EA Sports WRC is Codemasters’ new Dirt Rally successor, coming out in November

EA Sports WRC Hyundai i20 Rally1 header

EA and Codemasters have announced EA Sports WRC, their licensed successor to Dirt Rally, coming to PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC in just a couple of months. The game’s official launch date will be on 3rd November, but pre-orders can gain early access from 31st October.

EA Sports WRC promises to combine the expertise of the Dirt Rally team with the WRC license for the first time, with 18 official FIA World Rally Championship locations across tarmac, gravel and snow, the current crop of WRC, WRC2 and Junior WRC vehicles, and 68 of rallying’ most iconic historic cars.

One significant change compared to Dirt Rally 2 is that EA Sports WRC will use Unreal Engine 5 for the first time, combining Epic’s  latest generation game engine with Codemasters’ custom physics engine, which has evolved from Dirt Rally 2. There’s a new Dynamic Handling System that can be personalised to help players master the various off-road challenges, which has been designed with feedback from drivers – notably former FIA Junior WRC title contender and 2023 FIA European Rally Championship ERC3 champion Jon Armstong is now a game designer on this game.

Alongside the visuals and handling, there’s also revised audio, with each car replicated in higher fidelity than before, and with new pace notes – there’s new simplified commands for rookie drivers.

Another new feature is the Builder, which lets players create their own modern-era rally car, picking from chassis, body shells and then customising the interior and exterior with a full livery editor. You’ll be able to take this through the career and the World Championship.

EA Sports WRC Ford Fiesta Rally3

EA Sports WRC has been in the works for quite some time now. The license was held up until the end of 2022 by Nacon and KT Racing, who rounded things off with WRC Generations, however we knew that their tenure would be coming to an end since 2020, when Codemasters announced they would acquire the license.

Launching back in 2019, Dirt Rally 2.0 has ended up as a marvellous swan song for the venerable Colin McRae Rally brand, which started way back in 1998, morphed into Dirt for the Xbox 360 and PS3 era, and then splintered into the more hard-nosed rally sim of Dirt Rally and more arcade rampaging of Dirt 5.

With our Dirt Rally 2.0 review, Dom said, “Just as Codemaster’s competitors were starting to creep towards the digital rallying crown, Dirt Rally 2.0 puts them firmly back in the rear-view mirror. Utterly convincing, enthralling and punishing, Dirt Rally 2 is an exquisite racing sim.”

Can they pull the same trick again?

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