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KevM said:
So if Codies are doing the next WRC, should it feel DiRT 4 or DiRT Rally?

Should a WRC branded title be approachable or hardcore?
What we can take away from the evolution of the Kylotonn games is that WRC Promoter has finally warmed up to a more challenging, hardcore experience. After a dozen accessible titles with a couple exceptions WRC 7 has shown that an official title does not have to be dumbed-down for mass appeal. After all, this is rally, the most extreme motorsport in the world. Following WRC 5 and 6 fans were screaming/begging for a more hardcore experience, and Kylotonn delivered. Whether you like, hate or are indifferent to WRC 7 the fact remains that it is the most hardcore and challenging official WRC title ever. Sure it has flaws, especially in the physics, but the stage design coupled with the improved physics engine has managed to deliver an immersive and challenging seat-of-your pants kife-edge rally experience, similar to what we all love about DiRT Rally.

So to sum up all my drivel in one sentence: WRC games no longer need to be accessible.

In fact, I think a more hardcore experience will sell more than any half-assed attempt and pleasing everybody.

Of course, since we have all been second-guessing each other and ourselves with the license talk, I guess you could also see it this way: Bigben/Kylotonn was kicked off the project because WRC 7 was too hardcore for WRC Promoter's tastes. Who knows?

The fact of the matter is that WRC 7 was by far the most well-received and critically-acclaimed by the userbase of the three Kylotonn WRC titles.
I think what you're saying there is that the hardcore who bought 5/6 (because it didn't sell that well so only the hardcore bought it) screamed to have it more hardcore, which made 7 more hardcore, which as far as I can tell hasn't sold either ! So making stuff hardcore is fine provided you don't want to sell many games.

I agree it's easily to modify something difficult into something easy than the other way round.

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KevM said:
dirt3joe said:
KevM said:
So if Codies are doing the next WRC, should it feel DiRT 4 or DiRT Rally?

Should a WRC branded title be approachable or hardcore?
Most on here will say hardcore because they are hardcore. But this place represents probably less than 0.1% of the userbase so its not really a good test of what gamers in general want.

I would say both :)
So Ludwig’s solution would be a good one?

Proper Sim handling and great stages, with a suite of optional assists or a gamer mode like D4, to make the game more accessible to all?

It seems to be the best way to cover all bases?
Yes and no. Yes in the respect it's a start. No in the respect that if you want to make big money the focus has to be on capturing a larger non hardcore userbase. What that needs to be in terms of features is more difficult to define. What I do know is that spending a ton of time messing around with the physics model because 0.1% of the userbase think it's not quite right isn't going to turn a game from being hardcore only focussed into a big seller.

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dirt3joe said:
KevM said:
dirt3joe said:
KevM said:
So if Codies are doing the next WRC, should it feel DiRT 4 or DiRT Rally?

Should a WRC branded title be approachable or hardcore?
Most on here will say hardcore because they are hardcore. But this place represents probably less than 0.1% of the userbase so its not really a good test of what gamers in general want.

I would say both :)
So Ludwig’s solution would be a good one?

Proper Sim handling and great stages, with a suite of optional assists or a gamer mode like D4, to make the game more accessible to all?

It seems to be the best way to cover all bases?
Yes and no. Yes in the respect it's a start. No in the respect that if you want to make big money the focus has to be on capturing a larger non hardcore userbase. What that needs to be in terms of features is more difficult to define. What I do know is that spending a ton of time messing around with the physics model because 0.1% of the userbase think it's not quite right isn't going to turn a game from being hardcore only focussed into a big seller.
Well, rally is inherently a difficult sport. On top of car control you need to focus and concentrate on your notes. So while you are physically and mentally dealing with the current corner, at the same time your mind is receiving info and digesting what will be coming on the next two or three corners. That's hardcore from whatever angle you look at it. Why would anyone want a dumbed-down accessible version of the most extreme of motorsports? That's why we have stuff like Gravel, The Crew, Forza Horizon, DiRT...

The bottom line is that point-to-point rally titles just don't sell well because it's a very niche market. Car games in general are struggling. Not even the critically-acclaimed DiRT Rally was a huge success at the box office <-- correct me if I'm wrong. I haven't looked at the sales numbers.

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dirt3joe said:
KevM said:
dirt3joe said:
KevM said:
So if Codies are doing the next WRC, should it feel DiRT 4 or DiRT Rally?

