DiRT 4’s Suspicious Lack of Content

I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t been counting down the days until the launch of DiRT 4, though in my journey around the internet to consume every last piece of preview media centering around the resurgence of Codemasters’ beloved off-road series, one aspect has stuck out to me like a sore thumb; one that could eventually lead to the game’s downfall if not rectified in the appropriate fashion.

While Codemasters are said to be dropping the dudebro mentality of the previous games in the series in favor a significantly more serious vibe like the one seen in DiRT Rally – albeit more fleshed-out with proper career mode progression elements, team management tasks, and other intricate moving parts – the actual list of content is scarily underwhelming, just like in DiRT Rally. Yes, we’re getting the ability to create your own rally team, hire mechanics, design your livery, sign sponsors, and compete on lengthy point to point stages created by an in-game algorithm to ensure you’re always kept on your feet and have a slew of new roads to travel, but there’s an equal number of shortcomings that could potentially serve to detract from this otherwise phenomenal experience.

The official website lists just five environments available to select from in DiRT 4, two of which return from the previous game that we’ve all played to death already. Though Spain, Australia, and Michigan will be new additions to the hardcore Codemasters universe, we’ll be trekking through familiar territory in Wales and Sweden. Planet earth only has so many countries capable of hosting a WRC-style event, and we’ll obviously not be blasting through stages in Hawaii or Madagascar anytime soon, but it’s a bit underwhelming to see only three new environments on the rallying side of things, and a mere five rally environments total. Without the official WRC license, DiRT 4 will most likely employ the use of a fictional world rally series, the realism of which will certainly be stretched when sim racers start to reach the upper echelons of the game’s mammoth career mode and the highest level rally season is over almost as quickly as it started.

Look, I understand the automatically generated stages will throw an extra layer of diversity in the experience so maybe it won’t be all that bad, but people are going to get tired looking at the same old Australian Outback very quickly if there are only four other environment options. Here’s to hoping Codemasters have several additional landscapes planned as downloadable content, because what world rally championship only has five rounds?

Things are equally dire on the rallycross front, as the official site lists just six rallycross circuits available at launch in DiRT 4, three of which are returning from DiRT Rally. Unlike traditional tarmac circuits, rallycross tracks are incredibly brief affairs and can be memorized in just a few heats, meaning those who own DiRT Rally have already seen half the rallycross content in DiRT 4, and they haven’t even played the game yet.

It would have been a perfect opportunity for Codemasters to revive the several creative rallycross locations seen in DiRT 2 and DiRT 3 for a vast selection of content out of the box, justifying the grind of saving up for a top class rallycross supercar – because the length of the season would take you on a globe-hopping campaign spanning ten or eleven circuits once you’re finally at the top tier – but instead it looks as if rallycross will once again be this awkward sort-of-coherent diversion where you bust your ass to finally buy a Ford Fiesta, and once it’s in your garage, you’ve exhausted all of the rallycross tracks in the game and are unwilling to touch the mode again.

Landrush arguably suffers the most, however, as we’re told only three tracks – situated in California, Nevada, and Mexico – will be available. Using the dirty Ridge Racer style technique of alternate layouts at one location, we’ll probably have six tracks to select from, but again, we’re looking at so few tracks in general, players might become tired of the entire mode and have no desire to turn another lap after grinding to save for a new truck. Licenses are a genuine pain in the ass so I fully understand if you have to rely primarily on fantasy circuits, but once more I have to ask why tracks weren’t recycled and updated from the previous two DiRT games; if you can see everything an entire discipline has to offer within five minutes of track time, why as a developer would you not make an effort to change that?

The more locations you add, the more relevant online leagues will become. Sure, everyone will undoubtedly race to start their own private online championships among their friends with the built in league functionality, but having a large selection of tracks ensures these leagues will run for five, six, or even seven seasons, instead of just being active for the first month of the game’s launch, and then going on an indefinite hiatus until some YouTube personality starts one up again in a year’s time for a laugh with his subscribers.

