Codemasters Senior Creative Director Lee Mather has explained how Netflix’s Drive to Survive docu-series played a major part in the development of F1 2021’s exciting new story mode Braking Point.
There’s plenty to look forward to in the upcoming release of F1 2021. While new additions like the “Real Season Start” career tool or two-player online careers modes have been catching the attention of fans, the game’s new narrative-driven story mode named Braking Point is definitely the headline addition in the series’ next offering.
Following the story of Aiden Jackson, players will work their way from Formula 2 into the big leagues of F1 during a three-season-long story, with seats at Racing Point / Aston Martin, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo, Haas, or Williams up for grabs.
Of course, there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way, with rival Casper Akkerman, team boss Brian Doyle, and the returning Devon Butler all playing antagonist to our character through Braking Point.
During an early presentation of F1 2021, Senior Creative Director Lee Mather stated that Braking Point took inspiration from Netflix’s smash-hit F1 docuseries Drive to Survive. In an exclusive interview with the man himself, we asked Mather how much the show had influenced the development of the mode.
F1 2021 chief on Braking Point mode
Since the release of Drive to Survive on Netflix, Formula 1 has entered a period of significant growth.
Statistics in France claim that interest in the sport has grown by 4%, while 2021’s Bahrain Grand Prix opener was the most-watched F1 race in the United States since records began in 1995. It’s clear that the series has opened the sport up to new audiences, and Mather and the Codemasters team used the show to help steer the narrative of Braking Point.
“It’s been pretty amazing. Drive to Survive, the broad success of how it’s brought in people who traditionally weren’t into Formula 1 because they’re not into motorsport,” Mather told us.
“We started working on Braking Point before Drive to Survive became the monster hit that it did, so when the series came along, it was much easier to explain to the writers: ‘Watch this and see how exciting the world of Formula 1 is, look at the characters, the emotions, the outbursts.'”
“It’s not as sanitized as people who don’t follow the sport think. The drivers are full of passion and excitement. Drive to Survive made it so much easier for us to sell the idea to more people, and give the professional writers a clear picture of the sort of thing we had in mind — the kind of story we wanted to create, and the areas we could make good use of from Drive to Survive.”
Of course, this isn’t Codemasters’ first foray into narrative storytelling in the F1 series. In F1 2019, players took part in a shortened F2 season with rival Devon Butler, who would follow you throughout your career in F1 as a rival. Braking Point is the next evolution of that idea, which the developers feel is a “beautifully written story, full of exciting characters and drama.”
Fans of the series will have to wait a little longer to play through Aiden Jackson’s story for themselves though, with F1 2021 set to release on July 16 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.