Should a WRC branded title be approachable or hardcore?
Most on here will say hardcore because they are hardcore. But this place represents probably less than 0.1% of the userbase so its not really a good test of what gamers in general want.

I would say both :)
So Ludwig’s solution would be a good one?

Proper Sim handling and great stages, with a suite of optional assists or a gamer mode like D4, to make the game more accessible to all?

It seems to be the best way to cover all bases?
Yes and no. Yes in the respect it's a start. No in the respect that if you want to make big money the focus has to be on capturing a larger non hardcore userbase. What that needs to be in terms of features is more difficult to define. What I do know is that spending a ton of time messing around with the physics model because 0.1% of the userbase think it's not quite right isn't going to turn a game from being hardcore only focussed into a big seller.
Well, rally is inherently a difficult sport. On top of car control you need to focus and concentrate on your notes. So while you are physically and mentally dealing with the current corner, at the same time your mind is receiving info and digesting what will be coming on the next two or three corners. That's hardcore from whatever angle you look at it. Why would anyone want a dumbed-down accessible version of the most extreme of motorsports? That's why we have stuff like Gravel, The Crew, Forza Horizon, DiRT...

The bottom line is that point-to-point rally titles just don't sell well because it's a very niche market. Car games in general are struggling. Not even the critically-acclaimed DiRT Rally was a huge success at the box office <-- correct me if I'm wrong. I haven't looked at the sales numbers.
All sport at the top level is difficult and requires hard work and absolute dedication. That's not what games are for though, they are to give people some experience/taste of the sport without having to have the skills of Seb Loeb. It should be an enjoyable experience that encourages them to learn more, not throw the game away in frustration.

Rally is niche. You can look on that as a drawback, or an opportunity. There's plenty of opportunity for growth if the formula is right. That's good for everyone.

Going down the sim only route just leads to a barren wasteland of hardly any games and the ones that are released are not very good because no one can afford the development costs based on poor sales. I'd rather have games that are slightly dumbed down than no games at all.

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dirt3joe said:
Doesn't really matter what steam sales say. 5 times nothing is still nothing.
What do you mean "nothing"? Five times more people bought and currently keep DiRT Rally, in their Steam library, than DiRT 4. Granted, DiRT 4 hasn't been around for as long as DiRT Rally, but DiRT Rally still pulled DiRT 4's level of sales in less than half the time, counting from when each game came out. This data is definitely something, not nothing.
dirt3joe said:
Number of people playing doesn't equal profit. Sims prevail more than more general games because the userbase is more hardcore. That doesn't mean they sell more though. WRC7 sales look awful vs. D4 and the majority seem to think that was a good sim.
Of course the number of people playing doesn't equate to profit. Assuming equal production costs, if game A sells 50 copies and game B sells 100, game B will have made more profit. But then, you're going to make a sequel and you see: 45 of the people who bought A, still play A and only 35 of the people who bought B, still play B. Which one do you think would sell better: A 2 or B 2? Would you make a sequel to a game that kept the interest of most of its audience or a sequel to a game that lost the interest of most of its audience? This example does not, precisely, apply to DiRT Rally and DiRT 4, but it shows that player investment in the game is important in making a decision on a sequel, because a lot of the people who abandoned B won't be as easily swayed to jump into B 2. In other words, your game formula B sold more, but you have fewer guarantees that it will continue to sell at the same rate because more people gave up on it, during it's lifetime on the market.

