The F1 racing game franchise from EA is returning this summer with F1 2021, and this edition of the series looks to me the most innovative and exciting yet. Not only is the new F1 coming to next-gen consoles, which naturally means it will be the smoothest and best-looking in the franchise to-date, but this game will also be overhauling its story mode. In a time when most sports games are content with the status quo, F1 2021 is introducing a brand new story called Braking Point, which will be cinematic in nature and feature actual characters, rather than the classic career racing system.
During an early press preview event for F1 2021, ComicBook.com heard from franchise director Lee Mather, who pulled back the curtain on this year's massive new story mode.
"So the big headline feature for F1 2021 is the Braking Point story feature," Mather explained. "It's something that we've toyed with in the past, back in 2019, when we have the feeder series into Formula One, go through Formula Two and it's something that we wanted to continue to grow and do more with, especially with the popularity and the excitement that people have been having around the Netflix Drive to Survive series. We thought this was a great opportunity to really capitalize on that in the game."
The new Braking Point story is going to follow a character named Aiden Jackson, a driver that starts out in Formula Two and works their way up to F1. There will be an actual story accompanying your rise as Aiden, with narrative cut scenes and an actual plot throughout.
"It's a story experience where the player will play through a really beautifully written story, full of exciting characters and drama. And that's driven very much by the behind the scenes action that we've seen in the likes of Netflix, Drive to Survive," Mather continued.
"So you start in Formula Two, again, it's a journey story, starting out as Aiden Jackson, a young up-and-coming driver, completing his Formula Two career, moving into the world of Formula One in the 2020 season before finally moving into '21 and graduating as a fully fledged Formula One driver. It's not also just about Aiden, there's other characters in there. So we've also got a character called Casper Ackerman. Ackerman is a more mature driver. He'd come into the end of his career is fighting with the demons as to whether he should still be in the sport. And of course, there's also the team bosses around as well. You've got to have a team boss they're important for the running of the team, the management of the drivers."
One of the side characters that will play a part in Braking Point is Devon Butler, the fan-favorite villain from F1 2019.
"Something I haven't mentioned is the return of Devon Butler. So when we did the feeder series in F2, 2019, Devon became an instant star," said Mather. "We put a lot of time and effort into building a villain, so to speak and he's returned in this really does continue to show his true colors. So we're really excited to see how people duel with the story, how they enjoy the interaction between the characters, but also the visual spectacle that I think we've put together for this."
In addition to this new, innovative story mode, F1 2021 will also be adding a layer to its regular career mode. In this year's game, a multiplayer career mode will be available, allowing two players to work together or compete against one another as they rise through the F1 ranks.
"It's a complex multiplayer system, which requires two players to be participating in what is essentially a very strong single player career experience previously," Mather revealed. "And the way this works is you can choose to team up with a friend and race on the same team and compete to become Formula One champions. Or alternatively, you can take the route of racing on separate teams and then the contract system will come into play. So you may even find yourself meeting on the same team further into your experience, but again, it's whether you want to play cooperatively or whether you want to play versus with a friend. And this will bring into play all of the cool features that we've got in the career that you'll experience over the previous games in the single player experience. So driver rivalries meet the press, developing the car, all of those things will play out as a part of the two-player career."
F1 2021 will be unlike any other entry into the franchise to this point. There is a lot for longtime racing fans to get excited about with this new installment.
This year's F1 game will be released on July 16th.