Success in the breakneck world of rallycross racing is based on the relationship between driver, vehicle, and course. Each element is crucial to victory, not to mention plain ol’ survivability, and there’s no greater evidence of this in gaming than in the DiRT series from Codemasters. Today, we’re excited to announce the latest entry in the legendary game series, DiRT Rally 2.0, is available now on Rift and Rift S.
Like its predecessors, DiRT Rally 2.0 delivers a painfully authentic off-road experience full of accurately modeled vehicles, meticulously crafted stages, and in-depth team dynamics. As the official game of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, DiRT Rally 2.0 packs over 50 different cars, both of the modern-day and historic varieties, like the Audi Quattro S1 E2 and iconic 1995 Subaru Impreza, as well as a slew of real-world roads and tracks.
Race fans can expect to carve up rally locations across New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Australia, and the USA, each offering diverse terrain. With improved vehicle handling, realistic damage modeling, and dynamic weather, Dirt Rally 2.0 delivers a near-unforgiving race experience that will push the most stalwart drivers to deliver their best or finish last. But don’t worry, intrepid drivers can head into the garage to fine-tune their ride to perfection with a collection of genuine parts and tools, ensuring victory is always a tune-up away.
We recently chatted with Codemasters Chief Game Designer Ross Gowing to hear more about what makes DiRT Rally 2.0 special in VR:
What’s your elevator pitch for DiRT Rally 2.0 in VR? What makes it a compelling and fresh race experience?
Ross Gowing: We pushed ourselves to represent rally in a more authentic way than ever before, and this really comes through when playing the game. From improvements and refinements to the handling model and widespread graphical improvements in our environments, vehicles, and animated characters; we’ve reviewed the way we did everything in the first DiRT Rally and raised the bar again.
What are some key differences between DiRT Rally and Dirt Rally 2.0 hardcore race fans might appreciate?
RG: For VR players, we’ve improved the range of comfort settings available and made sure the game looks much better than last time. In terms of the game itself and what will appeal to hardcore players, we focused a lot of development effort on the way a spinning tire interacts with different types of gravel, and this has led to a big improvement in the way our rear-wheel drive cars behave. In addition, we've improved our damage systems and how different materials react to different types of impact. Lastly, we’ve made visual improvements across all areas of the game.
How’d you go about iterating on the game’s legendary driving systems this time around? Anything specific to call out?
RG: It was an iterative process. The Handling Team and Physics programmers are the same folks who worked on the first DiRT Rally (with one new addition) so they were able to break everything down piece-by-piece, then review and refine each component, and finally build it all back up again. Working with real drivers was a key element of this process and their hard work really paid off.
What’s something players would find surprising/ unexpected playing DiRT Rally 2.0 in VR for the first time?
RG: DiRT Rally 2.0 in VR is a truly visceral experience and it’s something players have been very vocal about wanting to experience. Plus, you can play in VR across any of our game modes instead of being confined to one area of the game.
Can you talk about the partnership between WRX and Codemasters and how it made for an authentic racing experience?
RG: Working with WRX has been a real pleasure; they’ve been so generous with their time, expertise, and contacts, and this has resulted in a fantastic rallycross experience for players. Everything we’ve learned has come together to provide a deeper and more true-to-life representation of an amazing race series.
What are the key challenges in designing off-road racetracks that need to feel authentic but remain fun to play?
RG: Something that came up a lot when we spoke to drivers and co-drivers was the effect that being low down in the running order has on your chances of doing well in an event, and so we wanted to try and replicate that in-game. As a result, our new track degradation system changes the road surface so that if you're near the top of the order, you'll find yourself sweeping loose material from the road for other competitors--5th through 15th provides good running, and then from 15th to 150th you'll find things increasingly challenging as other vehicles rut up the track surface.
What’s it like working with professional drivers to approximate the “feel” of real off-road race vehicles? What’s the process actually like?
RG: We’re lucky to work with two great rally drivers: we have Jon Armstrong in the studio with us every day, and Ryan Champion regularly comes in when the Handling Team have something they want to focus on. It’s an ongoing process of tweaking, testing, and refining; making use of the vast knowledge and experience those guys possess. I’m really proud of the results everyone has achieved working together and think it makes such a difference to the driving experience.
What can VR drivers expect in terms of peripheral and hardware support?
RG: VR drivers can expect exactly the same level of wheel and pedal support seen in the main game. There are 60 officially supported peripherals across major brands like Thrustmaster, Logitech, and Fanatec, and our new input system will allow users to easily set up any devices that don’t work out of the box.
How has the Dirt Rally fan community responded to the game so far?
RG: Community reception has been very good, and it’s also been great to hear all the feedback players have via our forums and social media channels. We’ve been able to react to many different player requests and improvements, and as a result we’ve been able to keep improving the game through monthly updates.
What’s your personal favorite car/ track combo to tackle and why? Are there clear community favorites?
RG: My personal favorite is the SUBARU Impreza 1995 on any of the routes in New Zealand – it’s such an iconic car and the flowing nature of New Zealand’s stages really allow you to push hard. In terms of community favorites, we see the R5 cars a lot; then Spain and New Zealand dominate the route selection data we see.
If you’re ready to carve up the track, grab your gear and give DiRT Rally 2.0 a test drive today.
— The Oculus Team