Making a Formula 1 game must feel like a thankless task at times. Millions of people follow the pinnacle of motorsport, and pleasing them all in the form of a game is basically impossible.
So why do the people at Codemasters put themselves through it? It's easy to forget they are fans too, something their critics would do well to remember. They want the perfect F1 game just as much as their most volatile players do, and F1 2016 is the most convincing proof of that yet.
Last year's F1 2015 title was the first for the latest generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, and to many its fantastic gameplay - notably a much-needed overhaul to the handling model and the best artificial intelligence (AI) opponents ever seen in a racing game - was overlooked because of the game's lack of depth. In a bit of a throwback to the early days of the official F1 titles, there was little more you could do than simply play through a season.
It is accepted internally at Codemasters that switching to a new game engine at the same time as trying to build the first title for the new consoles was a lot to ask, particularly as the customary late-season release date was replaced with the positive step of a summer launch - which made timelines even tighter than usual. But F1 2015 was a brilliant foundation to build upon, and that's where the masterstroke in strategy for this year's title came in: if you can't please them, join them.
Codemasters reached out to its community shortly after the release of the 2015 game, with all eyes on 2016. What did the fans want? Keyboard warriors were invited to come out from behind their screens and actually participate in highlighting features that were most sought-after.
"We had all these features that everyone was requesting, so we went through and checked the boxes on as many as we could," says senior game designer Gary Richards.
"The core mechanics of the game were spot on in 2015, so working with the community was one of the key goals this time. They are very vocal, and they know what they want."
Not that the Codemasters team was sat there with an empty bucket of ideas before the requests for features such as the safety car and a return of career mode came in.
"We got some cool stuff from them, but most of it was already fully developed and working before we even spoke to them," adds Richards. "That was cool, because it told us we were doing what the fans wanted."
Even the people asking for a career mode (more than 60% of the feedback from fans focused on this feature) could not have envisioned it being as immersive as the one featured in F1 2016. It's so good, it pains us to have to stop playing it to write about it.
"Career was the big one people wanted," says principal game designer Lee Mather. "But we didn't just want to do the career as we'd done it in the past. That wasn't going to cut it, so we wanted to make sure it was as rich and full-featured as it could be."
As for explaining it, where to start? That's up to you, because the player has the option to pick any team to kick off their 10-season career, with the frontrunners setting far more aggressive targets - and you can lose your drive if you don't live up to them. Ten seasons of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fighting an exclusive battle for the championship wouldn't be much fun, but that's where F1 2016 steps up to the plate. Welcome to the world of the Formula 1 development race.
All 11 teams are constantly updating their cars throughout the career mode, with your team's progress largely down to your performance at grands prix. This includes another big step forward for the series, with free practice becoming a vital part of the race weekend. Track acclimatisation, tyre life testing and a qualifying simulation - all jobs based on the real programmes teams work through in practice - are crucial to helping develop your car.
But the depth doesn't stop there. You can work with the R&D engineers to choose which areas of the car to improve - the chance to drive for McLaren and focus on engine development, for example.
"We wanted to allow the player to choose whichever team they wanted, but how do you balance that?" adds Richards. "If you pick Haas or Renault, you're starting off lower down, but you've got the ability to take them up the order. Then you see the big teams put loads of resources in to move back ahead.
"In 2015, if you drove a Mercedes, you won. Now you can build up a smaller team over multiple seasons and it feels like you've really achieved something. It's a long game now, you have to put time into it - it gives you a reason to keep coming back."
With the other teams working just as hard as you are the competitive order will shift significantly over the course of your career. Different teams and drivers will win world championships, which gets F1 2016 over one of the big hurdles that has held the series back recently - the fact it has to accurately represent the real performance levels of the cars. Now, that's just the starting point.
It's also not as simple as "bring an upgrade to every race" to improve your car. The development points you've earned over the weekend won't always stretch to covering the next big upgrade you've got your eye on, so while you have to wait, one of your rivals could jump back ahead. Some teams even bring major improvements to a home race, for example.
"Formula 1 is only 50% about race day, and with the career mode now you want to spend time working on the other 50%," says Mather. "The teams have so many things they have to do, so that gave us the chance to build really meaningful gameplay.
