During our recent visit to Simbin Studios UK, Studio Head Allan Speed has confirmed the first project due for release by the relaunched group will be a return of the glorious GTR franchise for Windows PC, Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4. Utilising the powerful Unreal 4 game engine, Simbin plan to launch GTR3 in 2018 in a multi platform deal for both PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. News that the first new game from Simbin since 2010 will be the third instalment of the fabled GTR franchise, using the latest generation technology and aimed at both the 'hard core' simulation fan as well as widening the title's user base to a more casual gaming audience is a big deal, so we decided to find out a little bit more about the new game currently in development. When pushed on the subject of the direction for GTR 3, Speed confirmed both casual and serious sim racers will be catered for with the new sim. "The plan will be at some point to branch off" said Allan. "It will be proper simulation but for the console version the casual user is just as important. At some point RaceRoom will switch over to the technology we are creating and we'll just take that a different route, as in simulation with support for both console and PC." Adding to those comments, Chris Speed (Sector3 CEO) who is also heavily involved in the new venture with his brother and Simbin Studio Head Allan, elaborated on the direction of the new game: "I think another point we need to take note of is, whilst the PC community would love this hard core simulation thing which is fine, as Allan said there is a console community that aren't going to fully adhere to that. The product at the end of the day needs to appeal to both sides, hardcore racer as awell and the casual gamer. A game that does that really really well is Formula One. I can have fantastic fun in the simulator on PC and I can have just as much fun as a casual gamer on a console. They do it really well. I'm not saying that's something we are going to follow completely, I'm just saying that they've done it and it's possible... The best way to put it is neither side will be forgotten." With only three months having passed since the announcement of Simbin UK back in October, development is still very much at an early stage with the new title. The studio have confirmed a core group of people are already at work on GTR3, with their recruitment drive in full swing and several additional team members due to join in the next few weeks. Such is the level of interest in the new venture, Speed readily admits the team are on the lookout to expand their current working environment. At present Simbin are situated in a rather attractive tenth floor Manchester City Centre location and the team are already scouting out for a new site capable of supporting up to 35 work stations, with several suitable locations identified and on the radar. "The North of England is renowned for talented race game developers" Commented Chris. "I use the term race game developers because they do a multitude of different racing games. In Manchester we are in the centre of the country. We can tap into Liverpool, Sheffield and other areas. Manchester is good for transport facilities and we are an hour 50 minutes to London on the train, so it's ideal really... Just the announcement of Simbin alone has people knocking on the door. To be honest, the reaction and the recruitment process and all that's happened here (in Manchester) I couldn't be more happy about. It was exactly what we wanted. The reaction that we've had, especially from people looking for jobs and stuff has been unbelievable... there is a good will for Simbin yes, whatever happened in the past happened for a reason. But there is a goodwill for working on good racing games, and this will be a good racing game". It was clear from our discussions that a solid development plan is already underway in Manchester, aided by the knowledge that funding is on its way for the sim. Allan has gone so far as to suggest a first playable version of GTR 3 should be available as soon as six months time. "The plan is after 6 months we'll have a first playable. We are working on deals at the minute with publishers which takes time of course. We'll have something on all three platforms, it will be one track, weather, damage, new particle system, physics and AI. I suspect we'll have multiple cars on that track with all the new systems running". Another key fact already confirmed for GTR3, and something that will no doubt please many of the often vocal critics of RaceRoom, will be the abolishment of the need to always keep GTR3 online in order to play the game. "The only thing you'll need internet for is if you want to race online multiplayer, that's it. That's very different from R3E. In R3E we are using Steam wallet and a shop portal that needs an internet connection. All those things mean you have to be always online. With GTR it’s a standalone product" said Chris Speed. Because GTR 3 will be making use of the powerful Unreal 4 engine, the new title will be in the enviable position of being able to simulate