Leaked vehicle class screens also indicate the game’s lack of diversity in content stretches beyond circuits and environments. Though the total number of cars in DiRT 4 is said to eclipse over 50 – a pretty good number for any rally game – we have to remember that the game is essentially split into three portions; rally, landrush, and rallycross, so only a portion of that 50 will be purpose built rally cars. Initial reports from footage taken by PlayStation Access sometimes show just two or three cars per rally class, with members of the official DiRT subreddit noting certain classes have indeed seen a reduction in size since DiRT Rally. The 2000cc class will awkwardly pair two 2001 WRC entries against a monster Ford Focus from 2007 now that the Citroen C4 of Sebastien Loeb appears to have been removed, while the highly popular N4 production class is still just two brand new cars despite Rally America grids sporting several years and models of Subaru’s, Ford’s, and Mitsubishi’s. This would have been cool to see in DiRT 4, it was in past iterations of DiRT and we all greatly appreciated the diversity, but unfortunately this practice has not returned.

What this means from an end user standpoint, is that there’s no excitement in saving up to purchase a car in a faster class and exploring what options you have available, because your choices are absurdly limited. Part of what made earlier DiRT games fun is that the various rally classes included all sorts of entries from Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and even Pontiac when they still existed, including several models from each manufacturer, leading to very diverse and exciting grids that offered a car for every driving style. Taking this element away creates a very stale Communist Poland-like game world, in which offline progression and online dick-waving really isn’t something to look forward to since everybody will share the exact same experience, corralled into buying the exact same car at the exact same point in the game.

Will the lack of content cripple DiRT 4? Possibly. I think what’s going to happen is that people will be blown away by the sheer quality of the title, but everyone will suspiciously be dropping it much quicker than anticipated if Codemasters do not plan a heavy Stream of post-release downloadable content. Will it score 9’s and 10’s, and go down as Codemasters knocking it out of the park, winning several Racing Game of the Year awards? Most likely, but without Codemasters breathing life into the title, I can see a situation where everybody talks about how great DiRT 4 was, only to have abandoned it by the end of the summer.

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37 thoughts on “DiRT 4’s Suspicious Lack of Content

  1. Are you seriously being so lazy as to source an article from info on Wikipedia?
    Was the source listed in the citations of the wiki page codemasters because if it wasn’t this site has hit it’s 10th new low since it became the project cars 2 blog.
    It’s getting to a point where I only check my RSS feed for the site once a week, I think the next step is viewing the site via archives then just not at all.
    What a shame… This could have been easily avoided had you just asked but instead we get a whiff of Ian bells wrinkled old balls Everytime a page here finishes loading.

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  2. I am also counting down the days James , I thoroughly enjoyed Dirt , for me it was the best racing title of last year .

    I do see your point with lack of content and why all of dirts content hasn’t made it in is anyone guess .

    The track generator if it works correctly and isn’t lacking in surrounding track features will truly make a difference in the long Gevity of the title for some time , surely they are working on DLC this time around as dirt was a testing ground for them .

    This is one game I will pay the extra couple of dollars for pre – order content as I know I will get plenty of enjoyment from the title for at least few months if not more .

    Super keen to get hold of it as things have dried up on the old ps4 pro when it comes to racing titles.

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      1. I get the feeling that the only reason this guy is calling rallycross “millennial piece of crap content” is because Ken Block is in this year’s WRX lineup.

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      2. See homosex has been around for centuries but it only became popular recently. See where I’m going?
        Landrush and rally cross have never been popular before video games made them popular. They never created a worldwide heroes like WRC or F1 did.

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  3. Jesus I had to look that one up to ! If anything I am getting a education coming here .

    Millennials

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    Generations

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    Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X (mostly in western countries). There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years. Millennials, who are generally the children of baby boomers and older Gen Xers, are sometimes referred to as “Echo Boomers” due to a major surge in birth rates in the 1980s and 1990s. The 20th-century trend toward smaller families in developed countries continued, however, so the relative impact of the “baby boom echo” was generally less pronounced than the original post–World War II boom.

    Millennial characteristics vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions. However, the generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies. In most parts of the world, their upbringing was marked by an increase in a liberal approach to politics and economics; the effects of this environment are disputed. The Great Recession has had a major impact on this generation because it has caused historically high levels of unemployment among young people, and has led to speculation about possible long-term economic and social damage to this generation.

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    1. Every older generations blame the newer generations. Who the fuck educated the newer generations? They are a reflection of how much you cared.

