Ian Bell founded Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios and the former CEO has some choice words for EA after the company decided to cancel the racing series. "How are those numbers (sorry I mean people, with hopes, dreams and families) looking, at the bottom of those the spreadsheets?" he wrote on his Twitter account.
This week, it was reported that EA is dropping "further development and investment" in the Project Cars series. The games were created by Slightly Mad Studios, a developer that was owned by Codemasters, which itself was acquired by Electronic Arts in 2021. But now Project Cars appears to have gone the way of the dodo.
Bell founded Slightly Mad Studios in 2008 to develop the racing games for which the British developer had a passion. Slightly Mad Studios was acquired by Codemasters in 2019 for $30 million. Bell left the studio he founded shortly after the sale of Codemasters to Electronic Arts. "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," Bell tweeted in October 2021. The US games giant acquired the UK-based Codemasters, famous for racing games such as F1 and Dirt, for $1.2 billion in February last year.
Project Cars launched in 2015, published by Bandai Namco, on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The game was praised for its racing simulation and its graphics. Two sequels followed: Project Cars 2 (2017) and Project Cars 3 (2020). But the series looks to have reached the end of the road. The employees who were presumably working on the formerly in development Project Cars 4 will be placed into "suitable roles across our EA Sports and racing portfolio, as well as other parts of EA, wherever we can," EA said in a statement provided to GamesIndustry.biz.
Following the news, Bell tweeted yesterday: "EA, keeping on being awesome… I said my bit and I stand by every word as they continue to prove them." If you hadn't guessed Bell is not a big fan of the US company. He has previously accused EA of trying to "destroy" his studio Slightly Mad following its publication of the studio's Need For Speed: Shift and its sequel.
According to a follow-up tweet from Bell, he had argued "vociferously" for Project Cars 3 to be called by another name in order to set it apart from the "hardcore sim line". But he was overruled by a marketing department, according to Bell, while he had intended the game to be a spiritual successor to Need For Speed: Shift. As for Project Cars it seems this racing series will be no more for the foreseeable.
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