Even for someone like me that wouldn’t consider themselves a true racing fan; I’ve always found excitement watching rally cars effortlessly drift around corners, kicking up dirt and mud in the process, and soaring through the air on a jump leading into the finish line. WRC 6 is the official racing game of the World Rally Championship, continuing the tradition of the series that began in 2001 from now defunct Evolution Studios. After releasing the first game on the current generation of systems last year, developer Kylotonn is aiming to refine the game based on community feedback.
Not aiming to redesign the wheel, the goal in WRC 6, is to improve the experience and critical systems to produce the most fun rally racing game that the community (and I’m sure the developers too) want to play. The first notable improvement is the updated visuals, including nicer looking shrubbery and trees around the tracks, as well as an improved lightning and particle system. The audience watching the race will be much more populated than ever before in the series, without sacrificing in-game performance. Kylotonn discussed how using a new system to develop the roads; they were able to improve the performance and how the cars interact on the surface with a more realistic suspension system. On the audio front, almost all of the game’s audio has been resampled to help elevate WRC 6 to the next level.
Previously, if you drove along the edge of the road, your rally car performed the same, so in essence asphalt vs. pebble encrusted dirt didn’t matter. In WRC 6, the edge of the track transitions better visually, but also feels different to drive across. If you have two wheels on the dirt and two wheels on the road, you can feel how it affects the car's power and ability to turn properly. Use this to your advantage, as you maintain the perfect edge on corners, or use it to give other vehicles a slight tap and see if you can nudge the driver into making a mistake. It’s dirty racing for sure, but we are all guilty of doing this every now and again. Just be cautious, as the edge of the track isn’t always safe, and during the hands-on demo I spotted multiple spots that were so close to rocks that could do some serious damage to your car. Along with this, Kylotonn has redesigned the damage model, not only visually, but how the game detects and determines the type and severity of the damage. This will come into play the most in the career mode, as you must worry about repairing the damage or it will close you in the long run.
WRC 6 is still highly accessible, even with all of the changes to the game that may appear like it is slowly becoming a simulation. Remember, this is coming from someone that has only dipped his toes into the series in the past, and I found the game to be highly enjoyable. Although I fared quite well when the controller was placed in my hands, feathering between the gas and the brake pedal to get around tight turns and narrowing escaping going head first into a barricade; crashing does not mean always mean the end of the race. I’ve managed to successfully recover from a crash and still place high enough on the leaderboards.
Right before our meeting with Kylotonn, it was announced that Rally China would be making a return to the WRC for the first time since 1999. Fans will be excited to hear that it will also be added to the game, marking the 14th rally to be included in the game.
WRC 6 is set to release on October 7, 2016, for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
What WRC 6 was like in VR
by Marcus Jones
There's something to be said about the sweeping VR revolution, especially after I had a chance to sit down (literally) and play WRC 6 in a fully VR hydraulic driving setup with an Oculus Rift.
It was one of the most thrilling experiences I've had with video games.
I'm a fan of racing games, but not to the extent where it's the only genre I play. However, I've definitely spent my time with them and I've always been drawn to the rally games where you spend your time traversing across the landscape. Nothing I've played before, on console or PC, could really compare to experiencing it with the Oculus Rift. The ability to look around at my surroundings inside my rally car, speeding (and sliding) my way around the track, or just simply catching air off of a jump was phenomenal in a way that only experiencing it in real life can surpass. Especially when my chair was reacting to my piss poor driving skills with all of the bumps, spinouts, and more I was dealing with. Hey, it's whole different ballgame playing with an intense wheel and pedal combo and a VR headset.
On a fundamental level, playing a game in VR is much more enthralling and immersive experience. Granted, that was not the case 20 years ago, but with the advent of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, it's opening up a new opportunity within the gaming community. There are certainly going to be hits and misses along that new frontier, but based on my time with WRC 6, if more games can capture the feel, the thrill, of what they aim to recreate, I'm certain VR will be a success. I know I'm definitely hooked.