EVEN CAPTAIN PICARD WILL ENJOY DIRT 5
Our chat with Mike Moreton (Lead Designer) and Robert Karp (Development Director).       




INTERVIEW

By JAY TEE
03/09/20

Things are going to get… DIRTY.

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Dirt 5 continues to be an exciting proposition, with a renewed narrative focus, and several crowd pleasing moves like free next gen upgrades and four player split screen support. We had the opportunity to discuss the games development with Mike Moreton (Lead Designer) and Robert Karp (Development Director), their approach to handling QA in such a complex release, and whether or not a certain Starfleet vehicle will make a cameo appearance…

How did you approach developing Dirt 5's renewed focus on narrative elements? Did the story come first? Or was it more about locking down interesting locations / tracks, and then developing the story from there?

We combed the globe looking for our locations. We went for areas we knew were vibrant and extreme and would look amazing as a backdrop for our off-road racing series. These were brought into the game early on as they take the longest time to produce. The narrative we layered on top of that is more about the different characters and how they interact rather than where they do it.

We wanted the player to have something to engage with in the calmer moments between the races, that's where the guys at Donut Media, Troy Baker and Nolan North, came in. They have crafted a series of podcasts and narrative events that inject humour and context to our racing series that has really allowed us to flesh out the world that DIRT 5 sits in, without needing to be linked to a specific location.

Is full cross platform play something we can expect in 2021 as part of your post launch road map?

We're not looking at cross platform play at this time. We're allowing users to play across generations to ensure they are always able to find appropriate online matches.

Can you describe the QA process for Dirt 5? We can imagine that with graphics and physics this complex, it must be quite a mammoth task...

We’ve got two absolutely amazing QA departments that work tirelessly to root out bugs and issues. We have a development QA team that are on the project from the word go that are our first line of defence against bugs and issues. Then as the game gets closer to release, we have a main QA department that we mobilise into action and they set about testing all the systems and modes of the near finished title on all the platforms and in all the different modes!

It’s a huge undertaking but their diligence and hard work allow us to create the best game for our players.



What was the driving force behind including split screen play? It's a great nod to the racers of old.

There are two main reasons why we wanted to add split-screen. Firstly, we knew we’d be launching on next gen and that there would be a limited number of early adopters due to cost and availability. So we wanted to make sure that people who manage to get hold of a next gen console will have something that they can play with their friends.

The other reason was that we’ve tried hard to carve out a new niche in the DIRT series. Now that DiRT Rally handles the more serious and hardcore aspect of racing so phenomenally well, we’ve been able to create a “lean back” gaming experience. As we were all discussing what that meant to us, we knew it meant playing with friends, and from there split-screen was an obvious feature.

Do you have to complete any single player campaign missions before multiplayer becomes available? Or are all game modes unlocked from the moment you boot up?

We’ve tried to create systems where players can progress through the unlock structure whatever mode they play. So we’ve made all modes available from the beginning. Players will be able to level up in Multiplayer or Single Player gameplay and start unlocking customisation and personalisation assets for their cars.

We’ve kept some juicy rewards aside for the single player campaign to ensure that we’re able to make the experience rewarding as well. But, our core ethos is that we want players to be able to enjoy all aspects of DIRT 5 from the moment the installation finishes, whatever their style of play.

Will the Argo from Star Trek: Nemesis appear as an unlockable car? Captain Picard has been itching to try it...

Ha ha! We’ve got some pretty outlandish vehicles coming to DIRT 5 but not that one. I think though if Captain Picard was to take a look at our vehicle roster he’d feel pretty at home in some of our cars. Maybe he’d really like honing around in the Audi AI:Trail, that’s pretty space age!


Dirt 5 launches on 16th October 2020, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are due in 2020, with a Stadia release in 2021.

A huge thank you to Mike and Robert for giving up their time to answer our questions, and to Joshua and Daniel from the Koch Media PR team for being so helpful and setting this whole thing up.

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