There are quite a few people who will say that stage design, especially, is better in WRC 7 than DiRT 4. I'm one of them. Also, there seems to be an agreement that WRC 7 captured the spirit of rally better than DiRT 4.
dirt3joe said:
Review ratings aren't necessarily related to whether people buy the game either.  Mainly because most reviews of these games are awful. Most peopel just get lost in a sea of information these days.
Those awful reviews and reviewers afflict every game. It's the reason that the rating, regardless of how good the game is, always goes down as time passes and more ratings pile in. It's a testament to DiRT Rally's quality that, after 16500 reviews, the game still stands at a solid 86%. DiRT 4, with only 3500 reviews (4 times less than DiRT Rally), stands at 65% and both games will only go downward from here.
dirt3joe said:
What makes games sell is good games, not good sims. A good game can be a good sim, but sims don't sell. Plenty of evidence for that.
Agreed. Good games sell, but, just because it's a sim, it won't sell? Are you sure? Gran Turismo and Forza domination, on their respective systems, anyone? Yes, I know the most hardcore guys say "Those aren't sims!" but the reality is: they lean more towards realism than arcade and they are classified as such.
dirt3joe said:
I think if we have to be real about something it's that any information we have is only partially complete. Codies with their sales numbers, focus groups and market research know far more than we do about what is likely to sell and what doesn'tt. They have access to information we don't that allows them to make more informed choices. We know nothing by comparison. Nothing we say will help them make that choice, and no information we have allows us to declare whether Dirt Rally was a "clear win" over Dirt 4 because we don't have access to either precise sales numbers or production costs.
We have enough to make, at least, an informed suggestion. I wouldn't go so far as to say: "we know nothing". We do know some things. We don't have exact sales numbers, but we have estimates that we can use to see, in general, how each game performed. Where I agree that we don't know is the company's internal finances, how much they spent making the games and how much they can afford to spend on future games. That's why I say: money is going to be the biggest player in shaping what would be a mostly obvious choice.

dirt3joe said:
One thing that I do know is that games that sell the most will be ones that appeal to a broad userbase and are fun for everyone. I don't know what that translates to exactly in terms of rally games but I know that it isn't Dirt Rally, even though I love the game a lot.
And, from what we can tell, people voted, with their wallets (the real important votes), for "Hardcore rally game".

KevM said:
So if Codies are doing the next WRC, should it feel DiRT 4 or DiRT Rally?

Should a WRC branded title be approachable or hardcore?
I'd say more hardcore than approachable. Even though WRC 7 wasn't a full-on sim, a lot of people loved the narrow, authentic, challenging stages. People seem to enjoy challenge in their rally games.

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No, we don't know anything compared to codies. Most of the stuff you put forward comes from your own personal bias rather than a cold assessment of the marketplace.

"I'd say more hardcore than approachable. Even though WRC 7 wasn't a full-on sim, a lot of people loved the narrow, authentic, challenging stages. People seem to enjoy challenge in their rally games."

So how do you explain the sales figures on VGChartz then if people loved it ? What you really mean is, you loved it and people who frequent the sites you go on loved it. Gamers in general don't appear to love it. Which is where you want to be if you want to make money and carry on making games.


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A rally game will never be a big seller, hardcore or not. Only games like GTS and FM have mass appeal and even then only 10% of the installed user base buys them. I am sure there is an expected sales ceiling for rally games that the devs are aware of. Something like one million is a resounding success, half a million is we did well and a quarter million or less means "oh crap".

What I'm saying is that by dumbing down a rally game I don't think you are necessarily widening your potential audience due to the very nature of the sport itself. 

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I have been keeping an eye out, but I haven't seen anyone from CM at Barcelona yet: was hoping there would be someone I could question about whats happening! 

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A rally game will never be a big seller, hardcore or not. Only games like GTS and FM have mass appeal and even then only 10% of the installed user base buys them. I am sure there is an expected sales ceiling for rally games that the devs are aware of. Something like one million is a resounding success, half a million is we did well and a quarter million or less means "oh ****".

What I'm saying is that by dumbing down a rally game I don't think you are necessarily widening your potential audience due to the very nature of the sport itself. 
Maybe. That sort of opinion doesn't sell large production costs to top management though. If you go for a business model that is niche then ultimately we will pay the price in terms of quality and frequency of games.

In the past the games have sold relatively well. See Dirt 2 and 3 for example. What is it that they had that made them sell ? What are the things that developers can put into rally games that will make loads of people buy them and us continue to get more and better games in the future ? I don't want developers to give up on rally because its not worth the effort. I like it too much.

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dirt3joe said:
No, we don't know anything compared to codies. Most of the stuff you put forward comes from your own personal bias rather than a cold assessment of the marketplace.
Personal bias? All I did was go to the sites everyone goes and spit out the numbers that are there. Doesn't get any colder than that. I never said we know everything about Codemasters, I even agreed with you that we don't know about their finances. You make it sound like there is absolutely no information, nothing at all, we can use to peek inside Codemasters. This is factually false, we do have some info. Is it enough for us to make the ultimate call? No. Is it enough for us to have educated opinions? Yes.

dirt3joe said:
So how do you explain the sales figures on VGChartz then if people loved it ? What you really mean is, you loved it and people who frequent the sites you go on loved it. Gamers in general don't appear to love it. Which is where you want to be if you want to make money and carry on making games.
How do I explain? Reputation and global brand recognition. WRC 5 and 6 weren't stellar games so people were skeptical going into 7. WRC, as a brand, does not have a very wide reach (mostly Europe) and has had a mixed history, so customers were hesitant, even though a better game was made. DiRT has a more positive history so people who saw DiRT 4, must have said: 'This must be decent, at least. It's DiRT and remember that last games they made? I'm going to give this a shot".

