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DiRT 3 - May 24th, 2011

The Sarge

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IGN - First Look

"This is the biggest racing game that the racing studio has ever embarked upon," asserts producer Matt Horsman, and given this is the same team that conjured up ludicrously generous games such as TOCA: Race Driver 3, that's quite some claim. Like that game the scope of DiRT 3 is vast, the roster of cars taking in everything from the Mini Cooper S that was made famous by Pat Moss and Paddy Hopkirk in the '60s through to Kris Meeke's Peugeot 207 S2000.

There's much more in between the two, and DiRT 3's vehicle list makes for heavenly reading for petrolheads. The '70s lends cars such as the Lancia Stratos, the famously fierce Group B cars of the mid-80s are represented by Quattro S1, RS2000 and Peugeot 205 among others, while the '90s gives us the Celica that Carlos Sainz worked his magic in, the sublime Lancia Delta Integrale, and of course Colin McRae's iconic 555 Subaru. It's no less than a celebration of the history of the sport.

And fittingly it feels like a return to the ideals of the series' forebears - the Colin McRae games - with the addition of Finland, Norway and Monte Carlo as well as the introduction of the all-important WRC licence lending DiRT 3 a more traditional air. It helps that Ken Block, the American star that's taken McRae's position as series' figurehead, has made the shift to the premier rally series, and as Codemasters returns to its roots its game feels remarkably more mature.
Gone is the elaborate, extreme sports flavoured front-end of DiRT 2, and in its place is an equally slick yet more minimal menu set, told in stark monochrome with occasional flashes of colour. Beyond it lies a game that's markedly more attractive than its predecessor, no mean feat when that game's sporting some remarkable good looks in the first place. A new lighting model ensures the cars now feel more a part of their environments, while the car models - despite the colossal number of them - are supremely detailed.

Those environments themselves promise to be just as spectacular. The aforementioned additions mean, of course, snow, but that's not the only weather effect being introduced to DiRT 3. Rain's a concern too, as are differing light conditions as some stages take place under the cover of night. Threading the 470 horses that sit under the bonnet of an Audi Quattro S through a pitch black, snow blanketed forest as the headlights bounce beams through the forest promises to be a unique thrill.

All this isn't to say that the American contingent have been ignored, and it's in some of the other arenas that the DiRT formula is reprised - albeit in a smartly refined form. The X Games licence is retained, and this time out the extreme end of driving is explored much more effectively. First up there's Gymkhana, an event within tightly confined spaces wherein deft flicks and drifting are the order of the day. It's a spectacular discipline that should be well served by DiRT's trademark deft handling.
Easily the best manifestation of the fast and loose approach to motorsport is in the Compound, an all-new arena set in a more expansive recreation of DiRT 2's Battersea Power Station. It's an open-ended, free play area available both online and off. Featuring corkscrews and side missions, it's like an automotive skate park that can play host to various mini-games, and as a multiplayer addition it promises a refreshing alternative to point to point racing - especially with the introduction, for the first time in the series, of splitscreen.

And all this is built around a chassis that's already proved itself admirably twice before; as you'd expect from a Codemasters racing title, the handling is impeccably balanced between excess and subtlety that conveys perfectly the feeling of a car teetering on a knife edge, something that's apparent in a brief stint behind the wheel of some very early code. It doesn't give away much but already there's a sense of refinement, with the best aspects of DiRT 2's handling being retained.

Also returning are the crashes that have, thanks to Codemasters' unsurpassed damage model, become DiRT's trademark, and they've been given a little added functionality. Have a spectacular prang and it's now possible through the rewind feature to publish the video with the press of a button. It's part of a bigger push to integrate DiRT 3 with social networks such as Facebook, which also includes the ability - much like Bizarre Creation's Blur - to easily share stats and figures.

It's all combining to form a package that will delight fans old and new, and even the imminent barrage of off-roaders – thanks to the doling out of the WRC license to Gran Turismo 5 as well as Black Bean's own official take on the series - shouldn't stop DiRT 3 from being the definitive rally game when it launches next year.


I'm sure the news that they have the WRC licence will please a lot of fans. :)






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Its a kinda instant win for me firstly because i know everyone liked Dirt 2 and we had some pretty great sessions on that, and secondly because i can play Group S against fellow rllmuker's which i've wanted to do with the "other" game that featured these cars.

