Earlier this week i wrote about the unreleased Grand Prix 3 port for the Dreamcast. Today I write about the unreleased Grand Prix 4 port for the Xbox. Yes, on the 15th of October Grand Prix 4 for the Xbox was scheduled to be released by Infrogrames. The game would never appear on the Xbox. The biggest question is whatever happened with the game? and was the port in a design stadium it could be released as a Beta game?
When I did my research for the game, I arrived on the site of Game Mania. This store sells video games new and second hand for many consoles. They still have Grand Prix 4 listed on their website with the release date 15th of October 2002. On another page I found a price tag of €69,99 which seems to be pretty expensive. It was interesting to see there was a release date. It made me realise that not long after Microprose was closed the game would be released.
Grand Prix 4 appeared on the PC on 21th of June 2002 and was based on the 2001 season. As the company only had the license for 2001. They knew as well that modding groups would quickly start designed the 2002 season and other seasons. Microprose already announced both versions earlier in the year. Simergy and Microprose probably choose for the Grand Prix 4 port as the Xbox was promising with rendering and their hardware power at the time. As well EA Sports had to stop with their F1 games after 2002. Though comparing both games isn’t possible. In 2003 Sony got the license from the FIA.
Just before the release of Grand Prix 4 on the PC, the developers told in an interview that they were only days behind with the Xbox version and it would only take two or three weeks to be released when the PC version was. We now know it did not.
So what info is published for the Xbox game? It is known that Grand Prix 4 would not have access to the network. It means that the possibility to actually race with others worldwide wasn’t able.
The game would be a mix of realism racing and arcade racing. The AI would be the same as it was for the PC version. As well the graphics would increase as well the weather, realism would be better. Because of the aracade-ish style, as well there were several aids for the players. Traction control, break control, steering help and so on.
Somewhere in the timeline, it did go wrong. Not long after the first release of Grand Prix 4, the story appeared of an eventual close-down of Microprose by Infrogames. You know it will happen when rumours like it appear. As Geoff Crammond said in an interview a few years ago. One patch was released while everyone knew they would be without a job within weeks. I would have released the Xbox version of the game as a Beta if the development were near complete.
On September the 16th new was official that Infogrames would close down Microprose. With that announcement, the hope for Grand Prix 4 to appear on the Xbox went quickly down the drain. Probably it is still a big lost for the Xbox. As many F1 fans at that time were dying for a good F1 console games. To be honest the EA Sports series wasn’t that good after all.
As far as I know there are no in game screenshots of Grand Prix 4 nor is the Beta version of the game ever found or released.