Codies Talk “Balance” For Dirt 3

Dirt 3 is going to have a good balance between arcade accessibility and realism, say Codemasters, as they unveil the latest adventure in offroad antics in this early developer diary (posted below, obviously). The racing game, which is due to turn up some time next year, also seems to feature time travel, as one of the races will be “a Mini Cooper in the 1960s”. It’s also going to shift the focus back more towards classic rally, compared to Dirt 2, which can only be a good thing for those of us who are fans of sending nightmare versions of normal cars hurtling down roads made of leaves and optimism.


  1. AndrewC says:

    But but but! Dirt 2 only came out last autumn!

    And was half price before last Christmas!

    And we still don’t have GRID 2!

    But I suppose an update with loads of new content, and loads of new rally content, is cool enough. It’s just not, you know, *cool* enough.

    I really like the Codemasters racing games.

    • Monchberter says:

      In an ideal world, Codies would release a solid lobby and career mode that would tie all 3 of their franchises together into one huge gleaming racing spectacle.

      F1GridDirt anyone?

  2. jeremypeel says:

    Looks likes a lot of fun, I have to say.

    Does anyone have much experience with the previous Dirt games? What’re they like?

    • Baboonanza says:

      Dirt 2 was generally a lot of fun. My main issues were with a couple of the ‘modes’ forcing you to drive vehicles with atrocious handling (fucking buggies!) and the whole ‘eXtreme!’ wrapping they put around the actual game. The actual driving was actually pretty good (I prefer it a bit more arcady than sim-y), particularly the rallying and saloon racing.

    • boab says:

      was great fun, but i got pretty frustrated with single events and very short races.. really wanted something a bit more substantial now and then, which hopefully dirt 3 will provide!

    • Schmung says:

      Agreed – I was pleasantly surprised by Dirt2. I hated the x-treme nonsense and the lack of rally specific content, but what was there was actually pretty good. My main gripes were that the handling didn’t go sim-y enough and that the target times on the rally stages were pretty tight – requiring you to more or less learn each stage rather than actually listening to the pace notes. By contrast the trailblazer levels (which were like wider rally stages sand pace notes) were a doddle.

      Looks like Dirt3 is actually to going redress the balance somewhat and put more rally content ingame – which can only be a good thing IMO. So long as there’s a Quattro and a Delta Integrale in there along with all the stuff they had previously then I shall be a happy man,

    • Monchberter says:

      Dirt was pretty tough and more traditional than the sequel, with some utterly bonkers cars that you could barely keep on the track.

      Dirt 2 suffered from ‘extreme’ feature creep from GRID, where classy effects and the brilliant flashback were just overdone with more than a single airpunch, hi five and can of Red Bull. if you could ignore that, you had a very smooth and solid and utterly stunning looking racer.

      Things look good for 3, but I hope that the F1 debacle stays under the carpet and doesn’t have an influence on Dirt 3.

    • GoodPatton says:

      The Dirt games are very well made and loads of fun, though I will say personally I enjoyed Dirt more than Dirt 2 as i found it less show-y and more about the racing, though Dirt 2 is still a great game.

      On the other hand, if you are looking for a more simulation type of rally experience I would suggest checking out Xpand Rally! Though its an older game it stands up quite nicely to todays standards. You shouldn’t expect the stunning visual power of the Dirt franchise but Xpand provides a much more in-depth rally racing experience and is far more challenging.

      The great thing about the Dirt games is there is certainly no shortage of races and race types. Xpand offers a more rally race centric game with a few different race types thrown in for good measure. Both games are worth a play if you are a Rally fan!

    • battles_atlas says:

      Dirt 2 is without doubt the most obnoxious game I’ve ever played. MW2 is likeable by comparison. It seems to inhabit a world in which Bill and Ted never happened, and wonky haired emo-surf dudes can exist without irony, endlessly gushing about how gnarly your last race was. Cunts.

      The racing is fine, not dissimilar to GRID, though for all its different track surfaces and vehicles, there was nothing as refreshingly-different as GRID’s drift races. I could only handle the presentation for about four hours though. Never went back.

    • Nogo says:

      To be fair, Dave Mirra’s radio babble was capable of whipping me into a state of perfect rage that usually eked out a win.

  3. Baboonanza says:

    Looks good. Hopefully this one will be less eXtreme.

  4. Brumisator says:

    Dirt 2 was pretty damn good, I just turned off the music and played some of my own. I’m not a big fan of racing games in general, but the variety of modes kept me entertained.

  5. MrMud says:

    More rally, yay!

  6. Leelad says:

    Thought they where keeping the “Colin McRae” bit as a salute to him?

    • Jonathan says:

      They dropped it for Dirt 2 outside Europe, instead naming a trophy/contest in the game after him.

  7. Howard says:

    See this is why Codies are idiots. It’s not because they produce arcade racing games – with that I have no quarrel. It is because they always produce arcade racing games then always try and convince people they are sim racing games.

    There is and will be no balance between realism and arcade in DiRT3+ or any other Codies racing game. Why can they not just admit that?

    • AndrewC says:

      Play Sega Rally.

