Motorsport Games' officially licensed IndyCar game may have ended development before it'll ever get a chance to release. The "entirety" of the team working on the title has been let go, according to journalist Mike Straw on Twitter, who added that it's "increasingly likely the game is dead unless it's sold off," presumably to another publisher. Late Tuesday evening, the company confirmed it suspended work on the long-awaited release during its third-quarter earnings call.
To recap, IndyCar's first licensed video game in decades was announced in 2021 and planned for a 2023 launch. It blew that target, and while the focus shifted to getting the game out the door in 2024 and IndyCar publicly remained hopeful, the odds have appeared increasingly slim that the title would ever see the light of day. All we've seen to date, officially, were some livery-free car models back in 2022. Screenshots and a teaser trailer did leak earlier this month, via Insider Gaming.
In an update to my story on the IndyCar game: the entirety of the IndyCar dev team has been laid off at Motorsport Games.— Mike Straw (@MikeStrawMedia) November 7, 2023
We should know more about the game later today, but it's increasingly likely it's dead unless it's sold off.
The collapse of the IndyCar title mirrors the dissolution of NASCAR's relationship with the publisher, owned by Motorsport Network, which quickly began securing exclusive licenses to a variety of racing events including the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans upon its founding in 2018.
NASCAR was able to get out of its contract with Motorsport Games and jump ship for iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, which is of course behind the eponymous PC-exclusive sim platform. The company now expects to deliver a console title based around the stock car racing series in 2025. Meanwhile, TOCA, which operates the BTCC, released a statement on Monday saying it was "left with no option but to terminate the agreement and immediately withdraw all licensed BTCC rights that were provided to Motorsport Games."
At the moment, IndyCar isn't revealing much on the status of the game, nor its agreement with the publisher. "We're not at the place yet where we have chosen which path that will be, but it is a top-of-mind question that we’re engaged in," Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles told Racer in a story published Tuesday. In September, Miles related he was unsure Motorsport Games had "the resources to finish the job;" it now appears those concerns were valid.
Regardless of what IndyCar's official line is, if there's nobody on staff to make a game—Straw wrote that the project's "lead developer, multiple senior developers, 3D artists, designers, audio designers, and producers" were all laid off—the game isn't happening. Whatever paths are available to Penske Entertainment going forward, it seems all but certain none will involve Motorsport Games.
Have a tip on an upcoming racing game? Hit my line at firstname.lastname@example.org