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My main issue is games with rally cars in; are they rally games? Is Forza Horizon 3? GTA V has some rally-clone cars too... it's tricky!
True. If we're just talking pure rally we get down to Codemasters (DiRT), Kylotonn (WRC) and Milestone (SLRE). That's three studios with the possible addition of SMS and the possible removal of Milestone. So let's say three.

The franchises are DiRT, WRC and SLRE. Again, take Milestone out of the picture and we're down to just DiRT and WRC with the possible addition of an SMS game. And V-Rally 4 will have point-to-point rally and will definitely compete with the DiRT franchise which is also multi-discipline.

So yeah, looking at it that way narrows down the list quite a bit. But with Codemasters, Kylotonn, SMS and Milestone all being candidates for making rally games, I think where the WRC license ends up will have a huge impact on all four of these studios' plans for the next five years.

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FH3 has sold a batch but it must have cost a small fortune to produce.

The stuff about SMS is interesting. You are right. It was implied that it was a relatively short time to release of information yet we have heard nothing for about 6 months. Something weird there.

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The big hole in the theory of BigBen still holding the WRC rights is the e-sports rush. Why would they be in a hurry to end them in August, if they were going to continue holding the license past that point? Why not run the championship all the way to the end of the year, like previous seasons? If the next game was just going to be released later, then more time to do the championship and keep WRC 7 relevant for longer, right? But no, instead, let's end the championship just before the September/October release window of the games. Something is odd there, isn't it?

Codemasters are the prime candidate. They have the most dev time available and the most time to have negotiated and signed a deal.

SMS are a possibility but less so. I doubt they were thinking about a WRC game, while still making PCARS 2 and with the whole F&F contract. PCARS 2's dissapointing sales might have made SMS change their mind and pursue other ways to get their money back, but they wouldn't have started negotiations before they saw the PCARS 2 sales results.

Also a point about the WRC legends idea: why record Elena in his current team's race suit and helmet? A legend would have looked better with what they wore when they were absolutely cleaning house.

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The big hole in the theory of BigBen still holding the WRC rights is the e-sports rush. Why would they be in a hurry to end them in August, if they were going to continue holding the license past that point? Why not run the championship all the way to the end of the year, like previous seasons? If the next game was just going to be released later, then more time to do the championship and keep WRC 7 relevant for longer, right? But no, instead, let's end the championship just before the September/October release window of the games. Something is odd there, isn't it?

Codemasters are the prime candidate. They have the most dev time available and the most time to have negotiated and signed a deal.

SMS are a possibility but less so. I doubt they were thinking about a WRC game, while still making PCARS 2 and with the whole F&F contract. PCARS 2's dissapointing sales might have made SMS change their mind and pursue other ways to get their money back, but they wouldn't have started negotiations before they saw the PCARS 2 sales results.

Also a point about the WRC legends idea: why record Elena in his current team's race suit and helmet? A legend would have looked better with what they wore when they were absolutely cleaning house.
It's definitely a strong hint and the fact that it is timed to end exactly 5 years after the licence was announced ? Mostly businesses are formulaic. You can see what they do in the future based on the past. The reason for that is conceptually it reduces unknowns and gives you benchmarks to work against (are we at the same point this year as we were in the last?). They won't change something that worked previously unless there is good reason. Why would you take the risk ? So why did they compress the season this year ?

The fact that they have changed the schedule from the previous one is interesting. They may have done just in case they did not get the new licence, but I would guess the negotiations were over by the time they announced the dates.

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BigBen doesn't have the licence anymore, why the studio they have 25% part of it will make a rival for a WRC game that the licence isn't cheap to have it and don't use it. 
And the rush of the esports is the same, it is because the licence is expiring.
Codemasters in my opinion is the only studio ready to launch a game this year, and it makes sense the radio silence of D4.

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BigBen doesn't have the licence anymore, why the studio they have 25% part of it will make a rival for a WRC game that the licence isn't cheap to have it and don't use it. 
And the rush of the esports is the same, it is because the licence is expiring.
Codemasters in my opinion is the only studio ready to launch a game this year, and it makes sense the radio silence of D4.

