WRC 3 Preview (multi)

Every so often, events like Gamescom allow you to sit down and talk to some of the producers and hear about their vision, their hard work and their enthusiasm. This year, I got do that with Sebastien Pellicano, a producer for Italian studio Milestone. The studio is currently hard at work putting the finishing touches on WRC 3, a rally racing game featuring the FIA World Rally Championship license. Just in case you haven’t heard of Milestone; they know what they’re doing when it comes to racing games. Every game they’ve released since 1995 has been a racing title, so needless to say I was eager to find out about their upcoming title, due out in October for X360, PS3, Vita and PCs.

In development for two years, WRC 3 aims to faithfully recreate the sport as well as provide a large fun factor. To this end, the game includes every actual WRC car out there, including some historic ones. All the tracks have also been recreated using real life geometry and measurements, which allows you to experience key moments just like the real WRC drivers do. Those real life drivers, including eight time world champion Sébastien Loeb, also collaborated with Milestone on the game, providing feedback at various stages of the game’s development to make sure things felt right. It’s that type of accuracy and attention to detail that will appeal to simulation fans, but the game also features a lot of driving aids and automated settings that allow you to jump right in. That is a big help if you, like me, aren’t that great a race driver.

Adding to the fun are a couple of diverse race modes, including a drift challenge, a mode where you race a helicopter around the track and the opportunity to break obstacles to allow you to find a faster and better path. This type of destruction can also be seen when wrecking your car, as Pellicano mentioned that ‘extreme accidents’ are an important part of the sport’s appeal and thus had to be included as well.

What was also important for the development team at Milestone was community feedback. Listening to fans of the series, they refined the parts of the game that they got positive feedback on and got rid of parts that didn’t resonate as well. Those parts were then rebuilt from scratch, and that includes a brand new graphics engine that lifts the series towards visuals that can compete with some of the best looking racers out there.

For those of us who can’t get enough of head to head competition, WRC 3 will feature extensive online modes for up to 16 players. You’ll be able to compete in single stages, championships or in 1 on 1 competition. If that doesn’t quench your thirst for competition, the game also features online leaderboards for online and offline play and manages competition between gamers through the wrc.com website as well.

At the end of our talk, I was able to play with a beta version of the game and the experience was definitely a promising one. With all the driving aids turned off, it was hard to steer your car but at the same time the game gave you a sense that blazing across the track is entirely possible with a little more practice. Good, balanced controls are key in games like this, and it feels like Milestone nailed that part of the game. Sebastien Pellicano feels they have the best rally game ever on their hands here, and we’ll find out in October if he’s right.

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