Codies’ lat­est mud-andthun­der rally packs in all of the tracks

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - CONTENTS - Dave Meik­le­ham Pub­lisheR Deep Sil­ver De­vel­oper Code­mas­ters For­mat XBOX One ETA JUNE 2017

It prob­a­bly doesn’t seem like it, but we’ve been wait­ing for a new num­bered en­try in Code­mas­ters’ long-run­ning ral­ly­cross se­ries for six years. To put that into con­text, five Forza games have hit Xbox since Dirt 3 (power)slid into shops all those years ago. Af­ter such a wait, you’d hope Codies would have at least one new petrol­head party trick stored up its oil-slathered sleeve. Rest easy: It does. Mil­lions of them.

The new­est fea­ture, Your Stage, is a new cus­tom track gen­er­a­tor that can cre­ate count­less unique cour­ses at the press of a but­ton. “We’ve been work­ing on it since Dirt3,” says lead game de­signer, Dar­ren Hay­ward. “It’s been a long and dif­fi­cult road to get it into the game in the state that it’s in.” Hay­ward is clearly re­lieved Your Stage has fi­nally made it into a fin­ished ti­tle af­ter years of back­ground tin­ker­ing, and, im­pres­sively, its im­ple­men­ta­tion ac­tu­ally feels seam­less.

Dur­ing our hands-on ses­sion we put the new mode through its paces, and the cour­ses that were cooked up var­ied wildly in both lay­out and name. Never, Never Gul­ley; Wine­grove Farm; Ramornie For­est; Wards Mis­take Farm; Moon­par Way (man, these names are great, aren’t they?); and Scotch­man Creek. All these uniquely shaped routes are gen­er­ated instantly when you hit the B but­ton. It’s se­ri­ously im­pres­sive, and ad­dic­tive.

And that’s just the Fitzroy area of the Aus­tralian stage. The fi­nal game has five lo­ca­tions, span­ning Tar­rag­ona, Spain; Värm­land, Swe­den; Michi­gan, United States; and Powys, Wales. That’s a whole lot of play­er­gen­er­ated road to carve up. At least your co-driver will earn their crust.

The sheer num­bers in­volved in this clever al­go­rithm-driven gen­er­a­tor are mind-bog­gling. “It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult for us to even give an es­ti­mate,” Hay­ward says. “We stopped count­ing at ten to the power of 15.” By our semi-sus­pect maths, that num­ber looks a lit­tle some­thing like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000. So a quadrillion, ba­si­cally. “You can leave the set­tings the same and gen­er­ate, gen­er­ate, gen­er­ate, and you’ll get com­pletely dif­fer­ent stages ev­ery time,” Hay­ward con­tin­ues. “It changes so many dif­fer­ent things un­der the hood. It’s al­most in­fi­nite.”

The dirt locker

The tracks are one thing but what of the ac­tual rac­ing? Well, it’s not as in­tim­i­dat­ing as DirtRally, which should come as a re­lief to any sausagefin­gered rac­ers who found 2015’s nails-hard off­shoot too tax­ing (that’s all of Team OXM then). There’s still a sim­u­la­tion-han­dling model, but there’s also a nor­mal one, and Codies is happy for both to co­ex­ist across four dis­ci­plines—Rally, Clas­sic Rally, Ral­ly­cross, and Lan­drush.

We play the first and the third of these over an hour with Dirt4, which in­cludes try­ing to tame tax­ing hair­pin turns around the bak­ing forests of Fitzroy, then fight­ing to keep our lunch down dur­ing a fren­zied, and hor­ri­bly hilly, buggy race in the deserts of Ari­zona. Re­gard­less of the dis­ci­pline, Codies’ class-lead­ing steer­ing is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent.

In bring­ing to­gether dif­fer­ent fla­vors of race and ve­hi­cles—bug­gies, cross karts and trucks all fea­ture— Code­mas­ters seems de­ter­mined to cre­ate a game that can ap­peal to both hard­core rally fans and more ca­sual driv­ers. So break out those wel­lies, folks: Things are about to get se­ri­ously dirty again.

“You’ll get com­pletely new stages each time you hit the B but­ton: It’s al­most in­fi­nite”

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