That's why I've been saying that Codemasters, if they make a WRC game, there's a significant chance they'll make use of the DiRT brand to get the attention of players in other markets.

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dirt3joe said:
Maybe. That sort of opinion doesn't sell large production costs to top management though. If you go for a business model that is niche then ultimately we will pay the price in terms of quality and frequency of games.

In the past the games have sold relatively well. See Dirt 2 and 3 for example. What is it that they had that made them sell ? What are the things that developers can put into rally games that will make loads of people buy them and us continue to get more and better games in the future ? I don't want developers to give up on rally because its not worth the effort. I like it too much.
And that's the thing: point-to-point rally titles seem to always struggle to have a good number of stages. Maybe it's the development cost and that "sales ceiling" I mentioned. WRC 7 has fewer kilómeters that WRC 6. DiRT Rally has only 280km. SLRE has 500km. Maybe Milestone was able to get a good amount of stages in the game because they would rather have lots of content rather than good graphics. Are these the limitations devs are looking at because of a "sales ceiling"? You may be right about there only being so many things a dev can do in such a niche genre.

DiRT 2/3 are not real rally titles in my book, they are multi-discipline and thus have a broader appeal. A 100% point-to-point rally game will by its very nature have a more limited potential audience.

I'll bet that the target audience is pretty set. You have a certain number of gamers that love rally and are willing to buy a rally game. But the rest of the userbase is probably impossible to reach because they just don't care about rally. Only a DiRT 1/2/3 style game will have a broader audience.

So the WRC license is realistically and practically quite limited. There is only so much a dev could hope to make from each title. And perhaps that is what conditions the investment levels in each title. No dev is going to model 150 stages for a game that sells 500,000 copies.

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dirt3joe said:
Maybe. That sort of opinion doesn't sell large production costs to top management though. If you go for a business model that is niche then ultimately we will pay the price in terms of quality and frequency of games.

In the past the games have sold relatively well. See Dirt 2 and 3 for example. What is it that they had that made them sell ? What are the things that developers can put into rally games that will make loads of people buy them and us continue to get more and better games in the future ? I don't want developers to give up on rally because its not worth the effort. I like it too much.
And that's the thing: point-to-point rally titles seem to always struggle to have a good number of stages. Maybe it's the development cost and that "sales ceiling" I mentioned. WRC 7 has fewer kilómeters that WRC 6. DiRT Rally has only 280km. SLRE has 500km. Maybe Milestone was able to get a good amount of stages in the game because they would rather have lots of content rather than good graphics. Are these the limitations devs are looking at because of a "sales ceiling"? You may be right about there only being so many things a dev can do in such a niche genre.

DiRT 2/3 are not real rally titles in my book, they are multi-discipline and thus have a broader appeal. A 100% point-to-point rally game will by its very nature have a more limited potential audience.

I'll bet that the target audience is pretty set. You have a certain number of gamers that love rally and are willing to buy a rally game. But the rest of the userbase is probably impossible to reach because they just don't care about rally. Only a DiRT 1/2/3 style game will have a broader audience.

So the WRC license is realistically and practically quite limited. There is only so much a dev could hope to make from each title. And perhaps that is what conditions the investment levels in each title. No dev is going to model 150 stages for a game that sells 500,000 copies.
I had a gut feeling that in Seb Loeb they did something like your stage, but only released selected stages. A bit like an in house your stage, but something they could simplify because the generation was in house, and they could tinker with the final outputs to make them feel a bit more unique.

A lot of the stages in Seb Loeb feel very "samey", if not quite as repeatable as in your stage.

I think the dev cost for the stages is significant. I think your stage was a good try. Maybe codies can make use of it in the future by having some your stage bits linked with some customised sections.