The point of RallyDriven is a bit of thorn on the side of this theory. Could they be planning a World RX game? The partnership seems to be there. At the same time, the WRC has a larger audience than World RX so, maybe if they had to choose between one or the other, the WRC would make more sense, in terms of potential copies you can sell on a single license?

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BigBen doesn't have the licence anymore, why the studio they have 25% part of it will make a rival for a WRC game that the licence isn't cheap to have it and don't use it. 
And the rush of the esports is the same, it is because the licence is expiring.
Codemasters in my opinion is the only studio ready to launch a game this year, and it makes sense the radio silence of D4.

The point of RallyDriven is a bit of thorn on the side of this theory. Could they be planning a World RX game? The partnership seems to be there. At the same time, the WRC has a larger audience than World RX so, maybe if they had to choose between one or the other, the WRC would make more sense, in terms of potential copies you can sell on a single license?
The WRX might be growing as a sport and all, but I just don't see it's nowhere near as popular to carry a game of it's own at this point. Def not a full price one.

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bogani said:
BigBen doesn't have the licence anymore, why the studio they have 25% part of it will make a rival for a WRC game that the licence isn't cheap to have it and don't use it. 
And the rush of the esports is the same, it is because the licence is expiring.
Codemasters in my opinion is the only studio ready to launch a game this year, and it makes sense the radio silence of D4.

The point of RallyDriven is a bit of thorn on the side of this theory. Could they be planning a World RX game? The partnership seems to be there. At the same time, the WRC has a larger audience than World RX so, maybe if they had to choose between one or the other, the WRC would make more sense, in terms of potential copies you can sell on a single license?
The WRX might be growing as a sport and all, but I just don't see it's nowhere near as popular to carry a game of it's own at this point. Def not a full price one.
The closest figures, I managed to find, to directly compare are from 2014:

RX Sweden - 3.3 million viewers (most viewed round of that season)
WRC Monte Carlo - 86 million viewers

Even if World RX quintupled its figures in 2017:

RX - 16 million viewers
WRC 2017 - 120 million viewers

There's just no contest. I'm sure this is why the World RX license is easier to attain and why they won't mind being mixed up with other disciplines in the games.

If Codemasters decided to negociate a license to base a game out of it, WRC is where the sales will be.

EDIT:
Let me say one more thing about WRX: it's a young championship and there are major regulation changes coming in 2020, changes with the potential to drive audience away. A long term investment on WRX may not be a good idea.

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Yeah I don’t understand why we haven’t thad the full WRX circuits roster on DR & D4, maybe they couldn’t commit as much development time to it? The WRX promotors must have been pretty annoyed with that outcome though.

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I think Codemasters has attended most of the events with their rig set up. It would make sense to have the full calendar,

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So this would grow a possibility where the WRC license should be handed to its fittest and safest hands which is Codemasters.. The WRC license seems to have ended with BigBen and KT because they are now working on V-Rally 4.. We should not also ignore the realism impact that DR and D4 had on a lot of casual players and rally fans.

I am pretty hopeful CM has a lot to show with WRC license as they did with F1 supposedly.

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The decision for the DiRT team should be simple. They developed two games, DiRT Rally and DiRT 4, each with a different approach to what DiRT should be.

DiRT Rally was a laser-focused rally title, with real stages, replicated one-to-one and a learning curve that was both demanding and unforgiving. It also had other disciplines but they were just a sprinkle over the rally content.

DiRT 4 was a multi-discipline game with a more casual approach and a lot more content variety, particularly rallycross, in terms of other disciplines.

DiRT Rally is regarded as one of the best games the company has ever made and still pulls mostly positive reviews to this day. DiRT 4 struggles to shake off a mixed impression.

These facts should tell Codemasters two things:
1 - Players prefer a focused title.
2 - When given the choice, the preferred discipline, of the majority, is rally.

What license would allow Codemasters to deliver the razor-focused rally experience with up-to-date content? WRC. It's a serious investment but, if the past has made them learn anything, it's the one with the highest return potential.

