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Excluisve Interview: Marco Massarutto from Kunos Simulazioni - Part one

Photo credit: Kunos Simulazioni

Hello and welcome to another article series here on the Global SimRacing Hub!
We have another interview ready for you with one of the main persons behind the big sim racing titles.
This time we have spoken to Marco Massarutto from Kunos Simulazioni, who is the developer of Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione.
Enjoy!


Hi Marco, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Let’s go back to 2005. What made you and Stefano Casillo take the step to found Kunos Simulazioni?

Two years before, I was managing Drivingitalia.net which at the time was one of the most important and popular European sim racing websites, and we also collected important partnerships with F1 Racing and other motorsport magazines. 
I was keen to let the automotive and motorsport industry understand that sim racing was something different and more than “video gaming”, and it wasn’t easy at all. So when Dunlop contacted me to host a sim racing event in Misano, I asked Stefano for permission to use his netKar game, because despite its “roughness”, I believed it was the ideal showcase to open that door.
Stefano agreed, so I produced a customized version of the software for that event, involving other people, working on logistics, packaging, management, and so on.
When Stefano decided to bring netKar PRO to the next level, he thought I was the man he was looking for. We worked together for more than 15 years, and it has been just great. 

Everyone in sim racing has even heard of or played Assetto Corsa, which today still is very popular within the community. When did the idea of making Assetto Corsa come to your mind and how long was the development before release in 2014?

Assetto Corsa was our third product after netKar PRO and Ferrari Virtual Academy, which barely provided the starting budget to work on something bigger. 
Those products were aimed for the typical niche of hardcore sim racers.

The idea behind AC was to produce a hardcore PC simulation that in terms of car choices and tracks woould look familiar to the Gran Turismo fans, but going far deeper in terms of car handling, physics, behaviour and car setups, not mentioning the modding features. 

We aimed to include not only those racing cars and content you typically find in any hardcore PC simulation but also road cars that lots of car enthusiasts can drive every day. The goal was to feed a wider audience without compromising realism and I think we nailed it.

One of the reasons behind the continuing success of Assetto Corsa was the accessibility to create and install mods. Was that the plan from the very start and how important do you think mods are in sim racing titles as a whole?

I agree. I’ve also been surprised to see the level of complexity and dedication lots of talented users have shown, to the point throughout the years, where we hired some of them. 

About the strategy, we are convinced that this is a very flexible platform for our team.
First of all, when the AC project started we were 6 people in the company, and in 2015 we  were just 14, so we needed to take any possible advantage in terms of structure flexibility, in order to speed up the production flow.
Also, AC was available for some dedicated B2B activities, with Ferrari, Dallara and other companies way before we released the public version, and having a moddable platform was absolutely needed to avoid any bottleneck with our partners. 

Surprisingly, more than 60% of overall AC users are console players that can’t take advantage of the modding on PS4 and Xbox One. That means a lot of people also appreciate the original content we provided for AC.

This concludes part one of the interview with Marco. Him and Stefano’s approach and vision of how Assetto should look like and the journey since Kunos Simulazioni have been through was truly fascinating! In part two, we are gonna talk and the current and the future of Assetto Corsa. Stay tuned!
 

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