"You want to spend time working on your upgrades. We've always wanted to fill practice with important stuff because it's a massive part of F1 and finally we've given it a real purpose in the game. Casual fans might not understand why practice is important in F1, but now they will see why."
Codemasters has added so much to the career mode that there are only two major omissions left: drivers being able to switch teams, and players being able to create their own teams. Don't lay the blame for either of those being absent at Codemasters' door. All they can do is "keep asking the question" to get F1's big bosses to loosen the shackles on what is allowed under their contract.
Of the other new or returning features, the safety car and virtual safety car are a big step up from anything similar tried before. The player has full manual control, meaning maintaining pace and position either in a safety car queue, or under VSC conditions, is completely your responsibility. Keeping to that VSC delta laptime is harder than you might think.
The full-control element doesn't stop there. One of the most impressive in-race additions to the game is manual starts, which involves holding the clutch in and getting to optimum revs when the lights come on, and of course timing the release of the clutch and moderating the thottle pedal to get the perfect launch.
Not only are the player's starts far more varied now, but the same thought process has been applied to the AI, meaning there is always variation in how the other 21 cars get away from the grid. And don't expect to be able to bully your rivals out of the way on the brakes for Turn 1 anymore either - that element of F1 gameplay is definitely a thing of the past.
If you're feeling really brave, take on the manual pitlane speed challenge as well, where it is entirely up to you to get down to the speed limit before reaching the white line. It's incredibly frustrating when you get it wrong and have to serve a penalty for it.
The formation lap was revealed as a shock new element earlier in the summer, with the emphasis on getting your tyres and brakes up to temperature. This is one of the few new additions to the game that feels a bit more novelty-factor though. Once you've tried it, and the computer takes over to line you up in your grid spot, all it's really doing is delaying the start of the race. With so many other elements of the race weekend now carrying so much meaning, this one stands out less.
It's not all about new features though. In some cases, there were elements of the game that have been under the surface for years that simply weren't made obvious to the players. The tyre-life free practice test, for example, brings to the fore a tyre wear model that has long been a part of the series.
With a guide at the top of your screen indicating how well you are managing your tyres, you also get small signals when you do something that really damages them, making it clearer to the player just how much tyre life really is influenced by your driving style.
It took the arrival of new faces like Richards, who joined the team last year, to make some of the longer-serving members of the project realise a lot of these elements weren't particularly obvious to the outside world.
"When I came in I realised there were so many features that were hidden," he says. "They had put so much work into this game, so how could we surface all of that. The hardcore players knew these things were in there, but you want to get everyone else to appreciate it too."
The result is more detailed information wherever you are in the game. During a race, the on-screen display now has multiple redesigned pages to get it closer to the functionality of a modern F1 dashboard, while out of the car you are met with a wealth of data about your performance (or lack of it).
The more the Codemasters team got their teeth into piling as many features as they could into this year's game, the more obvious it became that you don't need to scratch very far beneath the surface of the real world to come up with ideas. F1 is often criticised for being too complex these days, but if you're making a game that complexity gives you a lot to work with.
"Formula 1 is this massive thing that people watch on TV, and there's so much you can do with it," adds Mather. "We've added lots of little things from the real world to enhance the game. We've taken exactly what happens in F1, and presented it in a way that hopefully everyone can understand. I would never want to dumb down an F1 game - it's not right to simplify something when you can bring people up to that level instead."
This seems a silly question to be asking in the week the latest game in this series comes out, but where do the F1 games go from here? F1 2016 marks a major shake-up, and the attitude from Codemasters, no matter how tired the people behind the game are feeling as this year's pride and joy hits the shelves, suggests feature-rich F1 gaming is here to stay.
"There is a lot of expansion to be done around F1 as a whole, not just the racing," says Mather. "Racing games don't just have to be about the on-track. You want the player to feel personally invested.
"When we had our vision for F1 2016 we were incredibly confident we were making not only a game that we loved, but one that fans would go wild for. So far the response has been amazing, and that gives the team a big boost as well.
"We've got a roadmap of what we want to do in the future, and the community's involvement can help us to reaffirm that we're doing the right thing."
Richards adds: "The community is big with any game now and you've got to go with the flow. The main thing it will come down to is people's feedback."
If F1 2016 was a result of community feedback, and that process is remaining in place for 2017, then the future looks very bright for F1 gaming.