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  4. Thanks James, that’s exactly what I was thinking. You should also mention the vehicle class including 2011-2016 World Rally Cars which had four cars in DiRT Rally (VW Polo, Mini, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai i20) and is now completely gone. This is actually what annoys me the most because now we haven’t any top spec cars in DiRT 4. It’s also crazy because the WRC changed their reglement heavily before this season so the old cars from 2011-2016 should be much more easy to license now.

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    1. No, all WRC licenses are now completely locked down by Klyotonn’s official WRC series of games, that’s why they were removed.

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      1. Bullshit, there are official WRC games for ages and it was always possible to bring WRC into other games. By the way the cars I’m taking about probably won’t be playable in WRC 7 because they are outdated. I’m not talking about that bad-ass looking Group B-like cars introduced this season.

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        1. Times change. Bigben and Klyotonn now hold the WRC license exclusively, and Codemasters themselves have stated that WRC will no longer give out licenses to use their cars or stages, no matter how old or outdated they are.

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    2. Sadly what you think *should* be happening is not the same as what actually *is* happening. One only has to read a few developer posts on the official forums to see the lengths the developers have to go for a single license. Pretty much anything this article complains about can be answered by “couldn’t get license anymore”. Or, alternatively, “the licensing demands were so ridiculous that it was more reasonable to just leave it out completely”.

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  5. DIRT 4 is worthless trash with no simulation value, no one will be spending time on these shitmasters games once our Lord and Saviour Ian Bell unleashes Project Cars 2.

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  6. One more problem is that the game will likely have the same car+track combination restrictions as Codies’ previous games, meaning that you can’t take a rallycross machine onto a rally stage or a rally car into a Landrush event for example. Even if it’s not realistic, having that freedom would give the game a fair bit of replay value at almost zero development cost.

    This was a big disappointment in DiRT Rally especially because this feature was confirmed by a Codemasters dev shortly after the Pikes Peak update two years ago, but it never made it into the game.

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  7. Hmmm I dunno whats more suspicious… a non SMS developed title that can generate an infinite amount of content getting the article about its “Suspicious Lack of Content” or the clapping sound of Ian Bells balls against your arse as he rams himself in and out of you at a very fast pace?

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  8. Rally
    Historic Rally H1 (FWD) (2/2):

    Mini Cooper (Confirmed here)
    Lancia Fulvia (Confirmed here)

    Historic Rally H2 (FWD) (1/1):

    Peugeot 205 GTi (Confirmed here)

    Historic Rally H2 (RWD) (4/4):

    Alpine A110 (Confirmed here)
    Fiat 131 (Confirmed here)
    Ford Mk.2 Escort (Confirmed here)
    Opel Kadett GT/E (Confirmed here)

    Historic Rally H3 (RWD) (5/5):

    BMW E30 M3 (Confirmed here)
    Ford Sierra RS Cosworth (Confirmed here)
    Lancia Stratos (Confirmed here)
    Opel Ascona 400 (Confirmed here)
    Renault 5 Turbo (Confirmed here)

    Historic Rally Group B (RWD) (2/2):

    Lancia 037 Evo 2 (Confirmed here)
    Opel Manta 400 (Confirmed here)

    Historic Rally Group B (4WD) (5/5):

    Audi Sport quattro E2 (Confirmed here)
    Ford RS200 (Confirmed here)
    Lancia Delta S4 (Confirmed here)
    MG Metro 6R4 (Confirmed here)
    Peugeot 205 T16 (Confirmed here)

    Modern Rally Group A (4/4):

    Ford Escort RS Cosworth (Confirmed here)
    Lancia Delta Integrale (Confirmed here)
    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI (Confirmed here)
    Subaru Impreza WRX STi (Confirmed here)

    Modern Rally F2 Kit Car (2/2):

    Peugeot 306 Maxi (Confirmed here)
    Seat Ibiza F2 (Confirmed here)

    Modern Rally R2 (2/2):

    Ford Fiesta R2 (Confirmed here)
    Opel Adam (Confirmed here)

    Modern Rally NR4/R4 (2/2):

    Subaru WRX STI NR4 (Confirmed here)
    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (Confirmed here)

    Modern Rally R5 (4/4):

