It was supposed to be: The biggest, most explorable racing game ever made. Developed by Asobo Studio and published by racing supremo Codemasters, Fuel was to be (and was) the biggest open-world game ever, comprising a 5, 560 square-mile map, countless outposts and racing areas and a plethora of vehicle types. With the ability to go off-road, cross country, through-forest and over-cliff at every turn, including during races, it was supposed to be an utterly free, player-driven experience that changed the perception of the way racing games could work. Skyrim with engines. That’s what it should have been.
But it went wrong because: There were sloppy design decisions throughout. The map, although huge, was kind of dull and a little too empty, and littered with underwhelming destinations that took far too long to reach. An event selection menu disincentivised exploration somewhat, and a flawed map interface made the prospect rather more of a struggle than it should have been. Races could be great at times, but patchy AI meant that they didn’t really deliver on the free-form battles for navigational dominance that everyone was expecting.