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dirt3joe said:
dirt3joe said:
Maybe. That sort of opinion doesn't sell large production costs to top management though. If you go for a business model that is niche then ultimately we will pay the price in terms of quality and frequency of games.

In the past the games have sold relatively well. See Dirt 2 and 3 for example. What is it that they had that made them sell ? What are the things that developers can put into rally games that will make loads of people buy them and us continue to get more and better games in the future ? I don't want developers to give up on rally because its not worth the effort. I like it too much.
And that's the thing: point-to-point rally titles seem to always struggle to have a good number of stages. Maybe it's the development cost and that "sales ceiling" I mentioned. WRC 7 has fewer kilómeters that WRC 6. DiRT Rally has only 280km. SLRE has 500km. Maybe Milestone was able to get a good amount of stages in the game because they would rather have lots of content rather than good graphics. Are these the limitations devs are looking at because of a "sales ceiling"? You may be right about there only being so many things a dev can do in such a niche genre.

DiRT 2/3 are not real rally titles in my book, they are multi-discipline and thus have a broader appeal. A 100% point-to-point rally game will by its very nature have a more limited potential audience.

I'll bet that the target audience is pretty set. You have a certain number of gamers that love rally and are willing to buy a rally game. But the rest of the userbase is probably impossible to reach because they just don't care about rally. Only a DiRT 1/2/3 style game will have a broader audience.

So the WRC license is realistically and practically quite limited. There is only so much a dev could hope to make from each title. And perhaps that is what conditions the investment levels in each title. No dev is going to model 150 stages for a game that sells 500,000 copies.
I had a gut feeling that in Seb Loeb they did something like your stage, but only released selected stages. A bit like an in house your stage, but something they could simplify because the generation was in house, and they could tinker with the final outputs to make them feel a bit more unique.

A lot of the stages in Seb Loeb feel very "samey", if not quite as repeatable as in your stage.

I think the dev cost for the stages is significant. I think your stage was a good try. Maybe codies can make use of it in the future by having some your stage bits linked with some customised sections.
SLRE stages are all real based on GPS data. They feel "samey" because they didn't bother to spend time/money in trackside artwork or graphics optimization.

I agree that modeling stages is probably the biggest challenge devs face in a rally game. And with such limited return in the form of profit it is just not feasible to model 1000 or 2000 km of unique stages.

It's time to make a game engine that can auto-model stages based on satellite data. Then the artist team cleans it up, pace notes are added and viola, a new stage. 

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dirt3joe said:
dirt3joe said:
Maybe. That sort of opinion doesn't sell large production costs to top management though. If you go for a business model that is niche then ultimately we will pay the price in terms of quality and frequency of games.

In the past the games have sold relatively well. See Dirt 2 and 3 for example. What is it that they had that made them sell ? What are the things that developers can put into rally games that will make loads of people buy them and us continue to get more and better games in the future ? I don't want developers to give up on rally because its not worth the effort. I like it too much.
And that's the thing: point-to-point rally titles seem to always struggle to have a good number of stages. Maybe it's the development cost and that "sales ceiling" I mentioned. WRC 7 has fewer kilómeters that WRC 6. DiRT Rally has only 280km. SLRE has 500km. Maybe Milestone was able to get a good amount of stages in the game because they would rather have lots of content rather than good graphics. Are these the limitations devs are looking at because of a "sales ceiling"? You may be right about there only being so many things a dev can do in such a niche genre.

DiRT 2/3 are not real rally titles in my book, they are multi-discipline and thus have a broader appeal. A 100% point-to-point rally game will by its very nature have a more limited potential audience.

I'll bet that the target audience is pretty set. You have a certain number of gamers that love rally and are willing to buy a rally game. But the rest of the userbase is probably impossible to reach because they just don't care about rally. Only a DiRT 1/2/3 style game will have a broader audience.

So the WRC license is realistically and practically quite limited. There is only so much a dev could hope to make from each title. And perhaps that is what conditions the investment levels in each title. No dev is going to model 150 stages for a game that sells 500,000 copies.
I had a gut feeling that in Seb Loeb they did something like your stage, but only released selected stages. A bit like an in house your stage, but something they could simplify because the generation was in house, and they could tinker with the final outputs to make them feel a bit more unique.

A lot of the stages in Seb Loeb feel very "samey", if not quite as repeatable as in your stage.