    • MrMud says:

      Burnout paradise is a arcade game.
      Richard burns is a sim.

      This is in between those two, and as such is a balance of both.
      Whether or not you think it is a good balance is entierly up to personal taste. Speaking for myself, I think Dirt 1/2 are the most fun racing experiences I have had.

    • Howard says:

      Yes, well done – and my point is that there is rarely any such thing as a blend between these two poles. If a reportedly sim based game has arcade elements it is just utterly infuriating for those wanted a sim-like experience. Feeling cheated or swindled by atrocious AI, steering or throttle help you cannot fully disable or crash damage that is laughable is just utterly soul destroying to those wanting a sim experience.
      The opposite is also entirely true. Arcade driving games are all about fun – sure they obey a set of rules (albeit a much less complex one than a true sim) and there is a definite level of skill to playing them but you don’t want to have to worry about tire choice in Burnout. These games should never pretend to be sims when they are blatantly not.

      Throwing Sim into a title or press blurb carries some very high expectations and some very rigid guidelines and Codies have never once tried to adhere to either. While I enjoy both arcade and sim racers (I play the Burnout series as much as the SimBin series as much as the Wipeout series!) I cannot stand it when developers try to either con the Sim crowd into buying their (perfectly good but) utterly arcade game and I resent people who play these games claiming that they play sim racers simply because it says Sim on the box of the 360 game they are plying.

      Point is there are games that blend SIm and arcade with some success (Codies even wrote some in the form of TRD2/3 and maybe even the first DiRT) but DiRT2 and GRiD are absolutely 100% arcade without even the faintest veneer of SIm (and we wont even speak of the abortion that was F1!) and I see no indication that anything they are yet to release will be any different.

      Calling these types of games “Sim” is like claiming that the Modern Warfare franchise are hardcore soldier simulations that perfectly recreate the feeling of a battlefield.

    • AndrewC says:

      How oddly unable you are to see any middle ground between extremes. How oddly obsessed you are with the words of a PR department that the advertising will change the whole way you look at a game.

      Though perhaps I am being harsh, and most people like to take a holistic approach to the games package:

      Where are they using the words ‘this is a sim’ in their PR? As opposed to, say ‘a good balance between arcade and realism’?

  8. jon_hill987 says:

    Unless they have ditched GfWL on this release I will not be buying it.

  9. yhancik says:

    A racing game with time travel sounds like something I would like to play :p
    (Achron Racers ?)

  10. smiggs says:

    I like the actual driving in Dirt2, but if the presentation is just terrible. The ‘right on’ American drivers are pretty much begging to be shot with a crossbow, the only sanity left in the presentation is the scottish co-driver and the fact that in ‘trail blazer’ mode no one talks. I’m hoping that with the introduction of more classic cars the presentation will be less grating, or perhaps we could have an unlockable mode where the drivers all have broad Yorkshire accents? I’d settle for that.

  11. PoLLeNSKi says:

    Dirt 1/2 sucked up hours of my life especially the online mode where one slip sees you drop several places and the pressure is purely from the timer on screen showing you how far ahead/behind you were in your group. The buggy races (as in buggy car not buggy glitch) were a bit lame but were I think necessary to break up the monotony of essentially racing yourself through the single player campaigns. Replay value is immense trying to shave seconds off each run.

  12. Pete says:

    They had me at \more proper rally stuff\.

  13. Monchberter says:

    More rain sodden Yorkshire moors based stages, and less Baja.

    I want the chance of hitting a Whippet and backending that kid from t’ Hovis ad on one of the cobbled ascents.

    • Gremmi says:

      (pointless aside) The Hovis Hill isn’t actually in Yorkshire, but in Dorset.

  14. Jonathan says:

    They should just make a UK edition that replaces al the bright textures and blue skies with unending drear.

    I’m also pretty sure there are better places to race in the UK than Battersea bloody Power station.

    • Richard Clayton says:

      @Jonathan: Dirt 3: Drizzle Edition?

      Liked the handling but hated the “extreme awesomeness” particularly in the UK where Rallying is all about mud.

  15. Phinor says:

    I was hoping no more highway-roads on rally racing. I guess my hopes have now been destroyed by that pre-alpha gameplay footage.

    Still, it might be fun though not very challenging. I wish someone would create 1:1 copies of Finnish rally stages with decent enough physics under the hood :)

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      I’m with you. Too bad most people out there wouldn’t be able to finish a stage without crashing every 50 meters.

  16. eos says:

    Dirt 3 has been looking good ever since the Alpha preview :D

    I hope they get the arcade/career balance right!

  17. Navagon says:

    I’d be more interested in GRID 2. But Codies doing what they do best and keeping out of trouble producing unfinished FPS and Theme Hospital spin offs is always good.

  18. Clippit says:

    i just have to say, those guys are doing a pretty poor job of pretending to be rally enthusiasts. their attempts at faking authenticity only further offend those looking for it.

  19. Noterist says:

    “It’s also going to shift the focus back more towards classic rally, compared to Dirt 2”

    Woohoo! This was my main gripe with Dirt 2, thanks to cramming in so many different events they only included (iirc) 3 tracks that could be considered “full length” rally stages.