F1 24 screenshot

F1 24 director Mather on anti-cheat measures and the last-gen tech debate

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In yesterday’s first part of RaceFans’ exclusive interview with Codemasters’ senior creative director for the official F1 series, Lee Mather discussed the major physics changes to this year’s game.

Today, it’s time to dive into other areas of interest around the game beyond its core handling and career mode and look at what fans can expect for the future of the series.

If you missed the first part of the interview, be sure to check out what Mather has to say about the significant changes his team has made to the handling and physics model for the upcoming game.

Time to leave previous-gen behind?

When it comes to the discourse around the current F1 game series, one of the hottest topics of debate involves when the franchise will leave the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles behind and focus exclusively on current-generation hardware and PCs. Ever since the series debuted on current consoles with F1 2021, many players have been eager for the game to move away from Codemasters’ own Ego engine – used since 2015 – or abandon support for last-gen under the assumption that the game’s performance on current-gen is being held back by behind tethered to ten-year-old hardware.

F1 24 screenshot
F1 24 will still be available on older consoles
But when RaceFans asks Mather if this is really the case, he insists that the quality of the games is not being compromised or held back by still being on previous-generation hardware.

“I can certainly see why people have that perception,” he accepts. “But if you look at the spec of our PC game, for example, and how scalable the engine is, we have to accommodate PC specs that are relatively low as well – and we’re talking potentially lower than previous generation console hardware. So the engine’s built for scalability. It always has been. We scale it really effectively. So it’s not being held back in the visual stakes in that way.

“We have incredible technology that allows us to scale the performance. We don’t give the 120 frames-per-second mode on previous-gen consoles, but we do on current-gen consoles. So it is tech that’s built to scale because we offer it on PC as well. The levers are there for us to be able to give players the best experience we can on both ends of the spectrum. That’s not to say there aren’t things that could be done better if we weren’t supporting previous-gen, but overall, the experience is set up so that we can balance it effectively for both platforms, both generations.”

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Podium Pass pivot

The 2020 edition of the official F1 game was a major milestone in the series with many players suggesting that it was perhaps the peak of the franchise. With satisfying car handling thanks to the extreme grip offered by the cars of that season, F1 2020 was also the debut of the MyTeam mode that remains one of the most popular to today.

F1 24 screenshot
Podium Pass has provoked criticism from players
But it also was the first game to introduce the divisive Podium Pass feature. Like so many other battle pass systems in all the most popular live service games from Call of Duty to Fortnite, the Podium Pass gives players rewards for consistent play – originally in the form of cosmetic items like car liveries, helmet or driver suit designs.

However, with the introduction of the F1 World mode in last year’s game, a lot of players were disappointed to find the Podium Pass became increasingly focused on unlocking items for performance in F1 World rather than customisable designs they could use in career, MyTeam or online. Mather says that will not be the case this time around.

“The Podium Pass content and F1 World have had a significant rebalancing,” he explains. “We said last year was foundational for F1 World. It’s a space where we can do something more abstract, we can do things that connect closer to the sport on a race-by-race basis – we can do things like the challenges.

“But the decision to move the Podium Pass to supporting F1 World so significantly was something that we tried. The feedback was mixed in that respect and we’ve learned from that, so we will be changing some of the content that players get through the Podium Pass as well this year. So again, some of the customisation items will come back into the Podium Pass.”

Mather says his team have also made revisions to the F1 World mode as well after taking into account the feedback from players over the last year.

“The way that the player progresses through F1 World has been rebalanced as well, it’s not such an overwhelming experience of so many things to do, it’s a little bit more crafted now in the direction that the players will take,” he says.

“Also in the currencies that they earn as well, we saw from the feedback, we had a lot of currencies that players would be juggling and we wanted to try and refine that down as well. So it was a good, strong first year and it gave us a lot of really good feedback to allow us to adjust this year.”

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Looking to the future

Among the vocal online community of F1 game players, the calls for some form of anti-cheat system to the game have been hard to miss, especially after a series of high-profile incidents at the top end of the competitive scene. From grip hacks to increasing power even with equal performance cars, there are plenty of easy options available for players who have no qualms about ruining the fun for everyone else.

However, there are signs that the upcoming title might be the first to incorporate such measures after some experiments in the recent private beta. Mather outlined the team’s thinking in response to calls for greater restrictions on cheating within the game.

“It’s really important for us as anti-cheat is a really big thing to add to a game and the last thing we want is for the game to come out and for players to have a poor experience,” he said. “Because of that, it’s more important that we get the positive experience from it, because after all, that’s what it’s there for. It’s there to make sure that everybody playing the game gets a positive experience. So that’s what we’re working towards.”

With major rules changes approaching for 2026 and no sign of FOM wanting to take its exclusive F1 license out of EA’s and Codemasters’ hands any time soon, Mather says he is excited about the future of his franchise.

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“One of the fun things in my role is that we have a three-year plan that we generally always have in place,” he says. “We always know what we’re going to be doing for the next three years – with a little bit of movement on the third year, because that gives us a little bit of flexibility in there based on what’s gone well in the previous two years.

F1 24 screenshot
The latest official F1 game will arrive earlier than ever
“I’m quite lucky that I get to look at the super-long term, not just ‘this is the feature set that we’re creating’, but this is the overall direction of where we want to take it and how it feeds into the world of the sport at the moment. Formula 1 has evolved, the community has evolved massively since we started in 2010. From Formula 1 fans buying the Formula 1 game to Formula 1 fans who are now so invested in the drivers, in the teams and the other outlets that the drivers have as well. We’ve got an audience that’s really broadened significantly. So I get really energised by the thought of engaging new and exciting audiences with the F1 game. And that’s become one of the big sort of success stories, really.

“We’ve always said we could bring fans into the sport through a different approach and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now. And that’s kind of what we want to continue building on. It’s part of EA Sports’ mantra really, which is to not just be part of the sport, but to actually drive players into the sport and to really support them and to become absolutely entrenched in the culture.”

But while attracting new fans and players is one thing, appeasing the series current player base is another. It will not be long before the new game is in the hands of those same gamers – or RaceFans. Look out for our review at the end of the month.

Read part one of RaceFans’ exclusive interview with Lee Mather.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “F1 24 director Mather on anti-cheat measures and the last-gen tech debate”

  1. Exclusive interview or commercial article ?

    1. Ha! You beat me to it; I was wondering the same thing. Way too many posts and words about this lately to be anything but commercial.

  2. No VR on Ps5 Still!!!

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