The DiRT series has been quite popular among arcade racing fans for more than a decade now. The franchise’s mixt of arcade handling with a dash of realism and eye-watering speeds that would certainly see you crashing into a nearby tree creates quite an invigorating and fun driving experience, and I’ve been a fan ever since DiRT 2. This week Codemasters has announced a new DiRT Rally, a game which marks a return to form for the series –  Rally 2.0 is meant to be an evolution of the original, steering it into a more serious role in the series for rallying enthusiasts.

The announcement trailer is very serious (a big change from the original), with almost no pop or rock background music, and more emphasis on the cars themselves. The audio is a little soft, but you’re rewarded at the end with the engine note of the Audi Quattro.

DiRT Rally 2.0 will ship with eight official licensed tracks from the FIA World Rallycross Championship (which is an important distinction, because this is not the proper FIA WRC, which is now held exclusively by Kylotonn Games), as well as tracks from New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Australia, and the USA. Cars include licences from brands such as Audi, Lancia, Ford, Subaru, Hyundai, and other marques that compete in the WRC.

Interestingly, the Youtube description for the trailer differs from the press release, and includes this little bit at the bottom: “Develop your team and cars around race strategies, and progress through a varied selection of Events and Championships in both a single player Career Campaign and a competitive online environment.” In the original Rally you had a team to manage in the launch version of the game, but it wasn’t a very deep system. I’d like to see if they do a sort of Ridge Racer Type 4 kind of deal for the career.

Unlike the first game, DiRT Rally 2.0 isn’t launching into early access. Instead, there’ll be a full launch on 26 February 2019 across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC platforms. Buying the Deluxe Edition on PC is far, far cheaper than the console versions. This time around there’s also a  pre-order bonus available, featuring the Porsche 911 RGT Rally Spec vehicle. The Deluxe Edition of the game, which launches on 22 February 2019 instead of the 26th, will additionally come with two season passes, early unlocks for the Ford Escort MkII, Lancia Stratos, Subaru Impreza 1995, AUDI Sport Quattro S1 E2, and Ford Fiesta OMSE SuperCar Lite, as well as upgraded starter cars, additional in-game bonuses, and special high reward events as part of the season pass.

That’s an interesting direction for the series, because it’s just like the Forza 7 setup, with the base game including only the bare minimum of cars and parts selections, while the Ultimate Edition gave players credit and XP boosts, additional cars, and more chances to progress through career mode with faster cars at your disposal. That separation was a controversial one for the Forza community, because you were effectively paying over $120 for the full game. Codemasters needs to handle this one with care.

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