Codemasters has officially lifted the lid on F1 2022 (or F1 22 as it's now officially called), the next entry in its annual Formula 1 series. Launching on July 1 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S, the game will also receive VR support on PC, making it the first F1 game to do so.
Arriving on Steam, Epic Games Store, and Origin, we don’t know which VR headsets are supported right now on F1 22. However, we’d expect you’ll be fine if you own an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, or Oculus Quest 2 (via Oculus Link). Presently, there’s no word on a native Quest release, PlayStation VR compatibility, or if it’ll support PlayStation VR 2 when Sony's new headset launches.
So, what else has changed this time around? A good few things, as it turns out. Alongside co-op multiplayer and the usual roster updates – we’ve got the full lineup of all 20 drivers and 10 teams – 2022’s newest location, the Miami International Autodrome, also makes its debut with the Miami Grand Prix. A new adaptive AI system for “less experienced players” has also been implemented, adjusting the pace of AI cars depending on your performance.
Otherwise, a new ‘F1 Life’ mode was confirmed, a customizable hub that lets you collect “supercars, clothing, accessories, and more.” The Formula 2 mode is back with 2021 and 2022 season content, providing a training ground with options for different season lengths, before entering the big leagues.
My Team also makes a return for the third year running, letting you choose a starting budget to create your own F1 team in a racing management mode. That’s not to be confused with the upcoming F1 Manager 2022 game from Frontier Developments, which has a similar but expanded premise.
VR could be a game-changer
However, it's F1 22's VR support that has us most excited. As a lifelong F1 fan who owns multiple VR headsets, I’m completely sold on Codemasters’ decision. Sure, it’s disappointing that VR support is currently limited to PC – in fairness, I can't imagine we’ll ever see this running natively on Quest 2 without significant compromises – but there’s an immersion VR offers which can’t be beaten.
Of course, F1 22 isn’t the first racing sim to support VR, far from it. Gran Turismo Sport, Project Cars 2, Driveclub VR, Assetto Corsa, and even Codemasters' own DiRT Rally 2.0 all placed us directly into the driver’s seat. I’ve not gone through them all but what I have tried, I’ve had fun with.
So, F1 22 isn’t the first racing game to do this, not by a long shot, but there’s something incredibly exciting about VR being added to the world’s premier motorsport. We’ve always been able to play these games from a cockpit view, but you’re still limited to seeing things through a TV or monitor. By making the jump to VR, that places us directly inside the heart of the action, into these 360 degree worlds.
Personally, going toe-to-toe with the frontrunners like Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, and Charles Leclerc sounds slightly terrifying, especially at the speeds F1 cars can reach. We’ve all seen how hard those guys fight for position in real life and it doesn’t necessarily end well. I’m not talking about controversies like last year’s title decider, but remember Monza? When there’s points to be had, crashes often follow.
Still, those close battles are exhilarating to watch, so if VR puts me straight into the action, count me in.