I think the dev cost for the stages is significant. I think your stage was a good try. Maybe codies can make use of it in the future by having some your stage bits linked with some customised sections.
SLRE stages are all real based on GPS data. They feel "samey" because they didn't bother to spend time/money in trackside artwork or graphics optimization.

I agree that modeling stages is probably the biggest challenge devs face in a rally game. And with such limited return in the form of profit it is just not feasible to model 1000 or 2000 km of unique stages.

It's time to make a game engine that can auto-model stages based on satellite data. Then the artist team cleans it up, pace notes are added and viola, a new stage. 
Not sure whether satellite would work because of stuff like trees getting in the way of the road surface. Maybe something like street view combined with GPS satttelite might do the job though. Certainly if you can't up sales you could decrease production costs. No clue how far that would get you in terms of cash. I do think your stage can get a lot better if they get the opportunity to take it further. It wasn't far off. Just a bit too repetitive.

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Usually it's more roads with less detail or less roads with more detail. Unfortunately, the time required doesn't allow for both. There are some interesting technologies coming for terrain mapping but they still need more work. Codemasters did the stages in DiRT Rally, one-to-one, and I'm sure that must have been a challenge to the environment team. One thing is doing a 5 km racetrack, another is modelling 15 km of point-to-point road, complete with accurate elevation, plus landmarks, plus surrouding landscape.

I know that it's annoying to do that whole "one stage, then split" technique but it wouldn't surprise me if it was used again. Your Stage needs more work to be a feasable alternative, it still makes the roads too bland and, unfortunately, you run into repeating tiles (sometimes, the same tile but only run in reverse) a lot more often than you should.

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I know that it's annoying to do that whole "one stage, then split" technique but it wouldn't surprise me if it was used again. Your Stage needs more work to be a feasable alternative, it still makes the roads too bland and, unfortunately, you run into repeating tiles (sometimes, the same tile but only run in reverse) a lot more often than you should.
"One stage, then split" is a ridiculous approach. It's a marketing gimmick that took DR from 24 to 72 stages. In reality DR has 12 stages. Each of them reversed (which is a valid method IMO) gives you 24. The rest are just cutouts.

I am vehemently opposed to the "One stage, then split" approach. There is nothing worse than running one stage, and then in the next one the exact same thing but shorter. No way, José.

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I know that it's annoying to do that whole "one stage, then split" technique but it wouldn't surprise me if it was used again. Your Stage needs more work to be a feasable alternative, it still makes the roads too bland and, unfortunately, you run into repeating tiles (sometimes, the same tile but only run in reverse) a lot more often than you should.
"One stage, then split" is a ridiculous approach. It's a marketing gimmick that took DR from 24 to 72 stages. In reality DR has 12 stages. Each of them reversed (which is a valid method IMO) gives you 24. The rest are just cutouts.

I am vehemently opposed to the "One stage, then split" approach. There is nothing worse than running one stage, and then in the next one the exact same thing but shorter. No way, José.
I agree with you. I'd definitely like to see more actually scratch-made stages, but could the team realistically do it? With about 3 years, minimum, yes. Less, I don't see it, unless there's cool new tech involved.

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I know that it's annoying to do that whole "one stage, then split" technique but it wouldn't surprise me if it was used again. Your Stage needs more work to be a feasable alternative, it still makes the roads too bland and, unfortunately, you run into repeating tiles (sometimes, the same tile but only run in reverse) a lot more often than you should.
"One stage, then split" is a ridiculous approach. It's a marketing gimmick that took DR from 24 to 72 stages. In reality DR has 12 stages. Each of them reversed (which is a valid method IMO) gives you 24. The rest are just cutouts.

I am vehemently opposed to the "One stage, then split" approach. There is nothing worse than running one stage, and then in the next one the exact same thing but shorter. No way, José.
I agree with you. I'd definitely like to see more actually scratch-made stages, but could the team realistically do it? With about 3 years, minimum, yes. Less, I don't see it, unless there's cool new tech involved.
And who would spend three years making stages for a game that will sell 500,000 copies. 

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What they should do is to keep expanding. Keep the old stages from each game, but add on new stages with each sequel. It isn't the best approach but it would result in a large collection of great stages in the end

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A lot of the stages in Seb Loeb feel very "samey", if not quite as repeatable as in your stage.


