This is DiRT 4

hammering-a-subaru-across-the-outbackWe knew Codemasters were building something behind the scenes, we just weren’t sure when it would see the light of day. After the unexpected success of their internal side project DiRT Rally – an uncompromising rally simulator heavily inspired by the sim racing cult classic Richard Burns Rally – Codemasters have announced the fourth entry in their flagship off-road franchise that once sported the Colin McRae namesake many years ago. Yes, DiRT 4 is happening.

There are both reasons to get excited about the game, and reasons to be skeptical. The main line of DiRT games churned out by Codemasters have always received widespread critical acclaim for being packed full of content and features while exhibiting impressive graphics, but sim racers have often turned up their collective noses at the title for relatively short point-to-point rally stages, and a flashy festival-like atmosphere aimed primarily at a casual audience. In some instances, the games could feel as if they were an elaborate advertisement for Monster Energy – a drastic departure from the unlicensed WRC offerings of the early 2000’s which helped Codemasters achieve worldwide recognition.

Yes, DiRT Rally was a hardcore variant aimed at a very specific subset of fans, but I can’t imagine a situation where Codemasters will continue on with this simulation-centric approach for a mass-market release. Unless you owned an elaborate racing wheel setup, very few people could even stay on the track in DiRT Rally, and for a main franchise release, that’s not something that’s going to sell very well.

416142-dirt-2-windows-screenshot-the-main-menu-of-the-game-is-integratedHowever, there is genuine hope for what Codemasters plan to bring to the market in time for a June release. According to the reveal post on the official Codemasters blog, DiRT 4 will ship with an innovative rally stage generation tool that supposedly allows for an unlimited number of tracks in the game, using a system that sounds like a cross between V-Rally 2’s stage creation tool, and the track editor in Gran Turismo 5. So even if the game’s physics have been simplified for consumption by a general audience – as opposed to the diehards who flocked to DiRT Rally – you won’t exactly be running out of things to do.

“DiRT 4 features a game-changing system called Your Stage; an innovative rally route creation tool that allows you to produce an almost-infinite number of unique stages at the press of a button. You choose your location and set the route parameters, then Your Stage does the hard work to create a unique rally stage that you can race, share with your friends, and then challenge them to beat your time. Your Stage allows experienced rally players to create longer, more technical routes, whilst newcomers can create simpler shorter routes as they hone their skills.”

This is a major addition to the series, as the most common complaint surrounding any rally title of the past twenty years is undoubtedly the lack of stage variety. Part of the fun that comes with purchasing a rally title is being forced to drive flat-out into the unknown, and the initial fear and challenge that comes with sitting down with DiRT Rally or Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo for the very first time and attempting to post competitive laps quickly diminishes once you’ve learned the general layouts of each stage. Codemasters are attempting to rectify this exact problem with what they’re calling Your Stage, though we have no idea how this tool will work in execution – only that it exists, and you use basic parameters to churn something out. If you want a preview of what this may look like in action, I’d suggest looking up videos of V-Rally 2’s track editor for the Sega Dreamcast, or rally racing in Gran Turismo 5. It’s not precisely how Your Stage will work in DiRT 4, but it’s a start.

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of rally racing, that’s for sure. No major developer has implemented a feature this ambitious in a racing game for quite some time, so we’re all looking forward to seeing how it’ll turn out – and the best part is that we don’t have to wait very long. DiRT 4 is scheduled for a June 2017 release, so we’ll be playing it just as summer rolls around.

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38 thoughts on “This is DiRT 4

        1. Austin was confirmed as being a simcade fan a long time ago, his youtube its full of clips of him playing playstation 4 games 😂

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            1. Then what are you doing here if we only have unfinished crappy sims. Hmm.. my guess is that you’re still playing the unfinished crappy sims rather than the polished simcades. So your theory of polished simcades > unfinished crappy sims doesn’t hold true. Or are you saying there are no polished simcades either so that’s why you’re playing unfinished crappy sims?

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              1. I play both actually, I can enjoy something polished and full of content like Forza, but if I want more realistic, challenging driving, I play rFactor 2 which sadly doesn’t feel like a finished product. As far as the overall package goes, the former is the better quality software, as that’s why I simply “prefer” it.

                I’m here because I got tired of the sugar-coated news of sites like VirtualR.

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                1. lol but you still get sugar-coated news here, depending on the mood of the author. Or you get negative news also depending on the author’s interest. At least virtualr news are straight to the point (traditional news) and they don’t try to make their opinion sound like news, don’t try to change public opinion with manipulation, they don’t speculate, don’t make scandals, they don’t judge. And the same goes for bsimracing.

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                  1. You’re pretty much right here that I really wanted “opinions”, yet of course I don’t 100% trust anything the author of this blog says, I use my own judgement. Traditional, unbiased news rarely tell me negative aspects of rFactor 2 for example, so yeah. I can somewhat relate to small frustrations with the flaws that annoy me in those sim games.

                    As for scandals, like, really? This is not showbiz or politics. Also, I still can’t believe people take that Brick Rigs article so seriously (was that what you mean by the sugar-coated stuff here?)

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                    1. Is pretty bad if anyone here is looking for opinions on whether they should like a sim or not. Even if this blog makes you a list of negative aspects of rfactor2, can you really trust it to the point where you’re not going to play the game? If people really trusted and followed what this blog said all sims would be deserted (in game and discussion boards). The reality is that is just one person saying things from his perspective like the many others who say things from their perspective in the forums. The only option left is you going by your preferences and your gut. But never stop trying something only because of what someone said (talking about entertainment), otherwise no one would see any film if everyone followed that 1/10 review.

