Dirt 5 Dev Discusses New Playgrounds Feature | Game RantJason RochlinGame Rant – Feed


During the pre-show for Gamescom 2020’s Opening Night Live, a new Dirt 5 trailer debuted. While the trailer ends with a teaser for some kind of vampire car, it primarily focuses on Dirt 5‘s Playgrounds feature: A creation tool that lets players design their own high-octane arenas fit for monster truck rallies, and then share them with the world. These arenas will be able to facilitate three different challenge types at launch, and there’s a chance even more modes and mechanics will become available.

Player-generated content with Playgrounds is just one of the new features being attempted by Codemasters with Dirt 5, alongside its career mode that features Troy Baker and Nolan North playing the main character’s mentor and rival, respectively. However, Lead Designer Michael Moreton said Playgrounds were “the game’s biggest challenge,” because they are something the studio has never attempted before. Game Rant spoke with Moreton about Dirt 5‘s Playgrounds mode and how players can use it to foster a closer community.

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Creating a Playground in Dirt 5 begins with a number of branching choices. First, players have to pick one of two background environments: Cape Town Stadium in South Africa, or an open space in the Arizona desert. Then, there are three challenge types that an arena can be designed around: Gymkhana, where tracks with precise maneuvers like drifting and donuts have to be completed in a time limit; Gate Crasher, where players have to make their way through an arena while hitting checkpoints in any order; and Smash Attack, where destroying objects provides points that contribute to a score limit players must reach as fast as possible.

There will be overlap thanks to the kinds of objects players can use to design their Playgrounds, with Gymkhana challenges able to incorporate bonus blocks to destroy and Smash Attack challenges utilizing penalty objects that precise players may have to avoid. Beyond the functional tools necessary to create each mode, Moreton said there will be a “large number of prefabricated objects” that can serve as decorative or worldbuilding pieces. Players can set score limits to “validate their challenge,” adding to other skill-based modes in Dirt 5 like time trials.

“When a challenge is published, a worldwide leaderboard is created,” Moreton said. “Anyone with an online connection can test their mettle.”

The team at Codemasters is “eager” to see what Playgrounds users can come up with, according to Moreton. In fact, there are plans to implement a “Featured” section in the Discover mode where the developers can hand pick individual arenas or entire content creators to highlight. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has a similar system for player-created mods, except people will not have to potentially pay to access featured content in Dirt 5.

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On top of that, Moreton said Discover mode will “ideally” foster a community of players who interact with one another’s Playgrounds by liking and favoriting them, similar to a social media platform or other titles with sharable creations such as Super Mario Maker 2. Codemasters will keep a database of these engagement metrics, and use it to recommend particularly strong arenas for new players. There will also be more “typical streaming service categories” for players to peruse, such as ‘Most Liked,’ ‘Most Played,’ and ‘New.’


One huge boon for player-generated content in Dirt 5 is that it will be accessible across multiple console generations. The game is being released on current hardware like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X with free upgrades. According to Moreton, PS4 Playgrounds will function on PS5 and vice-versa, with the same being said of Microsoft’s consoles. There will also be cross-generational multiplayer support, he said, “which should help to ensure that all our servers in multiplayer races have a decent population.”

There will be differences between current- and next-gen hardware in terms of features and enhancements related to performance or visuals. Moreton said they plan to take advantage of features like solid-state drives and external hardware like the PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller “wherever possible.” Doing so will purportedly offer next-gen console users benefits like faster loading times. However, he believes the core experience will be great regardless, as Codemasters has spent time making Dirt 5 “a more accessible title.” Further, according to Moreton,

“The core racing experience in the game is shared across all generations, ensuring whatever version of Dirt 5 a player gets, it’s the best experience it can be.”

One of the main ways the developers have accomplished this is by creating a handling model “that we know our fans want and love,” one that adds “depth and nuance to all the different cars.” The Dirt series, a continuation of the Colin McRae Rally franchise that began in 1998, stands apart from its competitors in the racing genre by focusing on an “amplified style” of off-road racing, according to Moreton. Thus, the developers hope the game will provide an experience with “stunning” tracks players can enjoy “blasting around,” even with upcoming titles like Forza Motorsport meant to really showcase the Xbox Series X’s graphics.

Moreton said there will be a lot of iconic cars in Dirt 5‘s vehicle roster, including classics from prior entries, “modern icons,” and more esoteric machines that fit the game’s “vibrant, challenging off-road locations.” A lot of those vehicle types will be tested by the myriad of player-created content that Codemasters hopes to find after launch. In a press release, Development Director Robert Karp said Playgrounds are unique for the Dirt franchise and have “endless possibilities.” If nothing else, Playgrounds seem like they will give Dirt 5 longevity through the new console generation, and Moreton suggested even more might come down the line “as we evolve the game through service.”

Dirt 5 releases October 16 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions scheduled later this year. A Stadia release is planned for 2021.

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