Be still, my beating heart. Codemasters, makers of the F1 games, the DiRT franchise and GRID (among others), are finally returning the DiRT racing series to its roots, without the weird Ken Block voice overs, the annoying Gymkhanas, the “meh” tire physics that made tractability an issue and the general way in which the DiRT experience was diluted with the other stuff that wasn’t really rallying. Codemasters has not only announced that DiRT Rally on Steam is in the works, they’re also putting it straight into Early Access to make sure that fans are happy with the game’s direction. Hit the jump for the trailer and the blurb by the developers.

Having a AAA company put their game into Early Access is rather odd. I expected that to be the case for something like Assetto Corsa and Project Cars, but a DiRT title? Do they need the money that early? Probably not. That’s why the focus of the game going into Early Access seems to be quality control, not crowdfunding a game that may or may not have people ambitious and driven enough to see their project completed. On the Steam store page for DiRT Rally, this is what Codemasters had to say on the subject:

Why Early Access?
“It’s really important to us that we make DiRT Rally the best game it can be and we can only do that with your help. Steam Early Access is the perfect place for us to do that. We believe that DiRT Rally is the game many of our fans want and right now, our plan is to develop DiRT Rally with community feedback and get that experience absolutely right.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“We currently have plans to run our early access programme until the end of 2015, we have a whole host of new and exciting features already planned and we can’t wait to hear what the fans would like to see us add too.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
“As time goes on we’ll be adding more cars, more environments and more rally stages, we’ll be climbing Pikes Peak and going door-to-door around a selection of the best circuits from the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship. We’re hoping to include competitive online play this summer and we’ll also be adding features based on feedback from our community.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
“At release DiRT Rally will include a total of 36 rally stages spread across Monte Carlo, Greece and Wales. We will launch with a wide selection of cars, from 1960s classics right through to modern day machines. We have in game league support, daily, weekly and monthly challenges and a career mode which takes you from grass roots rally events in classic rally cars to professional championships in some of the latest and most high tech cars available.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
“Yes, the price will increase throughout the Early Access program, and again after Early Access to reflect the state of the game. All updates to the game will be free after a player’s initial purchase, ie pay once, and everything else gets added for free!”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
“There are loads of ways you can help; buying the game reinforces our belief that we’re making the game you all want, playing the game enables us to collect loads of useful data about the kinds of ways you play it. If you find a bug or something that’s not quite right we need you to give us as much information about it as you can and if you have an idea about how we can make DiRT Rally even better, we want to hear it.

That’s not a bad way to start trying to win your old fans back. After DiRT 3 had all of the Games for Windows Live stuff stripped out (resulting in the re-release of the game as DiRT 3: Complete Edition), I’m optimistic that this is Codemasters getting themselves back on track and away from the Ken Block-ified world of rallying that people have in their heads today.

The system requirements aren’t bad either. If you were able to play DiRT 2 on high settings at native resolution, this will be more or less able to see the same kind of framerates at the same quality settings. This includes having 35GB of free storage space available, a dual-core processor from the Athlon II or Core 2 Duo eras, 4GB of RAM and a Intel HD4000, AMD Radeon HD5450, or Nvidia Geforce GT 430 GPU or better.

DiRT Rally is currently available through Steam at an entry price of $34.99 with a 10% off special lasting until 4 May 2015.

Source: Codemasters

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