There’s no more demanding audience for any simulator than the people who do the job for real, and Giants has no shortage of farmers who get home from a long day and relax by playing
Instead, Giants creates longevity through a career mode and tries to convey the feel of reality without ever restricting players when it comes to real life’s more tedious elements. In particular, help with the latter comes from licensing, partnerships, and getting real-world vehicles into the sim, much as a racing game studio might court car makers. “With the partnership with most of those manufacturers, we get the CAD data in and can then create our realtime model and so on,” Ammann says. “Working directly with them is really helpful, with sound recordings and test machines and consulting on how their machines work. Ultimately, we’re not farmers here!” Neither Xbox One nor PS4 is changing how Giants approaches the task for the moment, with the consoles’ main benefit being that they allow the studio to offer parity with a decent PC, which means HD resolution and 60fps. The simulation certainly isn’t being dumbed down for the new audience, with the main difference being the control scheme. This is, of course, a challenge for Giants, though the bigger one by far is being the pathfinder for its genre as a whole – a genre that is always going to find it hard to go toe-to-toe with the many better-funded releases on the market.
“Those triple-A products have 50 times the budget and the marketing, but in the end we don’t have to compete. We have our own dimension, like Minecraft has,” Ammann says, shrugging off questions of whether an audience is ready and waiting. “I think that is more a problem for gaming journalists than people out there – a lot don’t understand the game and so ask why people are playing it. If you’re interested in the topic, you’re interested in the game.”