Think you can build a rally car? EA’s official WRC game lets you have a go | Top Gear
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Sunday 1st October

Think you can build a rally car? EA’s official WRC game lets you have a go

Made by the same studio behind Dirt Rally, new sim features historic cars and the full 2023 lineup

Published: 05 Sep 2023

EA and Codemasters have announced an official WRC videogame, due later in 2023.

Rally fans have known this game was on the way since June, when EA announced that it had secured exclusive rights to the WRC licence for five years, starting with an initial release this year made by the makers of the legendary Dirt Rally games.

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But until now, that’s the extent of the info released to the public. So what’s this new WRC all about?

Running in Unreal Engine rather than the studio’s in-house EGO engine, WRC features all 10 WRC, WRC2 and Junior WRC vehicles from the current season, and the full 2023 rally calendar comprising over 600km of stages.

Codemasters says the new game “delivers longer, more detailed stages than previously possible”, which is encouraging news. It’s not as if Dirt Rally 2.0’s stages were underwhelming, is it?

It’s also introducing a car builder system which lets you choose the components and exterior panels on your own custom rally machine, which you can then enter into events in career mode. Although it’d take some hubris to believe you can knock together something faster than a GR YARIS Rally1.

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68 historic vehicles join the 10-strong lineup of modern machinery, and we have from now until release later in 2023 to bicker about which vehicles absolutely have to be among those 68. Obviously McRae’s Impreza. The Group B legends like the Quattro are a given. But what about the British Rally Championship classics like the Astras, Meganes, and that Golf with the gorgeous blue Sony livery?

Fans of Dirt Rally 2.0’s daily and weekly challenges will be pleased to see that WRC’s Moments fulfil a similar brief of snackable rally content updated daily, and apparently this time they’re personalised too.

What really matters is how the thing drives. Codemasters has set the high tide mark for loose surface racing physics many times over the years since the legendary Colin McRae Rally on PS1 and as recently as Dirt Rally 2.0, so we can’t see them falling short this time. Especially not now that they’ve taken to calling it an ‘advanced dynamic handling system’, which is marketing for ‘sending it round a corner feels really good’.

The announcement hints at a full release date in November 2023, since anyone who pre-orders now gets three days of early access starting on 31 October, in addition to “five VIP Rally Passes for access to additional post launch content, livery and apparel packs". It’s a videogame in 2023 - what did you expect?

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