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WRC 2: 'Realistic and enjoyable can be in the same sentence'

Ubisoft racer attempts to combine arcade and sim

Black Bean Studio and developer Milestone's next World Rally Championship instalment aims to be the most up-to-date, complete video game rally experience, according to the pair.

WRC 2 is set to feature 90 tracks across 15 locations, 25 different types of terrain and weather conditions and nine car categories. But beyond the numbers the developer is aiming to take full advantage of the license which it exclusively holds to create an authentic, deep but user friendly rally effort.

We sat down with the Black Bean's communication manager Davide Latina to talk about the changes, new additions and the competitions it faces...

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What have you done since last year?

In 2010 the game was pretty good in terms of gameplay. The driving model was probably the best feature but the graphics, generally speaking a bit generic according to some critics and consumers. So what we've done is collect all the feedback from them, from you guys and across all of Europe in order to make a list of features to deliver the ultimate licensed off-road racing game.

There are three main areas of improvement, which are the graphics, the contents and the gameplay.

In terms of graphics, we changed it completely. We changed a lot of stuff both inside and outside of the car starting from the cockpit models which are more detailed in terms of polygon levels, the environment, the crowds, the marshalls waving yellow flags and the photographers. All the side effects.

In terms of gameplay, the cars this year are completely different from last year. For example the C4 is now the DS3 by Citroen, the Ford Focus is now the Fiesta and there is the Mini. So it has a smaller engine, a 1.6 litre engine, different weight - so the reaction of the car on the track is completely different than last year - we needed to change all the parameters of last years cars.

The approach is totally different from other racing titles. We start from a simulation and offer some parameters to make it accessible to everyone. So it's not an arcade game with a chance to remove some assistance etc, the approach is totally different - realistic driving model but enjoyable. Realistic and enjoyable can be in the same sentence in my opinion.

It can be realistic but not too difficult and frustrating, it has to be enjoyable in my opinion.

In terms of content there are around 90 stages, which is up 15 percent from last year. 15 different locations - the locations of the real championship, 25 different types of surface, 16 players online and many game modes; the championship, the super special stages - a one vs. one competition with two cars at the same time - the traditional time attack and single stage that you can play online as well, including the super special stages.

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Dirt 3 scored massively well. What do you think about that as competition, as a game and is it still purely for arcade fans?

Obviously the competition is there but as I mentioned the approach is totally different. I think DiRT is an arcade game that wants to involve the WRC and pure racing approach whereas our approach is to make a simulation and make it more accessible so the driving model is totally different.

Also there is a big difference in that WRC is the official game so it's the only game featuring all the WRC content of this year.

How confident are you in the size of the market out there for a really hardcore rally sim?

It's a good question. We realised last year that the market is not full so there's room to improve, innovate and introduce a new IP in the racing genre. It's probably the second or the third genre in the gaming industry behind football and the FPS.

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