It will feature over 600km of stage miles – rallying is time-based, point-to-point – replicating the current WRC season, including the hybrid Rally1 machines from Toyota, Ford M-Sport and Hyundai. These will sit alongside a proliferation of historic vehicles from the sport’s history and expansive game modes.
First ever official WRC ‘sim’
It marks the first time in developer Codemasters’ 36-year history that it has secured the rights to the championship, following its work on the Colin McRae Rally and DiRT Rally series of games.
Now under the stewardship of Electronic Arts, the driving experience that was so revered on gravel within the Southam-based studio’s previous titles is said to have been carried across with some tweaks and is now dubbed the Dynamic Handling System.
Of note, EA specifically refers to this new game as a sim racing title. That parlance provides hope that while there are boundless new features, the driving is still to be taken seriously.
For newcomers, there’s the option of a simplified pacenote system and accessible handling options, although, for those looking for a hardcore skill test, current European Rally Championship ERC3 champion and game designer Jon Armstrong has had input on a set-up system that imitates a professional driver’s options.
Unreal Engine mixed with DiRT Rally physics
While the physics are related, the graphics are not, with EA SPORTS WRC being the first title by the team to ever use the Epic Games-created Unreal Engine technology platform. It marks a significant departure for the company, moving away from its proprietary Ego basis first introduced in 2007 and still used for its Birmingham-developed Formula 1 games.
“This is the rally game we’ve always wanted to make, combining our studio’s deep knowledge and expertise with the power of the official WRC license representing the pinnacle of rally motorsport,” said Ross Gowing, Senior Creative Director at Codemasters.
“The game’s new engine has enabled us to push rally to the edge of what’s deemed possible, and the additional features, including Builder and Moments, give players even more ways to interact with the sport they love.”
Build your own car
The so-called ‘Builder’ mode will allow players to create their own modern-era car with parity to the current rules, and then compete as if they were a new fourth manufacturer team.
This will be split into the three main current categories: WRC, WRC2 and Junior.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned ‘Moments’ are a new daily challenge mode, making use of the historical content but also reliving stand-out sections of the current real-world WRC season.
Classic content and cross-platform online
68 classic cars will be included, although, at this point, the full list is not yet confirmed but it will include the likes of Colin McRae’s 1998 Subaru Impreza. In terms of contemporary content, 10 vehicles across this year’s class of WRC, WRC2 and Junior WRC plus matching liveries are available from launch.
The return of the genre-defining clubs feature, which sees asynchronous competition across an event, is welcome alongside online multiplayer functionality for up to 32 players cross-platform. The platforms specifically are PC, both Steam and Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S – the game will not be released on either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
While EA SPORTS WRC formally launches in November, there will be three days of early access from 31st October for those who pre-order the digital edition.
EA SPORTS WRC key features
- Built using Unreal Engine technology…
- …but with vehicle physics that build upon Dirt Rally 2.0’s
- Includes 2023 WRC season, with all the rallies and 10 contemporary cars
- 68 historical vehicles also included
- Asynchronous club events return
- New 32-player cross-platform online multiplayer
- PC, (Steam and Epic Games Store), PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S only
- Builder mode – create your own car to the current rules
- Moments mode – daily challenges using classic content or reliving the 2023 real-world season
- Releases 3rd November 2023