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  1. Depending on how in-depth that “Your Stage” thing is I’ll have to eat my words about Codemasters never giving proper tools to the players.

    The announcement email really pissed me off. They talk about “off-road racing” and “getting air in a truck” without even mentioning the word rally. It’s good to see that there’s still hope in the form of an option for proper simulation physics and user created content..

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  2. I’m still waiting for a Grid successor but with quasi-realistic physics from the F1 games. Not that Autosport nonsense, where the physics looked like friggin’ Ridge Racer.

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  3. From their descriptions (and people who’ve played it on the forums), it sounds like some sliders to control the length/complexity of the stages, rather than V-Rally 2’s track builder.

    This would make it more like Racecraft, I guess.

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  4. More bad news: there will be fewer locations in Dirt 4 than in Dirt Rally.

    “Five rally places with millions of routes: Australia, Spain, Michigan, Sweden and Wales”

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    1. Dont worry about that.This time DLC will be on the cards.Plus if each location has 3 unique stages each,thats more than DR’s count (2 unique stages x 6 countries).

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      1. I will have to live for millions of years to race on millions of routes. So Codemasters is basically saying we will have infinite different routes for dirt 4.

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      2. edit: well they did say near infinite routes, but I ain’t got no time to play them all 🙂

        “Dirt 4 sports an all-new system called Your Stage; an innovative rally route creation tool that allows you to produce a near infinite number of unique stages at the touch of a button. Choosing your location and setting the route parameters , Your Stage does the hard work to create a unique rally stage that you can race, share with your friends and then challenge them to beat your time.

        “Your Stage allows experienced rally players to create longer, more technical routes, whilst newcomers can create simpler shorter routes as they hone their skills.”

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        1. Unless this tool (be it in-software as within the game or external as a separate .exe) is anything like BTB that we used for over a decade to create tracks in rF/GTR2/GTL/RBR, “millions of stages” still means virtually nothing.

          Because unless they give the players the possibility to handcraft the entire landscape (mountains, side objects such as trees, buildings, etc and all that sort of things) aswell as the road, I don’t see how it’s going to work in a pre-built scenario.

          If, for instance, you give players a total sandbox mode like in TrackMania where you have total freedom, then the results might be great. If not, it’s going to be a shared preset for everything and just different roads to be placed around like in the old Rally Trophy. Each “setting” had something like 10 stages but it was always the same 2 trees, 1 building and 1 mountain for everything, just different textures.

          Until they’ll show footage of this track building thing in action, I’ll remain skeptical. Because this is exactly the same PR bullshit Hello Games thrown around with NMS. And that really did turn out well, didn’t it?

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          1. I imagine is going to be more like racecraft track generation and not a software track builder. But only speculation, we’ll have to wait until before or after the game is released to see how it is.

            However they made a note that experienced rally players will be able to create more advanced routes, in difficulty (“technical routes”) and length.

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  5. Dirt 4 will have a more advanced and refined “Sim” handling, a la improved DR physics, and a more general “arcade” handling setting a la improved D3.

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  6. Petter Solberg (1x WRC champion, 2x WRX champion and 1x WRX runner-up) posted a small clip on his FB page of what he claims is Dirt 4 in action. He also stated that he and Kris Meeke (factory Citroen WRC driver) are helping with the physics.

    As much as I love Petter, we’ve learned from recent past that professional drivers’ feedback is just PR bullshit developers shove down their audience to create hype.

    https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FPetterSolbergWRC%2Fvideos%2F10155064015697922%2F&show_text=1&width=560

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    1. Oh, I can imagine their cooperation…

      Kris Meeke: Oh my god! It’s so awesome! There is my car in the game! I can see raindrops on windshield and spectators are waving on me! Skies are so realistic! This is definitely the ultimate simulator!
      Codemasters: Thanks, you can go now.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Except that, going by what his hands and feet are doing in that short cut of a cell-phone selfie, his subtitle/description actually kind-of matches what is going on inside that TV…

      …we’ll have to see what they bring to the table, when they release it in June. I have next to no problems with another fun-oriented racer that happens to allow for some genuinely simulation-grade driving-experience. As long as it is not a console-exclusive SCAM-type product trying to shove an expensive, superfluous brick up your behind.

      Would have not expected them to launch the next title this early, anyway. That said, I did hope for a more focused Dirt Rally Sequel – and the possible adoption of more open development-platforms like Vulkan, subsequently easing the transition towards targeting the more open platforms in addition to the traditional Windows black-box, not requiring everyone to get hooked on the privacy-invading and almost dysfunctional system that is Win 10 these days.

      They told us how difficult Dirt Rally got due to engine-restrains and limits thereof. Would have been a good time for something new and modern, thereby laying the foundation for it to make it run (well) on e.g. a modern linux-distro or two and last-but-not-least keeping previous (still supported) versions of Windows relevant for the time being.
      Again, let’s wait what it will be.

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  7. Magnetic Fields did racing games with a stage generator literally 20/25 years ago, with Lotus III (1992) and International Rally Championship (1997)

    this is also a cheap way for getting out of modelling real rally stages – which MF actually did with Rally Championship 2000 (1999)

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