Yes, at equivalent stage F-35 was going to be an all-singing, all-dancing, super-cruising, super-manoeuvrable, super-low cost, super-low maintenance wunderwaffe too.well, the claimed qualities of the F-35 were commercial propaganda. The reality later put things in their place.
Earlier I was trying to find the date that X-35 & X-32 mockups were made public, couldn't find the date (I think must have been same time as the contracts were made public in '96?) but did find a tidbit: X-35 demonstrator didn't even have a weapons-bay, there was a lot of chubbing up between X-35 & F-35 and that little omission was a big part of it.
On the other hand this allegedly flight capable airframe has stuff like a weapons-bay already & if its at the stage of doing ground tests the performance claims are presumably based off the achieved weights/structural solutions (or reasonably expected mitigations) rather than the pre-construction estimates so should be more likely to be correct than the latter.
Regarding the 8G limit: If its a max value its still more than the 7G which F-35 got limited to.
Has been alluded to earlier that if they've aimed for a 8G limit instead of 9G it should make for more cheaper/quicker engineering/notably lighter structure.
Alternatively (& opposite implication) it could be a 'while loaded' limit. As I understand most planes are severely limited in what kind of Gs they can pull when loaded up with ordnance, if this is specced to pull 8G loaded that might give it significantly more practical combat agility than other types.
Interesting that it doesn't have a permanent gun, just option for gunpacks in the central bay.
It saves a bunch of permanent weight, structure & a whole heap of performance validation stuff (I've lost track on whether or not F-35 can actually shoot its gun, last I'd heard the required work was removed from the development plans).
I think for a fighter we really have got to an era where guns aren't really needed.