates three, matching the real-world 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
RaceControl is a ranked online mode
Again, touched upon during the 24 Hours of Le Mans reveal earlier this year, a further snippet about Le Mans Ultimate’s online multiplayer has been released.
Dubbed RaceControl, the system will track your results and offer a ranking system. These will presumably determine which races or splits you can enter, with a roster of daily races (think Gran Turismo 7) and special events (think iRacing) as part of the mix. Those who like to create their own events should be in luck too.
“Not only that, our plan with RaceControl is to allow users to easily host their own servers,” says Duhan.
No career mode, but mid-race saves and AI driver swaps
Based on this information dump, it’s apparent that a single-player ‘career’ is off the table for the time being. But there will be what’s termed as a ‘championship’ mode for the GTE and Hypercar categories. LMP2 is notable by its absence in this mode, although that car class is set to be included in the title in some form.
Here, it appears that you will be one driver among a team, with the AI controlling the stints for the other two drivers in your car. The AI sessions can be simulated, so you don’t have to wait in real-time to take control and the ability to save mid-race is in development.
“Not just that, performing in a championship can help your online career too,” explains Duhan in the blog post, although exactly how remains a mystery.
Historical cars confirmed
The development team claims ‘exclusive’ access to the contemporary cars of the World Endurance Championship, which will include models such hypercars the Le Mans-winning Ferrari 499P and Peugeot 9X8.
There is, however, a hint at the potential inclusion of historical vehicles too.
“We have worked with heritage partners to recreate the physics on some other incredible cars from yesteryear – keep an eye out for that,” teases Duhan.
Track roster, physics, visuals
Le Mans Ultimate is based upon the same technical foundation as the existing rFactor 2, which means dynamic time of day and weather, including track evolution that rubbers up over time. Its tyre model is often lauded for its fidelity, too. Both are present, with promises of further upgrades alongside enhanced visuals.
All tracks from the 2023 WEC season will be included, carrying across updated models from those already in rFactor 2, such as Bahrain, with the latest version of Spa-Francorchamps plus new laser scans of the Algarve International Circuit and Fuji Speedway.
Le Mans Ultimate is currently slated for a PC release in December 2023. Outside of a public hands-on test at the 24 Hours of Le Mans event earlier this year, no gameplay has been shown to date.
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Source: Le Mans Ultimate