I approached the entrance to Codemasters’ HQ with trepidation and excitement in equal measures. It was my first experience of such an event, and was immediately put an ease by how friendly everyone was. This was especially true of GRID’s Director, Chris Smith, who was bursting with passion for his latest project. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to put some questions to him…
What was the first game you remember playing?
At home I had a Dragon 32 and I think the first game I played on it was Chucky Egg (I’m old of body and young of mind). In the arcades (when they existed) it was Outrun & Space Harrier.
When did you decide that you wanted to work in the industry?
It was never a decision; I was born of games and had no other destiny but to be part of this amazing industry.
What are you currently playing in your free time?
Assassins Creed Odyssey, Overwatch, Ace Combat 7, Destiny 2, Slay the Spire to mention a few. The short story is I game about 2-3 hours a day 7 days a week. I’m a gamer and proud of it.
How has it felt being at the helm of such a loved franchise with lots of history to it?
It’s great, I loved the first GRID! I think I said yes before they finished the sentence offering me the job on GRID…hehe. It’s a passion project for me to make a GRID experience that’s accessible and welcoming to all gamers and above all FUN!
How is the Xbox version of the game shaping up?
It’s awesome. I’m a console gamer myself so it’s important to me that on the Xbox One & Xbox One X it’s an amazing experience.
It must be very exciting having Fernando Alonso on board for the project. What has working with him been like?
Well I am not going to say he comes in each day and we chat over coffee, he’s a busy man and our time with him is limited. Just last week Fernando and Jamie Chadwick played the latest build and had nothing but praise for it. It is always great to see a legend like Fernando playing and enjoying your game, he’s a great guy!
What are you most excited for players to experience about GRID?
Each of your races will be an unpredictable motorsport story, what happens in each event will be like no other thanks to our amazing AI, race choreographer and Nemesis system. Combine that with an accessible handling model and wide choice of car classes, city and circuits with 104 career events, plus multiplayer modes this is a racing game for everyone to enjoy! In addition the post release content (paid and free), will keep the GRID experiencing ever expanding with new motorsport experiences.
It’s clear there are plenty of rewards for progressing, can you tell me a bit more about those?
Not for the moment, you’ll have to wait and see 😉
The next generation is knocking on the door; can you tell us what the future holds for GRID beyond the upcoming release?
Not right now, but the future of games continues to innovate and evolve! One thing I am excited about is streaming and the potential it holds for how we play, interact with and watch games.
If you had to describe GRID in one word, what would it be?
Exciting motorsport for all…okay I cheated that’s four words. I’ll go with Awesome!
Huge thanks to Chris for giving up some of his time to answer these questions! Be sure to check out how GRID is shaping up by reading our hands-on preview, and watching our gameplay footage below, ahead of its launch on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC come 11th, October 2019.