After a few months of silence, Milestone has released the first developer diary for its upcoming off-road racer Gravel. The bad news first: it’s no longer releasing this year.
When Milestone first announced the game last March, Gravel had a summer 2017 release. However, now that we’re in the thick of the season, the news of a delay isn’t surprising. Nonetheless, the new release window comes to us care of the first Gravel dev diary, and it sheds some light on different aspects of the game.
With the release of MotoGP 17, Milestone is bidding farewell to its in-house engine, and trading up to Unreal Engine 4. Gravel is the first four-wheeled title to take advantage of this move, and technical director Ivan del Duca says the benefits are two-fold. From a technological standpoint, the move allows the team to create vast environments. Meanwhile, it also helps the team’s workflow, since UE4 allows the devs to test their creations with ease.
The video focuses on Cross Country mode next. Environment artist Lisa Gobbi walks us through the steps that result in a completed course, and it’s fascinating. Milestone uses World Machine, a program which takes sections of real-world satellite data and translates it into a working terrain model.
Once the team has laid the roads down on these models, the fun part of Gobbi’s job begins. Scenery is literally painted onto the track — it’s a great behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the creation of these open-world environments.
The developer diary also touches on the lighting and sound improvements found in Gravel thanks to the move to Unreal Engine. The last four-wheeled game from Milestone was the charming but flawed Sebastien Loeb Rally EVO — it looks like the team has made significant progress since that game landed in early 2016.
Throughout the short video, we see brief hints at some of the cars coming to Gravel. We spotted a Lancer Evo VI, Lancia 037, and a Chevy Trophy Truck being modelled. In addition, Milestone was shown recording audio from an Alpine A110 (old one, not new one) and Mitsubishi Pajero. Back in the spring, the team also confirmed that Porsche will join the car lineup.
The dev diary is promising, making the news of the delay no longer seem that bad. Besides, with the onslaught of racing games starting next month, we heard our wallets let out a collective sigh of relief. Gravel now has some space between it and the big three console sim games coming in September and October. That said, it will still be lining up against the fun-loving The Crew 2. Gravel launches early 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.