I haven’t played F1 2021 but I’m unimpressed

A Mercedes F1 car on the race track

Today (June 16), EA and Codemasters revealed the official feature set for F1 2021. They did it with a trailer (which I’ve linked below) and a one-pager that gives you some information on the new stuff like Braking Point, Two-Player Career, Real-Season Start, and a few other aspects. While I was originally really eager to learn more about what’s in store for the series this year, I’m now left a little disappointed.

A trailer with little life

I am not embedded in the F1: The Official Videogame Community scene but this is a trailer that needed voice work, either from a producer or community lead. There is a lot going on here. You’ve got inaudible dialog from Braking Point, highlights showing off My Team unlockables, presentation, and menu improvements. It looks flashy but it leaves someone who might be coming in with little experience with the series with more questions that are not answered.

I don’t understand how this wasn’t broken up into separate videos. At nearly two and a half minutes, they could have made at least three videos highlighting the different elements and had a greater impact. Give me a 90-second trailer on Braking Point. Let me hear some of the cut scenes and drama that could unfold. 

Follow that up with a trailer highlighting career mode changes/improvements. The Two-Player career mode is split-screen, which means local-only. I know it’s not a massive selling point, but then put more attention on what you’ve added/improved to My Team, my favorite mode from F1 2020.

Three f1 cars side by side racing

Then the third and fourth (if necessary) trailers that could touch on all the other elements: Real-season Start, New Season Driver, Accessibility, and Graphics. But in any case, someone should be narrating the trailers and treat these more like Dev Diaries than flashy videos that scream ‘hit all the marketing beats!’

I want to learn more

I’ve worked on video game marketing and I feel like this is a rookie mistake that probably won’t hurt sales. However, it also won’t do enough to bring in new users. A successful trailer will a) make the person watching want to learn more about the game and b) pre-ordering or buying the game. Yes, I want to learn more but there isn’t anything more for me to learn.

What’s interesting is that F1 2020 actually had multiple trailers. There is one for Features and another for My Team. Yes, those also don’t feature any narration and rely on on-screen text to relay their messages. But in contrast, I get more information than I did in today’s video.

I was hoping that with EA would inject some of their production experience and it would result in better produced content. Perhaps because EA only bought Codemasters a few months ago, there wasn’t enough time to have more involvement. 

A 2021 McLaren leading the pack

There’s still time

F1 2021 launches on July 16, so we only have a month to learn more, which is actually a lot of time. While there have been a few blog posts from online video game publications, the feature trailer is the first gameplay we’ve seen. Hopefully, they have more content prepped for the next few weeks. At the very least, they should be reaching out to influencers and have them show off the game to help build some hype. At this rate, I would wait (and demand more) before spending any money.