    Ford Fiesta R5 (Confirmed here)
    Hyundai i20 R5 (Confirmed here) (Pre-order only)
    Mitsubishi Space Star R5 (Confirmed here)
    Peugeot 208 R5 (Confirmed here)

    Modern Rally Up to 2000cc (3/3):

    2001 Ford Focus WRC (Confirmed here)
    2007 Ford Focus WRC (Confirmed here)
    2001 Subaru Impreza S7 WRC (Confirmed here)

    Rallycross

    Supercars (7/7):

    Citroen DS3 4×4 T16 (Confirmed here)
    Ford Fiesta (Confirmed here)
    Ford Focus RS RX (Confirmed here)
    MINI Countryman 4×4 T16 (Confirmed here)
    Peugeot 208 4×4 T16 (Confirmed here)
    Seat Ibiza 4×4 T16 (Confirmed here)
    Volkswagen Polo 4×4 T16 (Confirmed here)

    RX Lites (1/1):

    OMSE RX Lite (Confirmed here)

    Group B (4/4):

    Ford RS200 Evolution (Confirmed here)
    Lancia Delta S4 Rallycross (Confirmed here)
    MG Metro 6R4 Rallycross (Confirmed here)
    Peugeot 205 T16 Rallycross (Confirmed here)

    Super 1600 (3/3):

    Opel Corsa S1600 (Confirmed here)
    Renault Clio S1600 (Confirmed here)
    Volkswagen Polo S1600 (Confirmed here)

    Crosskarts (1/1):

    Speedcar Xtrem (Confirmed here)

    Landrush

    Landrush Truck (RWD) (1/1):

    Jackson Pro-Truck 2 (Confirmed here)

    Landrush Truck (4WD) (1/1):

    Jackson Pro-Truck 4 (Confirmed here)

    Landrush Buggy (1/1):

    Larock 2XR Buggy (Confirmed here)

    Confirmed Rally Cars: 35 (+1 for pre-order)
    Confirmed Rallycross Cars: 16
    Confirmed Landrush Cars: 3
    Total Confirmed Cars: 54 (55 with pre-order)

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  9. Since DiRT Rally:

    Removed cars:

    Audi Sport quattro S1 Pikes Peak
    Austin Mini Rallycross
    Citroën C4 WRC
    Ford Fiesta RS WRC
    Hyundai i20 WRC
    MINI JCW WRC
    Peugeot 205 T16 Pikes Peak
    Peugeot 207 S1600
    Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
    Peugeot 405 T16 Pikes Peak
    Subaru Impreza WRX STi GV Rallycross
    Subaru Impreza WRC GH
    Volkswagen Polo R WRC

    New cars:

    Ford Fiesta R2
    Ford Fiesta R5
    Ford Focus RS RX
    Ford RS200 Rallycross
    Hyundai i20 R5 (Pre-order only)
    Lancia Delta S4 Rallycross
    MG Metro 6R4 Rallycross
    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI
    Mitsubishi R5
    OMSE Supercar Lite
    Opel Adam R2
    Opel Ascona 400
    Peugeot 205 GTI
    Peugeot 205 T16 Rallycross
    Peugeot 208 T16 R5
    Subaru WRX STi NR4
    Volkswagen Polo S1600

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  10. The main design issue is trying to make all countries distinct and unique from each other while having very similar stages within a rally – essentially making “worlds” like in a Nintendo game. This makes each rally much more repetitive, which in turn robs the motivation of adding more road length to each rally. And with this approach it’s much less likely to see two similar rallies with more subtle differences between them. Not to mention the affect on other aspects of the game, like not bothering with implementing a tire strategy element.

    The Monte Carlo rally in the first Colin McRae game is a lot more varied than in Dirt Rally – you get icy snow, as well as dry tarmac; tight mountain roads, as well as flatter, more open or forested sections – which actually is a more faithful depiction of the real Monte Carlo rally’s variety of conditions. And you get the equally faithful problem of tire choice for the rally – dry, wet and studded tires are all valid choices because the conditions change a lot between service areas.

    Another comparison – Wales (DR) vs United Kingdom (CMR1). In the latter you get a mix of every environmental condition the game has, and yet it doesn’t feel out of place. in Dirt Rally you get only either dry gravel or slightly damp gravel, all the way past the same looking trees.

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