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The decision for the DiRT team should be simple. They developed two games, DiRT Rally and DiRT 4, each with a different approach to what DiRT should be.

DiRT Rally was a laser-focused rally title, with real stages, replicated one-to-one and a learning curve that was both demanding and unforgiving. It also had other disciplines but they were just a sprinkle over the rally content.

DiRT 4 was a multi-discipline game with a more casual approach and a lot more content variety, particularly rallycross, in terms of other disciplines.

DiRT Rally is regarded as one of the best games the company has ever made and still pulls mostly positive reviews to this day. DiRT 4 struggles to shake off a mixed impression.

These facts should tell Codemasters two things:
1 - Players prefer a focused title.
2 - When given the choice, the preferred discipline, of the majority, is rally.

What license would allow Codemasters to deliver the razor-focused rally experience with up-to-date content? WRC. It's a serious investment but, if the past has made them learn anything, it's the one with the highest return potential.
So far I see Dirt 4 sales at approx. 600k vs. Dirt Rally at approx. 700K on vgchartz. So ultimately if Dirt Rally was that much better than Dirt 4 it wasn't reflected in the numbers that count.

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dirt3joe said:
The decision for the DiRT team should be simple. They developed two games, DiRT Rally and DiRT 4, each with a different approach to what DiRT should be.

DiRT Rally was a laser-focused rally title, with real stages, replicated one-to-one and a learning curve that was both demanding and unforgiving. It also had other disciplines but they were just a sprinkle over the rally content.

DiRT 4 was a multi-discipline game with a more casual approach and a lot more content variety, particularly rallycross, in terms of other disciplines.

DiRT Rally is regarded as one of the best games the company has ever made and still pulls mostly positive reviews to this day. DiRT 4 struggles to shake off a mixed impression.

These facts should tell Codemasters two things:
1 - Players prefer a focused title.
2 - When given the choice, the preferred discipline, of the majority, is rally.

What license would allow Codemasters to deliver the razor-focused rally experience with up-to-date content? WRC. It's a serious investment but, if the past has made them learn anything, it's the one with the highest return potential.
So far I see Dirt 4 sales at approx. 600k vs. Dirt Rally at approx. 700K on vgchartz. So ultimately if Dirt Rally was that much better than Dirt 4 it wasn't reflected in the numbers that count.
Remember, only physical copies in VGChartz.

Digital sales tell another story. The sales DiRT 4 achieved in 9 months, DiRT Rally did it in 4. Currently, DiRT Rally also has five times more owners than DiRT 4. As we speak, more people are playing DiRT Rally than DiRT 4. This is not just a momentary spike, the values over time show this is a trend. This is Steam data.

Also, some bits from Metacritic (these are user scores, not critic scores):

DiRT 4 on PS4: 7.6 (rated 121 times)
DiRT 4 on XONE: 6.7 (rated 45 times)
DiRT 4 on PC: 5.8 (rated 73 times)

DiRT Rally on PS4: 8.0 (rated 242 times)
DiRT Rally on XONE: 8.0 (rated 74 times)
DiRT Rally on PC: 8.7 (rated 336 times)

Important to note, with regard to future planning: sales <  customer reviews.

You may be able to bait people into getting in once. The next time, either you listen to feedback and give players what they want or you will sell less. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

We have to be real here, DiRT 4 is a polarizing game, it either hits well or gets blasted. DiRT Rally is more consistently praised across the board. Let's not illude ourselves, it's a clear win.

To me, the only reason to stick to World RX, and make a sequel to DiRT 4, is not having enough money to try higher.

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Doesn't really matter what steam sales say. 5 times nothing is still nothing.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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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?

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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?
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 :)

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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.

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Since we can't edit our posts anymore, I forgot to add this:

I believe it is much better to start with a realistic physics engine and hardcore  track environment and add the possibility of assists making it easier for casuals and beginners rather than implement a completely unbelievable arcade-style physics engine and unrealistically wide stages for mass-appeal. I think the former option has a better chance of bringing in a larger audience vs. the latter.

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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?

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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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