In the second part of a look back at 2016 (and forward to 2017) we take in some of the highs and lows for a number of games new on our shelves (or not) these past twelve months. It has been an interesting exercise to take stock and have a look at what we have at our fingertips this January that was just pure speculation twelve short months previously. I think 2016 has been a pretty good year for game releases, but its also been prolific in announcements that have sometimes materialized into something tangible, and sometimes just plain old disappeared off the face of the earth. If for some reason you missed part one released yesterday, feel free to pop over and check it out HERE. Ok so lets have a look at part two of our summary feature and see what's new, what's different and what's just the same as its always been.... Codemasters build something good, finally. Frankly no one expected Formula One 2016 to be a particularly worthwhile entry into the vast Codemasters Formula One franchise. After year on year of big promises and community hype ending up in abject disappointment following what is usually yet another quick rehash of a previous game, F1 titles are famous for omitting even the most very basic of details that should really be picked up by a game represented as the official entry into the gaming marketplace for the pinnacle open wheel racing series in the world. F1 2016 changed all that, and then some. The new Formula One title from Codemasters has surpassed all expectations from the racing community, proving a fully fleshed out racing game with an interesting and evolving career mode, more refined handling characteristics and a subtle leaning towards several more simulation orientated areas of the sport. Of course no one will mistake F1 2016 as a "hard-core" simulation experience, however the new title does add (or bring back in some cases) several new and returning features that lift the game above anything that has come before it in the long running franchise. New for this year comes the ability to make manual starts and pit stops, advanced tyre wear characteristics, formation laps, fully operational safety car and virtual safety car features plus an expansion to the previous online experience, now able to accommodate up to 22 players in a single session. F1 2016 is the game that should have been released by Codemasters back in 2010, finally. A return to form for the great British developers and a game worthy of the official F1 franchise. Bravo. Can we manage it? Yes we can... Playsport Games will no doubt be delighted by their hugely successful transition from the world of mobile gaming to the PC big leagues with Motorsport Manager, a game that has received plenty of praise since becoming available to purchase back in November. Although many expressed initial concerns regarding the lack of any real team and driver likenesses (due to Playsport having not secured the official rights to the Formula One licence or other such series), the game has gone on to become a very popular title and achieved admirable sales during the short amount of time it has been available. Playsport have been pleasantly proactive within the sim racing community and have listened to feedback suggested by a large portion of players, already deploying updates that have addressed a couple of outstanding issues within the title, as well as adding a new 2D drop down race graphics to allow those with lower spec machines to run the game effectively. With a nice selection of third party mods available to inject some more familiar brands and drivers into the core game experience, Motorsport Manager has proven itself to be one of the stand out success stories of 2016. Big Riggin' American Style 2016 was a truly massive year SCS Software, seeing the very successful launch of their American Truck Simulator title, winning two Steam Awards and completely rescaling the American map in ATS after initial feedback suggested the default locations were not a representative scale to best reflect the American countryside. On top of all this the studio have expanded their development team considerably, have brought a raft of new features to both ATS and European Truck Sim 2 and have implemented early beta stage VR implementation in both titles, alongside a totally reworked new French map for ETS2 and several new pieces of content for the American game. Despite having a hectic year of releases, updates and enhancements the studio have maintained their commendable commitment of listening to community feedback and filtering in the players experiences when deciding on the development direction for both titles. Nowhere is this philosophy more apparent than the recent rescale project for ATS. When feedback suggested the map scale should be bigger in ATS, the studio went away and painstakingly developed a larger scale map, with additional road sections and towns and then released it to existing owners of the game for no additional charge! 2016 has been a standout year for SCS Software, and 2017 promises to be even brighter as the studio can now concentrate on developing their existing titles and fleshing out the content in American Truck Simulator. GT Legends announced, news eagerly awaited Most of us sim racers who have been around the scene for a while should be familiar with the original GT Legends title from Simbin Studios. More than likely with very positive memories of a sim that was released during a purple patch period for the Swedish development studio, hitting the target again and again with both GTR, GTR2, GT Legends and the classic Race series of games. Fast forward to early 2016 and Simbin are no more (ok they've announced a comeback, but lets be realistic about it being the same team), the GT Legends name has been consigned to the annals of time and fans are left shouting excitedly at every piece of classic content released for modern day simulations - proclaiming it the natural successor to the fabled title from 2005. Step in Simon Lundell, former Simbin Studios employee and now the proud new owner of the rights to the franchise and head of the new studio tasked with bringing back the game, Tiny Feet Studios. Simon is very early into his journey to bring "GT Legends 2" to the gaming public, however his intention is clear. Create a worthy successor to the GT Legends game that retains the spirit of the original title, on a modern simulation platform. We sat down with Simon right after the initial announcement back in February for a brief interview about the new venture, unfortunately due to the very early nature of the announcement and a need to maintain a block on much of the information he is able to divulge due to contractual negotiations, the proposed interview was never substantial enough to publish here at RD. With a good twelve months having passed since the initial announcement we will endeavour to sit back down with Simon again and have a look at where this project is heading. Stay tuned for the interview and any news on this project as and when it is available. KartKraft Announced then promptly disappears Well where to start with this one? Having been around in one form or another since 2007, KartKraft has had a troubled development phase to say the least. Scheduled to have entered, completed and exited early access closed and public beta by the end of 2016, timeframes have slipped once again for this game leaving players wondering what might become of the title. With Black Delta being new to the game development business and looking to create a quite involving simulation of a sport not traditionally covered elsewhere one can expect a certain level of delay with the process, however the sheer lack of any communication with fans is perhaps the most frustrating issues with KartKraft. The studio even went as far as to admitting communication hasn’t been good enough back in June and promising to up the quality of their communication strategy going forward. Since that post on their official Facebook page we've seen a batch of screenshots in 20 odd days later then, nothing... 2016 was going to be the big year for KartKraft, sadly its turned out to be yet another let down. Hopefully 2017 will see a change of fortune for the developers and the gaming public will finally be able to see if KartKraft can live up to its early promise. Don't forget to check out the Club Racing scene here at RaceDepartment! We have a whole bunch of interesting events across most sim racing games. Take a look at our Club and League Racing Calendar for more info. Stay tuned for Part 3 next week!!