Dirt 5 is ‘Stealing’ One of Need for Speed’s Most Unique FeaturesJohn HiggsGame Rant – Feed


DIRT and Need for Speed are two of the biggest names in the racing genre. They both launched back in the 1990s and have each put out over a dozen titles since. Despite their surface similarities, Need for Speed has always been the more narrative-driven of the two, while Dirt titles tend to be closer to driving simulators.

This may all be about to change with the upcoming release of Dirt 5. Launching on October 16th for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the latest Dirt title will continue the series’ focus on off-road racing. However, it will also introduce a new narrative-focused career mode, something which has never been done in a Dirt game before.

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At the center of Dirt 5‘s new career-mode will be the player’s rivalry with fellow driver Bruno Durand. Voiced by Nolan North, Durand will form the narrative’s antagonist throughout a series of championships. In these multi-race events, players will have to out-race Durand in order to advance. It’s unknown just how deep the story-line will be or how much it will affect career mode game-play, but its five chapters span the entire world.

The idea of giving players a rival driver is entirely new to the Dirt series but will be very familiar to Need for Speed fans. The Need for Speed franchise first began adding more story to its games back in 2003, with the release of Need for Speed Underground. At the time, the idea of a racing game having a fully-fledged story, complete with cut-scenes and voice-acting, was pretty unusual. More recent Need for Speed titles, like Heat and Payback, are full narrative experiences, with their own plot-twists, heroes, and villains.


The addition of a rival racer indicates a real change of direction for the Dirt series, maybe even a long-term shift away from its simulation roots. This won’t be the first time the off-road racing franchise has remodeled itself, however. The first 8 titles in the series were named after Colin McRae, the famous Scottish rally champion, but McRae’s name was dropped back in 2011 with the launch of Dirt 3.

Despite the name-change, the core mechanics of the series remained largely the same through the following titles. It wasn’t until 2015 that things began to shift, with the release of Dirt Rally in 2015, which was the first title to introduce both Rallycross and Player vs. Player multiplayer modes. Rallycross in particular represented a move away from the series’ focus on traditional time-trial rally racing and toward the kind of large-scale races featured in games like Need for Speed.

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Bruno Durand may be the most surprising addition to Dirt 5, but he isn’t the only big change. Another character, Alex “AJ” Janicek, will be voiced by Troy Baker and serves the player as a mentor throughout the story. It’s the long-simmering rivalry between Durand and Janicek that will give the young up-and-coming player character their big break in the racing world.

The new story isn’t the only addition to the series, however, and there will be a variety of new and returning game-modes, many of which also reflect Dirt 5‘s changing focus. Ice racing, Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road buggies will make this one of the most diverse Dirt titles to date, giving players new game-play types and opportunities that the limitations of the previous titles couldn’t emulate.

This expansion may come at a cost, however, and some fans are nervous that in widening the lens, Codemasters may lose sight of what made its racing series so popular in the first place. The addition of five chapters of story and a host of brand new events may well have given less time to focus on development of the core simulation game-play, but of course, that’s still up in the air.

Dirt 5 will be released in 2021 on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

MORE: Dirt 5 Will Support 120FPS on Xbox Series X

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