After the first part of our exclusive interview with Assetto Corsa mastermind Marco Massarutto, here are more interesting questions that the developer faces. What does the future of racing games look like and which game does Marco like to play in his spare time? The answers to these and more questions you can read here:
SimRacing Unlimited: What do you think will be the next big milestones towards realism in future racing sims?
Marco Massarutto: The answer is not easy, because every simracer has his own opinion and preferences about it. I think that the overall complexity of racing simulations (physics, tire model, graphics, sound, netcode, track accuracy, weather conditions) has reached a very high level of sophistication, so we can expect fine-tuning of all these aspects in the future. On the other hand, there are some aspects that still have a greater room for improvement, such as realistic damage: but this is something that requires a lot of work and calculations to be processed, and if you think about it, as soon as you hit a wall, even at 20kmh (that would mean zero feeling in a virtual environment), you should stop the car and the racing or driving experience would end there. Very few people would really appreciate that level of realism. Imagine playing a match in a shoot 'em up and getting hit in the leg by a single bullet, in a real world you would not be able to continue the fight in an effective way. The frustration would easily overpower the realism.
SimRacing Unlimited: On the future of the ACC and your new project, what about sublicensed national series, such as ADAC GT Masters, since SRO is the original license holder? Will these perhaps find a way into the game in the future?
Marco Massarutto: Assetto Corsa Competizione is the official video game of the SRO GT Series, so we are evaluating content and opportunities for this product that are limited to SRO's area of interest and expertise.
SimRacing Unlimited: Do you plan to offer GT2 models for ACC in the the near future? Almost all SRO series are already available, only GT2 is not yet.
Marco Massarutto: This is something that is being discussed with SRO, so I wouldn't rule out this possibility from the start.
SimRacing Unlimited: As one of the most popular PC racing simulations of our time, looking back, what are you most proud of in the development of AC/ACC?
Marco Massarutto: Several things: We started from scratch with no money and a lot of passion and determination, so it's very nice to see that the Assetto Corsa franchise is considered a benchmark for racing simulations in the international scene; we're even prouder when we consider that Italy, while celebrated for many things, is not necessarily known as an ideal country for video game developers, and it means a lot to our team to be able to spread the "Made in Italy" in this business as well. Last but not least, we proved that a hardcore racing simulation can also be popular on console and not limited to a niche of a few people: We bet on it, and we were right.
SimRacing Unlimited: Simracing and eSports have finally arrived at the car manufacturers. There are so many different series and events that it's hard to keep track of them all. Still, many players are put off because they think they're not good enough in comparison. Do you have a solution to get more players interested in eSports and take away this fear?
Marco Massarutto: That's a good point and a good question: we think we can get more people interested in eSports competitions if we let them compete on different fields and in different "contexts" without sacrificing the simulation value. It's still quite early to go in that direction, but we're working on it.
SimRacing Unlimited: The FIA GT World Challenge, whose virtual part is handled through ACC, combines real and virtual racing for the first time. Do you think this exciting model in scoring will become more common in the future?
Marco Massarutto: As SRO CEO Stephane Rathel said, 50% of the teams agreed to this possibility beforehand, and frankly I was pleasantly surprised. After the first race, I read a lot of enthusiastic comments. So I think that after we break through the wall of skepticism, many other legitimate virtual competitions will see the light.
SimRacing Unlimited: What is the significance of what appears to be a hissing cat making a hump in your company logo?
Marco Massarutto: Well, at Kunos we love cats, and "Kunos" was the name of the first cat Stefano had when he was a kid, so we thought that including a cat in the logo would have been representative of our team. A sleeping cat would not have worked well enough, an "aggressive" one would have been much better. We asked the same guy who eventually designed the AC logo to do some mockups, and we liked it at first sight.
SimRacing Unlimited: How big are the problems in team communication and development in times of pandemic? After all, it's hardly possible to scan routes or record audio for vehicles, etc.?
Marco Massarutto: We have been working in smart working since 2005, from that point of view the pandemic has not affected our habits so much, except for the few of us who also work in our studio near Rome. For me, business travel has been an important part of my job, and logistics have also suffered a bit, but we've been lucky because a lot of the data we need for production has been obtained well in advance.
However, like everyone else, we are waiting to get back on track for planned future activities.
SimRacing Unlimited: Would you like to develop something other than a racing simulation? If so, what kind of game would that be?
Marco Massarutto: I would like to simulate myself to have more free time! :D Jokes aside, we didn't create Kunos to produce driving sims, Kunos is a "consequence" of our will to produce driving sims, so I don't see that changing in the future.
SimRacing Unlimited: Away from racing sims: What other games have you enjoyed the most lately?
Marco Massarutto: Recently I tried Circuit Superstars, which is now in Early Access on Steam, and TrackDayR, a new motorcycle racing simulator produced by an Italian studio, but the game I've played the most in the last year is Flight Simulator 2020, I think it's great.
SimRacing Unlimited would like to thank the developers of Kunos Simulazioni and the publisher 505 Games for the opportunity to conduct this interview. See you on the race track!