Ian Bell, CEO of Slightly Mad Studios (SMS), has announced he is leaving the company. This comes just a day after SMS’s Project CARS GO – the free-to-play smartphone game – was cancelled.
In a tweet, the SMS head said: “SMS began as a mad dream by a bunch of ambitious racing fans in a bedsit back in the late-90s. With the studio’s future now assured, the time is right for me to step aside. It’s been a ride and a privilege to share our dreams with you. Thank you!”
He also changed his name to “Ian Bell Free Entity. Look out for TherapyGlobal”. Colour us intrigued.
Bell, the sometimes divisive figurehead of the Project CARS franchise, steered SMS through a buyout from British game developer and publisher Codemasters on February 18th this year, who were subsequently taken over by US-based giants Electronic Arts (EA) in a deal worth $1.2 billion.
Slightly Mad Studios began life in 2009 after acquiring the assets of Blimey! Games, with their first release being Need for Speed: Shift that year, followed by a sequel, Shift 2: Unleashed in 2011. They went on to release a host of racing games, including Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends, Red Bull Air Race: The Game, Fast & Furious Crossroads and three Project CARS games all the way up to Project CARS Go in 2021.
The mobile game was released to mixed reviews, with critics being impressed overall with its visuals, but less so with its content and simplistic controls. You can still play the game, but any online connectivity or in-game store functionality is deceased and the title is no longer available via digital stores.
We can only speculate as to its sudden cancellation after less than eight months, but it seems like this won’t be the last big announcement to come from the EA/Codemasters/SMS stable this year. Have you any thoughts on Ian Bell or the demise of Project CARS GO? If so, comment below, and keep it respectful, please!