The Key factor with group S though Helio's is that its very important that you get to run crowds of people over.

And i'd fully expect not only an achievement or two but the usual "people run over" stat to appear whilst my game is loading.

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Probably in game but shoved through a ton of filters.

Those stills are absolutely not in-game. They are blatantly concept art renders. The debut trailer graphics are more akin to how DiRT3 will look (seeing as DiRT2 looks much like it in replay mode) although that video is heavily CGI-ed up.

I'll be playing DiRT2 with the usual suspects again in the coming week. Just got back from my hols and I'm itching to play some rallying again.

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That said, its nice to see the codies making rallying sound really exciting and it being not just another DiRT and given we know how good DiRT2 was, i think its fair to say a third with all new tracks and cars will blow people away.

Helios, prehaps you could ask them to make some car and track add on's for this game. The other rally groups would be nice - but for me, tracks are far more important.

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  • 1 month later...

Gameplay Preview

The first two DiRT games were very much focused on the brown, mucky stuff, arguably to the detriment of other plucky rally surfaces. But no more: finally the series has become equal opportunities and, as a result, there's going to be much more variety in the ground you're speedily chewing through this time around.

The biggest addition is snow, lost since the last of the pre-DiRT McRae games, but back with an icy vengeance this time around. In spite of studded tyres, which offer more grip than you'd expect in this slippy-slidy ice world, the sub-zero stages are likely to be DiRT 3's most challenging proposition.

As if the actual stage itself wasn't tough enough, stray off the course and you'll hit deformable snowdrifts that will cause drag on any tyres that get dipped and further slow your progress.

And once you're just about comfortable with careening down the side of a mountain like a bobsled that's decapitated its driver, DiRT 3 will ask you to do the same thing. But at night. And during a blizzard. Your vision will be limited depending on how many extra headlights you've stuck to the bonnet and corners will appear all the more quickly. Similarly, you'll be scrambling through rainstorms, which use and improve on already impressive technology borrowed from the Formula

One 2010 development team. Handling on waterlogged gravel will be completely different from the dry stuff. The idea is that, even though DiRT 3 will have three times as many rally stages as DiRT 2, mixing up the time of day and the weather conditions will keep things fresh when you inevitably have to return to a location during the career.


The other thing bound to add to the variety on offer is the huge selection of rally vehicles, spanning decades of driving far too fast along narrow forest tracks. Every major era of rallying is represented, with our favourites being the Group B monsters like the Audi Quattro S1, Metro 6R4 and Ford RS200, which were justifiably banned because the drivers kept flying off the road at ludicrous speeds and coming back in hundreds of tiny, lightly charred pieces.

Fortunately, with the aid of flashback, those consequences are removed, so you're free to misbehave. Because the garage is more fleshed out this time around, when you head into an event in a car from a particular era, you'll be competing against other cars from that time period, rather than just a random jumble - and rightly so. The stages are a more classic rally selection this time. Iconic locations such as Monte Carlo, Finland and Kenya are present and correct and the only place that doesn't seem to have made the cut is Wales. Of the lot, Monte is the most tantalising: a mix of tarmac, ice and snow as you try and avoid tumbling down a mountainside.


The extreme sports stuff hasn't been binned, though, and you'll find official X-Games courses from Los Angeles and Aspen, plus all the cars that the current crop of US drivers tool around in.

We had a chance to get some time behind the wheel with an early version of the game to try out the new handling model. There was an immediate feeling of greater weight to the car, making its behaviour more predictable when pitching it into slides, but they remain just as snappy and responsive as you'd expect highly tuned (and highly expensive) rally machines to be.

Codies reckons this is going to be their biggest racing game yet, and the associated stats are already suitably impressive: there are over 100 routes, compared to DiRT 2, and apparently the game will have the biggest selection of cars of any of the previous games, McRae versions included. The US-centric gearshift that the series initiated with DiRT and solidified with DiRT 2 divided fans and the third game is a conscious attempt to bring the new and traditional audiences together.