several key features missing from the majority of current racing titles on our shelves at present. Both Chris and Allan confirmed to me the other week that GTR 3 will contain day to night transition, allowing for fully scalable 24 hour time of day conditions as well as a fully dynamic weather system, bringing with it changing handling in the different conditions, aquaplaning and dynamic water movement that will allow rain to pool organically on the racing surface and dissipate as cars travel through the standing water. Coupled to these features will be the ability to now model vehicle damage and bring to the new sim a substantial improvement over RaceRoom's current particle system and AI behaviour. Of course with both Sector3 and Simbin working under the same banner, some of the stronger features of the RaceRoom Racing Experience title will be making a transition over to the new GTR3 game. It has been confirmed that the class leading sounds from R3E will be making an appearance in GTR 3, with talented sound engineer Anthony Monteil sharing his skills across both teams during development. Sector3 will of course play a small role in helping with the development of the new GTR3, however with their own commitments lined up as an exciting future beckons for RaceRoom Racing Experience, the possibility of sharing resources be limited at this stage. "We have our stuff we need to concentrate on with RaceRoom and Allan has his goals he needs to do with Simbin" said Chris. "Of course people like Anthony with the sounds will be a shared resource, support in terms of physics and car handling we will look to do that if we can, but there isn't much else we can offer as our resources are tight and obviously Allan probably has much more of a chance to get someone in to do these things. Just like sharing assets, we'll try to share resources where practical." As we all know, the previous GTR releases featured an official licence to replicate the FIA GT World Championship, at the time the premier GT racing championship in the world. With all the cars and drivers of the 2003 and 2004 seasons present in the game, plus all the tracks from their respective schedules, many will be interested to know which direction Simbin will be taking with their third instalment of the series. Obviously the FIA GT Championship no longer exists in its previous form, and the GT endurance racing landscape has moved on considerably since the days of taking a Henrik Roos Chrysler Viper GTS-R up against the mighty Ferrari 550's and Maserati MC 12. So what series will the new game be covering when it first sees the light of day at the end of this year? Because of on-going licencing negotiations we are not allowed to reveal that information yet, however I can say that I'm exceptionally confident that race fans will not be disappointed when Simbin feels it’s appropriate to release more details of their licencing arrangements. The options on the table revealed to me will all make an exceptional simulation and I'm eager to see which path the developers choose. All in all, the return of both the Simbin name and the GTR franchise can only be a good thing for sim racers and fans of virtual motorsports. With a development studio steeped in history and renowned for making racing simulations of the highest calibre, today's news can only be seen as a shot in the arm for our beautiful sim racing hobby. During the visit to the Manchester HQ, I was lucky enough to join the very small handful of people who have viewed the very very early "proof of concept" video featuring a car and track from RaceRoom in the Unreal 4 engine, and I'm seriously impressed. Despite the short video only having been created to see how the engine works in a racing environment, and having been created as a low profile R&D exercise, the footage I witnessed was simply mind blowing. With RaceRoom sounds, PCars graphics and Simbin attention to detail, GTR3 could well turn out to be the racing game we've all been waiting for. If you want to know more about the new Simbin studio, GTR 3 and the future of RaceRoom Racing Experience, stay tuned to RaceDepartment in the coming weeks, as we will be publishing a series of articles and interviews getting behind the scenes of the UK's newest addition to the sim racing landscape. If you liked this news from our recent Simbin visit, stay tuned to RaceDeparment in the next couple of weeks as we present our full interview, full of several very exciting pieces of exclusive news... GTR 3 will be the third instalment to the GTR franchise of games by Simbin Studios. The sim will be available to purchase for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC during 2018. For all the latest news and discussions regarding GTR 3 head over to the RaceDepartment GTR 3 sub forum today. Get involved in the community conversation early as development for this new games progresses throughout the coming year! Looking forward to GTR 3? Do you think the "new" Simbin can pick up where the "old" Simbin left off with the GTR franchise? Which series would you prefer Simbin to licence for the new title? Let us know in the comments section below!