DiRT ReTURNS

Upon the news of rally legend Colin McRae’s untimely demise, the immediate response by the internet, aside from tasteless gags, was to wonder what would happen to next instalment of the revered Codemasters racing series that had borne the dour chap’s name for so long. Now we know. DiRT 2 will remain Colinised after all. Hooray?

Though I was impressed by it, I didn’t actually like DiRT all that much, finding it a bit too austere for my tastes. But its engine was the foundation for the genuinely excellent GRID, so hopefully there’s some reflexive improvement to the sequel based on lessons learned. What they are hinting at is some element of the fantastical – “we’ll be throwing off some of the shackles and constraints that real-world rallying has to abide by.” Spooks. Full press release and Codemaster’s tip o’the hat to the late McRae below. Oh – and the shot above is a ‘target render’, so don’t gush uncontrollably just yet.

Thursday 20th November/… Codemasters® today announced that Colin McRae: DiRT™2, the sequel to the acclaimed best-selling off-road racer of 2007, is now in development at Codemasters Studios for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft® and Games For Windows® LIVE with further editions for Wii™, Nintendo DS™ and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system due for simultaneous release in 2009.

The announcement marks confirmation that the game will be headlined by Colin McRae, honouring the life of the rally legend. Colin McRae, who consulted on the series for over ten years, tragically died in a helicopter accident in September 2007. The decision to continue the famous series bearing his name was made jointly between the McRae family and Codemasters.

“Colin McRae was all about the speed, the excitement and the entertainment of rally driving. Even when we first worked with him over ten years ago, he captured a freedom and a spirit that enthralled rally fans.” said Gavin Raeburn, senior executive producer at Codemasters Studios. “Later his showmanship shone through in events such as the X-games, the Dakar Rally and the Race of Champions. He could do things with a car that no one else would and that’s where we’re taking the series with new events at the extreme edge of rally and autosport. It will be a great tribute to an incredible champion.”

Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will feature a roster of contemporary off-road events, taking players to the most diverse and challenging real-world environments. This World Tour will have players competing in aggressive multi-car and intense solo races at extraordinary new locations, from canyon racing and jungle trails to city stadium-based events.

“Rally has attracted new stars and a new style that makes it more vibrant and exciting than ever before; it’s right up there as a premium extreme sport, attracting fresh crowds and a new confident attitude,” said Raeburn.

“Colin McRae: DiRT 2 mirrors this new, exciting direction and, in a way, we’ll be throwing off some of the shackles and constraints that real-world rallying has to abide by. We’re pitching players against the most spectacular and dangerous environments in the real world.”

To be powered by the third generation of the EGO™ Engine’s award-winning racing game technology, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will benefit from tuned-up car-handling physics system and new damage engine effects. It will also showcase a spectacular new level of visual fidelity, with cars and tracks twice as detailed as those seen in Race Driver: GRID.

Colin McRae: DiRT 2’s garage will house a best-in-class collection of officially licensed rally cars and off-road vehicles, specifically selected to deliver aggressive and fast paced racing. Covering seven vehicle classes, players will be given the keys to powerful vehicles right from the off. In Colin McRae: DiRT 2 the opening drive is the Group N Subaru; essentially making the ultimate car from the original game the starting point in the sequel and the rides just get even more impressive.

In addition to the World Tour, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will come complete with full online functionality that will be core to the overall experience, with head-to-head competitive online play and new social features to engage the racing community. Prepare for mud, gravel, dust and dirt too in Colin McRae: DiRT 2, coming 2009. Sign up for the drive of your life at www.codemasters.com/dirt2.

21 Comments

  1. AndrewC says:

    I had absolutely no problem with the dudification of the co-driver in DIRT, but surely the only thing the Colin McRae name added to the game was the dourness of the co-driver?

    There was a Jowood rally game ages ago (probably, like 5 years ago) that had a co-driver who would relentlessly take the piss if you did badly. I liked that.

    But the promises of more xtreem environments suggests a further move towards dudification.

    The same slickness of GRID’s graphics engine (I remember DIRT not really running that well), the rewind feature and just the option for a grumpy co driver and this will be fun enough. Not revolutionary, but fun.

    I’d like to see something that makes the genre exciting in the way Portal did to puzzle games or Half life did to FPSs, but what would it be? Buggered if I know.

  2. Ginger Yellow says:

    “I’d like to see something that makes the genre exciting in the way Portal did to puzzle games or Half life did to FPSs, but what would it be? ”

    Burnout Paradise?

  3. manintheshack says:

    Um, aren’t they making FUEL, the open-worldy drive-em-up? That looks to be reasonably groundbreaking (If there was ever such a term)

  4. AndrewC says:

    I grew to hate that game so much, with it being a redbull and vodka simulator rather than a racing game. The whole thing felt spastic and the actual racing (like opponents, racing line and that) was non-existant. Drop in multiplayer was impressive but rendered irrelevant but GTAIV which had cars AND bazookas.

    No-one I know who has played it agrees with me. They all love it. This makes me a massive curmudgeon apparently.

    The no restart thing, though. A dose of realism in an otherwise entirely daft game world? Bad. Wrong. Booooo.

  5. Jamie says:

    I really enjoyed both DiRT and GRiD, the graphics and presentation on both games was superb (minus some frame rate niggles) and the driving on both was kind of like arcade ‘realism’, which was great.

