There are two types of rally game out there, the arcadey stylings of DiRT and the real-world focus of the upcoming official World Rally Championship game from Milestone. The head of physics game designers at Milestone, Irvin Zonca was able to talk to me about the game. Read on for thoughts about competing against DiRT, car set ups, weather and much more.
The Reticule – You have talked in the past about ‘real-time rally gaming’, it sounds fascinating, but how is it going to work?
Irvin Zonca – The “real-time rally gaming” is something that will be possible thanks to the partnership between Milestone and Iopener. Iopener is a technology that allows to send data from the real cars to the videogame, live as they race, thanks to gps transmitters equipped in the cars. From 2012 the official WRC videogames will feature this brand new game mode, letting the player take part to the real rallies among the real drivers.
TR – Do you see WRC as competition to the DiRT games?
IZ – Yes, WRC is not only a competitor, but also a game that goes beyond what you can find in a DiRT game. WRC is the only game featuring all the official 2010 stuff from the real championship, including drivers, co-drivers, cars, liveries, stages from 13 real countries. Further, WRC is the unique proper rally game: the world is your stage, the track is your enemy and it’s you against the clock and the environment.
TR – How much access have you had to the teams and drivers, have they helped in the development process?
IZ – Thanks to North One Sport (the promoter of the WRC) we had the opportunity to get in contact with the real drivers, their co-drivers and, also very important, their mechanics and engineers. This has really been important, because developing a game such as WRC requires a big effort and a deep knowledge of the championship. Everything, from the real car data and setups to the mood that each single country conveys, has to be carefully implemented and we managed to do this thanks to the kind and massive support that all these people gave us.
TR – Will the career mode last just one season, or will players be able to progress with different teams over several years?
IZ – In the career mode (we call it “The Road to the WRC”) you have unlimited amount of time to reach the top class, the WRC itself. You start as a rookie that has to manage his own team in the JWRC category (the entry class that features 2WD cars). As a driver, you have to purchase your own cars, choose your livery and paint scheme, manage sponsors and compete in more than 55 cups driving in several categories (JWRC, SWRC and PWRC) to attract a WRC team, hoping to become the future world champion.
TR – How many teams and cars will be available? Will it only be the very top teams, or are independent teams included?
IZ – In WRC we have 18 official cars and 58 drivers from the four categories that compete in the WRC: JWRC (Renault Clio R3, Citroen C2 R2, Suzuki Swift S1600, Suzuki Swift R2, Citroen C2 S1600, Honda Civic R3, Ford Fiesta R2), PWRC (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, Subaru Impreza STI), SWRC (Abarth Grande Punto S2000, Skoda Fabia S2000, Peugeot 207 S2000, Ford Fiesta S2000) and WRC (Subaru Impreza STI, two different Ford Focus WRC, Citroen C4 WRC) . These categories are different for displacement, drive train, gearbox, aspiration, weight and power. WRC, being the only one official game, also features independent teams to provide the players with more content and a deeper experience.
TR – Will players be able to create their own team?
IZ – Yes: by playing “The Road to the WRC” the players will be given the opportunity to create their own team with their own liveries, numbers, plates, nationality, paint scheme, colours, sponsors, co-driver.
TR – How much detail can players expect when it comes to the set-up of the cars?
IZ – The set-up page has been designed to be realistic and accessible for everyone. The player can tweak different parts of the car such as the differentials (front, central and rear), suspension, down force, traction and brake balances and more, that really make the difference while driving. To make the page accessible we provided clear tips to help the players to find the setup that fits them the most. This page has been developed with the support of the official teams from the WRC.
TR – What kind of weather effects are going to feature? Will there be real-time weather and how much of an impact will it have on the rallying?
IZ – WRC feature more than 40 different surfaces to race on, and every terrain is affected by the wet or dry conditions of the stage. For example, racing in the dry gravel of Mexico will be a very different experience than driving on the wet gravel of Wales. Since WRC is the first chapter of a series that will be developed through the years, for the moment we don’t support real-time weather.
TR – It has been several years since the last official WRC game, do you feel any pressure to deliver a game faithful to the WRC?
IZ – Correct, it’s 5 years since the last WRC game. Also, our WRC is the first official game to be released on next-gen platforms (PlayStation3 and Xbox360) and PC. We don’t feel the pressure because we are very confident about our game. Milestone is crowded with rally fans who put their knowledge in the game, and the real drivers who tried the game share the opinion that being behind the wheel in the game and in the real life is pretty much the same thing. We are really proud of our WRC and we think that it features all the characteristics that make the WRC so unique.
TR – What multiplayer options will there be?
IZ – In WRC there are plenty of multiplayer options. Talking about offline multiplayer, we offer the “Hot Seat” mode. Up to 4 players can compete in a single stage, single rally or entire championship against each other by playing in the same room. The players will race once in every stage try to perform the best lap. Developing this game mode has been really fun, because it’s very challenging to race well while your mates are trying to distract you. Talking about online multiplayer, up to 16 players can compete in the same competition that can be chosen from single stage, single rally or customizable championship. Pay attention: we’re not talking about bumper-to-bumper competition. We decided to stick to the real WRC mood also for the multiplayer: so, all the players will try to set the best time by racing all together with no collisions, but only ghost cars (that can be deactivated) showing the other drivers. Also, it will be possible to download the best ghost cars from the leader boards, to try to beat them offline. In the online modes there are a lot of customizable options and is also possible to vote the favourite stage to race in, to satisfy everyone.
TR – Finally, when can we expect to see the game released?
IZ – The 8th of October WRC will hit the shelves for Playstation3, Xbox360 and PC. Save the date!