After all, they're both fundamentally fans of the same thing: cars travelling extremely quickly, usually sideways, through highly treacherous off-road courses. Could this be the racing game that finally pleases everyone, all of the time? We reckon it stands a pretty good chance.



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From the OP:

“We know from the stats we can pull from Dirt.net that a major proportion of players are more casual than ever,” said Codemasters’ brand manager Edward Newby-Robson.

How, brand manager Edward Newby-Robson, do you know that a major proportion of players are more casual than ever? What stats are you pulling from Dirt.net that confirm this notion? Or are you trying hard to make it sound like you're really on top of your shit, regurgitating fragments of buzzwords you've not entirely understood from those long, dull meetings in which you wonder whether anyone would notice if you started masturbating.

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  • 1 month later...

From the OP:

How, brand manager Edward Newby-Robson, do you know that a major proportion of players are more casual than ever? What stats are you pulling from Dirt.net that confirm this notion? Or are you trying hard to make it sound like you're really on top of your shit, regurgitating fragments of buzzwords you've not entirely understood from those long, dull meetings in which you wonder whether anyone would notice if you started masturbating.

Hey guy, chill out.

Anyway, new dev diary that answers a few questions:


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And here's the feature list to go with it...

The feature list from Codies offers a bit more info on things like weather and Gymkhana as well as detailing career, party and split-screen modes:

Be a pro

DiRT 3 puts players in the racing boots of a professional motorsports athlete. The beaten up RV of DiRT 2 is a thing of the past as gamers compete against stars including Ken Block and Kris Meeke across a range of racing and driving disciplines at spectacular locations across the world.

More, More, More!

DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the DiRT series.

There are now 100+ routes in the game compared to DiRT 2's 41. DiRT 3 offers the finest selection of licensed action-sports racing cars available and the largest line up to feature in any Codemasters racing game, including cars that represent 5 decades of rallying from classics like the Mini Cooper and Audi Quattro to Ken Block's rally spec Ford Fiesta.

Rally is back!

After consulting fan-feedback, reviews and performing exhaustive data mining, the standout event from DiRT 2, Rally, returns with more than double the amount of content.

Multi-stage rallies are set at classic locations from the traditional rally heartland of Scandinavia to the jungles of Kenya and the forests of Europe and the USA, taking players to the most dramatic, inhospitable and exciting terrain on the planet where only the most fearless drivers race.

Express yourself with Gymkhana!

The 15 million-plus YouTube phenomenon pioneered by Ken Block now powerslides into to DiRT 3. Gamers can test their car control to the very limit and drift, spin-dry and jump their way to stardom in all new Gymkhana events.

Set in specially created arenas packed with props, players can practice their skills, chain together moves, complete challenges or hang out online with friends in this spectacular videogame first.

Let it snow.

For the first time in the DiRT series, players will enjoy the unique and exhilarating spectacle of racing on snow. A highly advanced particle and physics model powers snow that builds up on the track, wheel tread and the car as it falls more heavily throughout the race.

As players drive they will feel the change in the handling as the snow compacts at different rates depending on your speed, angle and cornering. This best-in-class feature delivers truly jaw-dropping visual and performance effects.

Race through the rain, race through the night

Combining with the performance affects of snow to extend replayability, DiRT 3 challenges players to master changes in grip and visibility in the dry and in the rain on different stages and races.

Players will also experience the unique exhilaration of racing through the night on different routes.

Party Modes and Split-screen

As well as extensive Online multiplayer options for up to 8 players, DiRT 3 will introduce split-screen multiplayer gaming allowing players to race against each other on the same TV.

All disciplines are available, including gymkhana, and are complimented by all new Party Modes which will increase the pass the pad appeal of the game.

Everyone's invited

A full suite of race assists will make this the most accessible DiRT game to date. From the novice on their game pad to the rally purist using a wheel complete with clutch and gearbox, DiRT 3 has customisable levels for every racing fan to easily find a competitive race.

A Racing Studio game

The talent that brought the world Colin McRae DiRT, The BAFTA Award winning Race Driver GRID and Colin McRae: DiRT 2(Metacritic: 87) is developing DiRT 3.

Using the award winning EGO Technology Platform known for its killer visuals, weather, flashback and damage system, DiRT 3 sets the technical benchmark for others to follow.


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