Racing games can feel like a daunting task to newcomers, and off-road racing games even more so.
Codemasters created arguably the most realistic off-road experience with DiRT Rally 2.0 last year. But the DIRT name also has a more "arcade" history to it.
DIRT 5 is bringing bright colours and a strong beat, with a philosophy that preaches accessibility for all.
The realism-accessibility balance
It's always tough for racing games to balance between realism and not scaring away new players.
The sim racing community can be highly demanding and occasionally snobbish. Especially when it comes to developers toning down the challenge of driving high-performance vehicles.
However, having a handful of understeer into a corner because you haven't done everything perfectly will quickly make new players turn off.
GLOBAL RACING: DIRT 5 takes players around the world
DIRT 5 has the challenge of being associated with a truly hardcore sim rally game, but given the breadth of the content it is covering it also needs to be accessible.
To stand out from DiRT Rally 2.0, the developers are striking a fine balance.
In an interview with Rob Karp, Development Director, and Mike Moreton, Senior Game Designer, about the new game, they described accessibility as a key pillar to DIRT 5.
"From the beginning, we wanted to create a more accessible game." Said Moreton. "We've got a full suite of driving aids and accessibility options that allow the player to tune the experience at pretty much any level."
SLIDING IN: Off-road racing is a challenge but DIRT 5 focuses on accessibility
Whether that means a sliding scale for traction control rather than an "on-medium-off" style or scaled back force feedback options for wheel users remains to be seen. It is certainly a relief for many though.
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The challenges of driving off-road can take even seasoned racers a long time to come to grips with. Hearing that DIRT 5 will focus more on playability than realism will open the game to new players.
More immersive Career Mode
The Career Mode for DIRT 5 is set to be one of the most unique experiences in racing games.
With a non-linear progression that allows you to pick and choose events, a mentor and antagonists voiced by the iconic Troy Baker and Nolan North, and a narrative supported by in-game podcasts, it is set to be a huge step forward for the genre.
DIRT 5 release date
DIRT 5 will arrive in October 2020. An exact date has not yet been given.
The game will be available on Xbox One, P4, Stadia, and PC (via Steam) as well as on the next-gen consoles Xbox Series X and PS5.
You can pre-order DIRT 5 here.