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.