In a surprise move, Codemasters announced DiRT 4 last week. While the news has plenty of racing fans hyped for more rally action, it’s also partially defined the game by what it won’t have. Pikes Peak is off limits due to licensing exclusivity belonging to Gran Turismo and now there’s more bad news: any WRC-related cars and tracks have been ruled out of the title completely.
Although it shouldn’t come as a shock, the reasoning behind this seems to be complex issues around exclusivity. As per posts on the Codemasters official forum, Paul Coleman was asked about the potential appearance of modern WRC rally cars within the game and if licensing woes are getting in the way of their appearance. His answer is clear cut; “Yep, basically that. It’s sad but that’s how some roll.”
It doesn’t take an expert in the industry to work out who might be considered “some” in this case (BigBen Interactive currently has its own WRC franchise) but it’s still a shame we’ll be missing out on new cars like the monstrous Toyota Yaris WRC which would have been perfectly suited to the game.
It isn’t just the cars that players will miss out on either, as Coleman also confirms that stages within the WRC are a no-go for the game. The exact question asked is about the potential return of real life stages like “Sweet Lamb”, the tricky Welsh stage that featured in DiRT Rally. Stages of this ilk will not be returning in any form for DiRT 4.
The exact reasoning behind this actually seems to be less clear-cut than simply licensing as highlighted in Paul’s response. “More complex than that (licensing) but yes, it has lead us down this new path but that means we have built something more exciting that we might not have considered before.”
Conventional stages like ‘Sweet Lamb’ are often a core component of any rally title. DiRT 4‘s lack of these is unfortunate and even though a lot of these stages are actually on public roads, it turns out getting the rights to use them may not be as simple as once before.
The silver lining here comes in Coleman’s reference to the team having “built something exciting”. This is of course in reference to the “Your Stage” feature which will be in the latest DiRT title. Given the lack of real-life stages, the success of DiRT 4 will be a fair bit reliant on the track generator offering some interesting, tricky trails to run through.
The cars and tracks which will not find a home in Codemasters’ latest will certainly be missed. With the latest WRC season shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet, it would have been great fun to take some of these dirt monsters on real-life stages ourselves. As it stands, you’ll have to purchase BigBen Interactive’s inevitable WRC 7 for that pleasure. If you want more information on DiRT 4, check out Paul Coleman’s extensive Reddit AMA conducted on Thursday.
DiRT 4 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC June 9.