The F1 2010 development team at Codemasters didn't believe the game (which has sold more than 2.3 million units globally) would have the commercial and critical success it went on to achieve.
"We were already working on the 2011 game almost as soon as we shipped the '10, so when it came to the awards for '10 it was a case of, 'Oh yeah, that game that we made last time around.' It almost justified the direction that we took with '10," F1 2011 chief game designer Stephen Hood told VideoGamer.com.
"We thought it'd do pretty well. It was interesting watching the sales predictions internally. They started at a million and were going up all the time," Hood continued. "A few journalists see some of the features, the predictions go up. At one point, when it was going over 2 million, we were thinking, 'Really? The last Formula 1 game sold six-and-a-bit hundred thousand units, and now we're going to blow them out of the water?' We started to think, 'They're going too high now!' That kind of covers your marketing budget, and we weren't sure. But it did - it went above those expectations as well."
"We were surprised it got so many awards and so much great feedback for an initial game, because all we do, as developers, is see the weak points. It was a huge rush for us to get that game out the door, we were really pushing against time. And that means that sometimes you can't put the love and care that you want into certain features, because it comes together too late in the day. That was the huge advantage of 11. We've got a game that's already running, we're building on top of it."
The success of F1 2010 has given the team increased freedom to do things the way they want them, but at the same time also brought an element of pressure.
"We're trying to do new things in 2011, and now we can turn round to our internal teams - for example, marketing - and say 'Look, we went with that direction last time, but we know we've got our fingers on the pulse. We want to do these things in '11.' So in some ways it's made life a bit easier internally, to make the game that we want," explained Hood. "But it puts a bit of pressure on us, because we don't want to be one-hit wonders."