Developer Interview: We Chat with Codemasters about DiRT 5
We had the opportunity to fire some questions over to Codemasters about the upcoming DiRT 5. Robert Karp, the Development Director at Codemasters who has worked on the likes of Driveclub, as well as the Motorstorm and WRC series at Evolution Studios, was kind enough to answer our questions. So without further-ado, here’s our interview with Robert Karp of UK based developer, Codemasters.
Hi Mike or Robert, firstly I hope you are well in this crazy world and thank you for having this interview, as a long-standing fan of the DiRT series since its Colin McRae days, this means a lot.
For any of those that are unfamiliar with the DiRT series, please let them know what this series is all about and what makes it different from other racers out there?
DiRT is an off-road racing franchise, DiRT Rally is the rally focused and serious brother to DIRT 5 the amplified off-road racing experience that is focused on fun and variety, whilst being easy to pick up and play but hard to master.
With DiRT 5 being cross-generation, were there any challenges out of the ordinary to develop a game that will be the best it can be, not matter the platform?
Yes! Developing for so many different formats is challenging, but the support teams at Codemasters have been fantastic in supporting us, making this happen. Developing on new hardware is always a challenge, as the SDK is also being developed whilst you’re working on it, so platform features aren’t always ready to go even when you get the kits, but the team loves working on new hardware and seeing what it is capable of delivering.
I think it’s great that owners of the PS4 and Xbox One version will get a free next-gen upgrade when available, but will there be a time limit on when that upgrade can be applied?
We were quick to acknowledge we shouldn’t be selling the game twice to people in the same console family, so that’s PS4 -> PS5 and Xbox One -> Xbox Series S/X. Because of this commitment it is not a time limited offer, but it’s important to note that if you buy the digital only next gen consoles, you need to have the digital version of the game in order to be eligible for the free upgrade.
It was quite recently announced that Codemasters have acquired a 5-year WRC license deal and while it’s expected that it will be applied to the DiRT Rally series, can we expect it to be used in this DiRT series too and if so, what might be the differences between the two franchises of how the license will be utilised?
It’s super exciting for us to get the WRC license, we can’t wait to tell you all more details about what we have planned but our focus is all on DIRT 5.
Going back to DiRT 5, in one of the most recent trailers, a new Vampire mode was teased, presumably for Playgrounds. Are you able to tell us a little of what this Vampire mode is all about, will it kind of like be an Infection mode of sorts?
All I can say is, keep your eyes peeled for more info coming soon. We still have a couple of things to reveal.
Speaking of Playgrounds, I’ve been playing around with this mode in the preview build and I was pleasantly surprised of how well the creation tools work using a controller. This is something that we’d probably more likely to see on PC using a keyboard and mouse. Are there any differences between Playgrounds on console to that of the PC?
We wanted to make a seamless experience on both PC and console, so building Playgrounds on either platform is identical It’s important players can swap between creating on PC and console and not have to relearn the creation tools!
In Playgrounds, we know some of the modes will be Gate Crasher, Gymkhana and Smash Attack, as well as the two Arizona and Cape Town Stadium maps. I love what’s there and it’s going to be fun seeing what the community creates, but can we expect to see even more modes, maps and tools added to Playgrounds as a later date?
We have a really strong plan to support the game in general post launch, but especially so in Playgrounds. We have lots of things we want to add, from features to objects and everything in-between. DIRT 5’s Playground mode is a great way to find new content every time you launch the game and we want to continue to add to that to give a living breathing game that is offering constantly expanding content. Playgrounds also allow us to do some slightly more fun/crazy things…
I know it’s unlikely, perhaps due to potential technical difficulties making the port, but do you think we’ll ever see either of the DiRT franchises on the Nintendo Switch one day? As a big fan of the series, I’d love to play them on the go and I think if it can be done, something like Playgrounds would work great with the touch-screen capabilities of the Switch?
Would love to do a Nintendo Switch version of DIRT 5, unfortunately we don’t have any plans to do so… but never say never!
Speaking of ports and touch-screens, to get even further ahead of myself, do you think there’s ever a chance of a mobile/tablet companion app for Playgrounds that allows you to export your creations into the console version?
Something else we’d love to do! Would be great to build Playgrounds, check out which ones are popular to play later, see how many likes your Playgrounds have got, and many more things we could do with it! There are no plans currently, though.
Before we come to an end to my questions, with the PS5 and Xbox Series X just around the corner, what games outside of Codemasters are you looking forward to most of all on next-gen consoles?
I really liked the look of Deathloop and in a similar but different vein I think 12 minutes looked interesting. I will also be checking out Destruction All Stars…
Well that concludes my questions, thank you so much for taking the time to answer them. As practically a life-long fan of Codemasters since the 80’s from my days of the Spectrum 128k and the Commodore Amiga, this opportunity means a lot. Thanks for continuing to make great games and please stay safe.
Well that concludes our interview with Robert Karp, thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions, we really appreciate it. DiRT 5 will release from November 6th for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It will then be a launch title for Xbox Series X/S and will release for PS5 this year (hopefully also as a launch title), then a Google Stadia release will follow during early 2021.