Having spent years steering the Colin McRae brand away from the world of dedicated simulation, Dirt Rally has proved to Codemasters that an appetite remains for less arcade racers.
Dirt Rally was both announced and released on Steam Early access in April 2015. It’s now heading to PS4 and Xbox One in April of this year.
Now chief game designer Paul Coleman has admitted to Videogamer that the decision to launch the game in Early Access was partly down to a lack of confidence in [whether] people are going to want a simulation rally game” – fears that the game’s success have proven ill-founded.
Racing games are a niche, rally’s a niche of a niche, and then you’re putting the simulation end of that spectrum in there,” Coleman said. "But I think actually when you look at the reaction that has been had, and you compare it to some of the other rally games that are coming out or have come out, they perhaps haven’t gone that far to the simulation end of the spectrum and they’ve been not as well-received, I think it’s fair to say, as a result of that.
"I think what Dirt Rally has shown is that people have an appetite for this and I think there’s a lot of things that we feel as a studio we didn’t get the opportunity to do properly and had we known it was going to be this big we’d have done things right in the first place."
All of which seems to already be shaping Codemasters’ future plans.
"In terms of where we go from [here], I think we’ve learned a lot from DiRT Rally and I think it’s given us renewed confidence in going down that road and making a very authentic rally experience,” he added.
I think it’s giving us a lot to think about in the studio. I think I can speak a lot more confidently about our future being a bright one without going into too much detail, but some of the conversations I’m having upstairs are very exciting and I think people are going to be really surprised and excited when we do come out with more info in the future."
Codemasters announced in November that it was closing all non-racing operations.