Interesting view. I find the opposite. DR stages feel same to me because they're made from a single real world stage. SLRE has 4 unique stages per rally. Monte actually captures the variety of the real rally. There's a big difference between Shipmans and Hyde's creek. 
 Standing in the drizzle reading my WRC programme while waiting for the first car last year I note how many drivers comment not just on why they like the rally in particular but how a certain stage, even particular corner is their favourite. A big deal was made of how much of last week's corsica was new. Most of the time drivers are not seeing a stage for the first time.
 Personally I'm not too fussed about having genuine WRC stages. Yes, it's nice to have a go at the same one I've just watched the professionals take but as long as it's good I'll take any section of road or even fictional ones. 
 Gravel has an interesting approach where they've started with real world locations, then sent the designers and artists in to make stages/circuits.
 

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So far on PS4 I have
Dirt Rally
Dirt 4
Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo
Gravel
WRC6
WRC7

Milestone have produced two games that do what they say on the tin. I'll buy their next one
Kylotton have shown a big improvement from 6 to 7 (didn't;t even bother with 5). I'll buy Vrally 4.
Codemasters could make the best rally sim ever or the worst since June. I'm excited to see what they do but won't preorder like I did with Dirt 4.
So, active players may not directly earn money but they do help sell the next game. 2 years on I'm still hooked on SLRE and Dirt Rally. Hardly ever touch Dirt 4 because the handling sucks, not because of the stages.

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I didn't like DiRT 4 because the stages got surprisingly repetitive and the handling was not the best. If their next game is another in this series, I won't pre-order. If it's something else, well, we'll have to see what that is.

I'm watching V-Rally 4 closely because I like Kylotton's progress as a dev.

@LudwigVonMises I remembered something important, that will help boost sales of a WRC game. It's a problem with me when I argue, I end up forgetting good points. The combination of license and dev. Kylotton was, basically, unknown untill they burst into the scene with WRC 5. People didn't know what to expect from a WRC title by Kylotton, but hey, it was WRC, so they tried. And they, probably, weren't pleased with WRC 5. This meant Kylotton had to fight an uphill battle to win gamers on their sequels. A WRC game, with a name like Codemasters associated with it, is a different story. Even if gamers never played all of their work, Codemasters has a solid reputation built around quality rally games (Colin Mcrae Rally) and then DiRT. Doesn't mean that Codemasters will, necessarily, ace a WRC title, but gamers will think that 'Yes, they most likely will', compared to NamelessStudio5 or something. A game company's pedigree in the genre will help sell.

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I personally loved the stages in DR and found the equivalents of Sweet Lamb etc in SLRE were dreadful in comparison. But I’m now realising that other than a few recognisable parts of stages such as the Sweet Lamb water splash, the summit of Col de Turini and that hairpin out the forest in Ouninpohja, most of the stage mileage was unrecognisable to me as a mere gamer and not an experienced rally driver. I’ve mentioned on here before that places like Grizedale forest or Moll’s Gap etc. are real rally locations, just without any WRC licencing hazards to get past but really the same applies.

WRC title or not I think codmasters’ next rally title can still appeal to the hardcore users in terms of the stage content if they just quickly whip up some stage km, maybe with yourstage, and use their existing database of stage environment (trees, fields road surface etc) and so long as they avoid the repetitiveness of D4 who’s gonna complain about a lack of realism to the stages?

My point being.... If codemasters said “right we’ve got the budget and resources to do the same thing we did in DR but it’ll have to be 6 new locations” I think they’d be better off reducing the time-consuming fiddly details of getting stages to fully represent a real piece of road and putting more effort into doing 2x, 5x, 10x or whatever the total stage mileage which lacks accuracy but still has the well designed environments - even if the environment is a bit copy and paste, the path the road takes is of greater importance to the feeling of variety. It would also avoid D4’s misconception of ‘infinite stage KMs’

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er185 said:
Bigben has said this about the next WRC game

Hi there.
As you know, the Kylotonn Team has grown a lot in the past few years, even opening a second studio. They are able to handle different projects at the same time, but for 2018, let's celebrate the come-back of V-Rally 4. 
More information regarding any potential WRC sequel will be given at a later date.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/658700/discussions/0/1698293703768501966/
My interpretation of this comment is BigBen would like and is capable of producing WRC8, but ultimately the licensing is out of their hands. The most telling fact is the early end date of WRC eSport Championship makes me believe the license is going elsewhere.  To whom I have no idea.

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