After five titles under the British banner of Evolution Studios, and five more instalments under the Italian wing of Milestone, the WRC franchise is now being developed by French studio Kylotonn for the second time.
2015's WRC 5 was Kylotonn's first foray into rally games and the critical reception was mixed.
But Kylotonn's game director Alain Jarniou has accepted this criticism and promises it was taken into account when the team moved on developing WRC 6.
One of the biggest challenge was to propose a massively renewed gaming experience and not just an update with new liveries and sponsors. As WRC 5 was the first rally game made by the team, we learnt a lot and collected a lot of feedback once the game was out. Then, the challenge was to transform all these feedbacks into improvements for WRC 6.”
He continues: For example, WRC 5 was considered as too permissive with large and short stages, without traps like in the real life. Here with WRC 6, all the stages have been reworked in order to deliver something closer to the reality with bumpy sections, rocks alongside the roads, much longer stages... The danger is everywhere in WRC 6.”
Published by Bigben, and distributed by PQube in the UK, WRC 6 is coming out on October 7th on PS4, Xbox One and PC – that's almost exactly one year after WRC 5.
WRC games are the virtual depiction of the each WRC season so we could definitely create a game every season but the first objective is to propose a new experience each time and not just a yearly update of the assets,” Jarniou answers when asked if WRC could become an annual franchise. As long as we are able to offer something new with major improvements, then, we can consider doing a new game.
And Kylotonn worked hard to deliver improvements with this new instalment, he explains.
We added new features - split-screen multiplayer, enhanced career mode -, new content - 11 Super Special Stages, a brand new rally - and used new tools to improve the graphics and the physics - more bumpy roads, much more vegetation alongside the road...
I think we achieved our main goal and I'm pretty sure that the players will feel the difference with other WRC titles.”
As a consequence, Kylotonn expects WRC 6 to perform at least as well as its predecessor.
With WRC 5, we sold 700.000 copies worldwide. Of course, the idea with WRC 6 is to do at least the same numbers,” Jarniou says. ”The release of WRC 5 also helped us to gather all the feedbacks and perfectly understand what our players are asking for. So, in terms of critics, the experience we deliver meets our players' requests.”
"We learnt a lot from WRC 5 and the challenge was to transform the feedback into improvements for WRC 6."
Alain Jarniou, Kylotonn
In order to meet these requests, Kylotonn also signed a development partnership with accessories company Thrusmaster in order to achieve entire compatibility between the wheels and pedals made by the firm and WRC 6.
This is part of the French connection,” Jarniou laughs. Beyond the geographical synergies, it was quite natural to partner with one of the most important racing peripherals manufacturer, which also has an interest in eSports.”
And eSports appears to be the new focus for the WRC franchise.
There is definitely an eSports potential for WRC games, and being the first to propose a virtual tournament alongside to the real championship was really exciting,” Jarniou confirms, hinting at the WRC eSports tournament that ran alongside the 2016 rally season.
The feedback we received from the players during the first season were really positive and prompt us into moving forward with eSports.”
Between the new content, the accessories deal and the eSports focus, Kylotonn seems to be hooked on rally games now, and the studio is eager to prove its new expertise with WRC 6.
Rallying is a spirit, it's not just racing,” Jarniou concludes. It's not like a track game where you can learn by heart every single curve after five or ten laps. The diversity and the danger, which make the WRC so spectacular, are one of the strengths.”