Want to step back from driving into a more managerial virtual motorsport role? You’ll have a new option to try in 2022 as Frontier Developments secure an F1 Management game license.
The agreement between Frontier and Formula One Management gives the Cambridge, UK developer exclusive rights to develop and publish F1 management games worldwide for four seasons from 2022 until 2025.
The licence deal covers consoles and PC platforms, and also includes the rights for streaming services.
There’s obviously no more details on the game itself yet. But it’s likely to involve hiring drivings, developing cars, and trying to win the Driver and Constructor championships. Beyond that, who knows, but with race strategy playing such a big part of F1, it seems likely to be included.
Coming out in 2022 also means it’s definitely going to be a next gen title for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Frontier was founded in 1994 by the legendary co-author of Elite, David Braben. Since then, their games have included Elite Dangerous, Planet Zoo and Coaster, Jurassic World Evolution, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and more. So it’s fair to say that they have experience in management type games, even if motorsport isn’t a core part of their portfolio. And as a plus side for us, they’re based not far from the ORD head office, so that’s handy.
David Braben, Frontier’s Chief Executive, said:
“We are delighted to announce this multi-year licence deal with F1. F1 is one of the most popular global sporting franchises in the world, and we believe the combination of the F1 brand together with our extensive experience in management games will deliver fantastic game experiences to a wide and varied audience around the world.
We have achieved great success with our own IP and are proven development and publishing partners for the highest profile third party IP. Both original and licensed IP will continue to be important as we grow and nurture our portfolio.”
Frank Arthofer, Director of Digital and Licensing at Formula 1, said:
“Games are an important part of the F1 media ecosystem. This new manager franchise will allow fans to experience the challenging management aspects of the sport through immersive simulation games, and make that experience as accessible as possible for a broad audience. We have huge respect for Frontier and their achievements in the management simulation category, and are thrilled to be working with them for the 2022 season and beyond.”
The most recent attempt by a major developer in this area was Motorsport Manager, which was created by Playsport games for Sega. It’s still available on Steam, but the last updates and content came out towards the end of 2017. Instead the most recent release by Playsport is Motorsport Manager Online, which is out now for free on iOS and Android devices.
It’s always been strange that managerial games haven’t really taken off with motorsport as their subject. Especially considering the wide range of strategy and manager titles available these days. Examples have been around since the likes of Formula One, published for the Spectrum in 1985, and developed by G.B Munday and B.P Wheelhouse.
Since then we’ve have Grand Prix Manager from Microprose in 1995, with a sequel the following year. There was also EA Sports F1 Manager in 2000, the very Japanese stule Grand Prix Story from Kairosoft.
So seeing Frontier Developments secure an F1 management game license is certainly interesting, and we’re definitely curious about what approach they’ll take – and whether they have more commercial success than previous titles.