WRC 6 preview – Racing ahead of the competition

Impressions based on a visit to Kylotonn Games in Paris

Kylotonn Games took over development reins of the venerated WRC franchise for its fifth iteration, although the transition wasn’t easy. The studio had just 18 months to cobble together every asset from scratch, but did an impressive job despite facing such a tough task. Now the studio is back with WRC 6, which hits PlayStation 4 and Xbox One today, and PSU was lucky enough to go hands-on with the game ahead of its launch to find out what makes this latest rally romp tick.

With WRC 6, the French studio has focused on upgrading the game engine without being constrained by last-generation hardware. As such, the game is not available for PS3 and Xbox 360, but benefits from a number of technical improvements, such as enhanced physics simulation.

The tracks are also a lot thinner than the previous title, as a common complaint was that the tracks were too wide and not realistic enough. By doing this one change, they have added a better sensation of danger into the game. The roads are also more realistic, with each track having different physics based on the location. Even though you might be driving over gravel in one location, it will have a different feel, which helps with the simulation of the game pushing it to a more realistic feel than ever before. The game has eleven super stages, with each being based on realistic locations. The locations of the super stages are unique and original as well, including downtown cities.

Kylotonn has done the best they can to try and make sure every track in the game, except the super stages, are true to life scale. So if you are racing in the game, it would be like racing on them in real life. This is done by having the base notes being written and checked over by the amazing Sébastien Loeb, who I got to see in action at the event. I was amazed and impressed by his performance as he showcased several of the tracks in a simulated environment. He also went around most, if not all, the tracks slowly so that they could design the track as close to perfect as possible. They had a car with a PC inside it, with steering wheel and pedals, to showcase the game and the graphics.

They also had several PS4 units playable, which also had steering wheels set up, though this caused me a little issue as I normally play racing games with a controller, and because of the realism of the driving, I did end up crashing quite a few times during my time playing the game. The game also allows you to flip the car if you are truly bad at the game, though I was lucky that this didn’t happen to me. The car has the standard damage meters, and you can see as you crash into things that the car becomes more damaged. The tires can now even be punctured during the race, which may be too realistic for some casual players, but for the hardcore racers this is a nice feature.

The career mode has a big focus on improving you as a racer, starting off with the most basic cars. Starting with WRC3, which is slow but a lot easier to handle, you slowly work your way up to WRC1, which has four-wheel drive cars with more chances to drift out of control if you don’t go round corners in a sensible way. The game also has a strange RPG style element, with teams having their own personality and style. Some companies are more rash and happy to fix your car if you crash and speed your way through the races, but most companies will turn you down if you turn up and continue to do this. What can happen is when you go to get your car fixed during the race, the mechanics might take so long that the time penalty for doing it will cost you the race or at least any time you had in the lead.

WRC 6 also features split screen mode. This is a nice feature that not many games support nowadays, though it seems the online mode does not support this feature, which would have been nice. It also seems to support a nice steady frame rate with not many jagged edges, and even with a lot of stuff going on, the frame rate seems to stay at a stable rate.

One of the biggest features that they talked about was there eSports support, when there is real life races going on. The game will also have championships online with the same tracks as the real life counterpart. There will also be weekly challenges with a reward each week for people who aren’t into the hardcore aspect of the eSports. This will run for one year, as the license for this is still very expensive, as they are still getting used to the eSports scene; this may change in the future.

I asked about PS4 Pro support, and they decided for this title they were too far in development for this game to support it, though who knows if the next game in the franchise will support it. They also answered my question on PSVR support, saying that even though there is a rift build made, there is no plans for VR support on PS4. They will keep an eye on the market, and depending how it goes they might look into it next spring, though I really doubt we will see any VR support for this title. Also there is no plan to do a GT academy style competition, as they want to focus on there eSport style competition.

Overall I enjoyed my experience with the game, and will be looking forward to getting my hands on the game and getting stuck into some split-screen action with a few friends. With improved visuals and physics making for an aesthetically pleasing racing experience, it seems the WRC series is definitely on the up and I personally am looking forward to seeing how the franchise progresses in the future.

Stay tuned for the WRC 6 review.