  6. Gladman says:

    “Thought I was impressed by it…”
    ——

    So I guess this means the family is still getting royalties then?

  7. nabeel says:

    I really liked the demo of GRiD, and may check it out proper in a quieter month. I’m not so interested in the DiRT games.

    nabeel

  8. JonFitt says:

    Oh no. I’m sad now. News of his untimely demise didn’t reach the US.

    Please let me know if any other British sporting heroes die tragically.

    How’s George Best, still staying off the drink I hope?

    |
    |
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    PS that last one’s a joke in poor taste.

  9. Schmung says:

    I love rally games, but I hated the original Dirt. The handling was all floaty and wrong. Hopefully this will be a better effort – though the XTREME-y-ness of it is worrying.

  10. Ed says:

    Codemasters intend to start developing Dirt and GRID simultaneously, so we should see lots more of both…

  11. Heliocentric says:

    DiRT
    GRID
    FUEL

    TITS? Oh, wait that’s need for speed.

  12. Hi says:

    Screw that extreme sports shit. The Colin McRae-game we really love is 2.0, so why can’t they use all this modern technowizardry to make something like that again? To me that press release reads like this “real rally fans need not apply”. I mean, that’s what they’re saying. If you like proper rallying, WRC-style, you’re out of luck because the sport has suddenly evolved away from that now, according to Codemasters.

  13. Heliocentric says:

    Colin is dead, and Ubisoft owns the rights to tom Clancy. Don’t expect either of them to be treated with respect by the publishers.

  14. JonFitt says:

    Don’t put Colin in the same boat as Clancy, at least he drove his own car. You didn’t see:

    Colin McRae/ Nicky Grist Subaru 14:36 (Driven by Will Ferrell)

    The “Tom Clancy Brand” deserves as much respect as any other heavily milked done-to-death franchise.

    Anyway, OT.

  15. Heliocentric says:

    I choose to believe Clancy genuinely killed people at some point maybe choking them to death silently and then dropping the body onto another guard from 2 floors up before taking out a third guard with a thrown beer bottle. Otherwise why did they write it into splinter cell? Wait… that wasn’t a cut scene.

  16. malkav11 says:

    I was really hoping the “throwing off the shackles and constraints of reality” would involve vampires. Or possibly robots.

  17. Duoae says:

    “we’ll be throwing off some of the shackles and constraints that real-world rallying has to abide by.”

    Any more fantastical and we’ll be getting something along the lines of a Sonic team racing game :/

    @Hi.
    The Colin McRae-game we really love is 2.0, so why can’t they use all this modern technowizardry to make something like that again?

    You’re not joking! I thought i was the only one who loved the features and play style of CM2. Why did they drop hot seat play? Being able to locally switch between players on the PC and compete through the whole rally was a great feature and why did they feel the need to add in all the crappy other ‘sports’ to Dirt?

    Unfortunately i can’t really comment on the handling as the only time i got to play the game was on a demo PC in PC world when the staff weren’t watching – from that i thought that the co-driver wasn’t so bad…. though the presentation and amount of levels of menu you had to go through to get to something in the game even outdoes the NXE for 360. Flashy but little substance.
    Oh and i did buy the game…. it just refused to run on my dad’s X2 3800+, gf7800 512MB with 2 GB RAM. I’d get through to the game and would try and start a race but the thing would just crash and hang every time and none of the patches or anything could fix this…. :(
    I couldn’t get the game to run at a reasonable frame rate on my PC so it’s currently sitting on my shelf like the useless piece of junk that it is.

  18. silencer says:

    I bought DiRT and wanted to return it after 10 min of playing. Damn you open-box-pc-game-no-return policies.

    I’m with Schmung, the controls felt all wierd and the physics didn’t really make sense. It was also near impossible to play with a wheel because the controls would flip from “not turning at all” to “you just did an instant 180 (and backed into a tree)” with no warning. I finally finished it with a 360 controller, but I still wish I could have gotten my money back.

  19. Heliocentric says:

    The game shipped with a demo available.

    I played the dirt demo thought it was pretty but crap.

    If you’ll buy the game without trying the demo you can only blame yourself.

    I still can’t pin down why i loved grid so much. I think that it came with a nice multiplayer experience, bumping cars that block you and making them spin out is sweet when its another person. I still need a nice racing wheel. I’m too poor for my ideal wheel atm.

  20. silencer says:

    If you’ll buy the game without trying the demo you can only blame yourself.

    True, but I still wanted my money back. To be fair, the Escudo/Tacoma on the full Pikes Peak track was quite fun.

    I did like Grid better though (GrID?). It was reasonably fun for an arcade game, but it was so hard to play though without any sort of look ahead. That really killed it for me.

  21. Caleb says:

    I want another Richard Burns Rally!

    Colin McRae got more and more unrealistic and ultimately became DiRT. I enjoyed dirt for what it was, but it was unrealistic, and VERY floaty on the controls.

    Gran Turismo doesn’t really have Rally anymore, Rallisport Challenge doesn’t get made anymore….and everyone else just wants to simulate F1, WTCC, STC, and GTR. If only simbin made a rally game.

    But I look forward to DiRT 2 anyways. Hard to get a good racing game on the PC that isn’t a super simulator.