Acclaimed racing game developer Codemasters released its latest title, GRID, last month, but it looks like the upcoming Stadia version will be the definitive way to play the game. In an interview with Wccftech, Development Director of GRID Mark Green stated that the Stadia version of the game features a mode with 40 cars on the track at the same time, something that “just isn’t possible with other hardware.”
One of Stadia’s key selling points, outside of high resolutions and framerates without the need for powerful hardware, is enhanced functionality that wouldn’t otherwise be available with a conventional console or PC. We haven’t heard or seen much of these Stadia specific enhancements, and this seems to be the first significant gameplay features only available in a Stadia version of a game. Sure you can see your teammates’ perspectives in a picture-in-picture view in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, but this is an entire mode locked to the streaming platform.
The technology behind Google’s streaming platform allows for mechanics and modes that just wouldn’t be possible on local hardware. “The ability of Stadia to talk to other Stadia so quickly transforms some ideas around multiplayer,” said Green in the interview. Google has boasted that multiplayer games on Stadia will have better online experiences than their console and PC counterparts, including less overall latency and better anti-cheat services. Also, the power of Stadia is supposedly going to allow developers to push player counts into the thousands. While we may not be seeing 1000 player Fortnite matches just yet, the 40 car mode in GRID is a step in that direction.
Of course, the main concern that many (including some of us here at The Outerhaven) have about Stadia is the latency and other issues that come with streaming games. Services like PlayStation Now and Shadow are usable but not ideal, and they’re definitely not in a state where they can replace local hardware. Like many developers working on games for Stadia’s launch window, Green says Google was “able to deliver on what they promised” and couldn’t feel any lag playing on Stadia. He compared the experience to the PC version at max settings, even running at 4k. We’ll have to take this with a grain of salt until we get our hands on Stadia next week.
As many of you may know, Red Dead Redemption 2 launched on PC last week, and the port isn’t the greatest. Rockstar’s western epic is a launch title for Stadia, however, and if everything about Stadia is to be believed, we should be able to stream the game at 4k with a rock-solid 60fps. According to Green, “we’ve only scratched the surface of what Stadia is capable of,” so it sounds like there is some serious horsepower and fancy technology backing Google’s first foray into the gaming world. It’s only a matter of time until we find out if they can put their money where their mouth is.
Google Stadia Founder’s Editions will begin shipping to early adopters on November 19. While some may not receive their packages until later in the week, codes will be sent out on the 19th, so expect news and impressions here on The Outerhaven then. The service will go live with just 12 games, a launch lineup that is incredibly hit or miss. GRID won’t make the launch date for Stadia, but it will be available on the streaming platform before the end of the year.