The long-running rally series shows no signs of slowing down as it reaches its landmark latest edition, with WRC 10 introducing a host of new features, modes and innovations befitting a franchise that's never failed to keep things fresh. Not only that, but WRC 10 will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the competition with a host of legendary cars for petrolheads to enjoy.
With the release of the game just around the corner, we caught up with Alain Jarniou, game director of WRC 10, to find out more about what players can expect from the title, how the game will make the most of next-gen capabilities and just how KT Games is moving things up a gear for this landmark entry.
First, can you tell us about the new features in WRC 10?
WRC 10 comes with important new features. The livery editor is an important addition to the game as players of the WRC series were expecting it for a while. We designed it to offer maximum freedom to them. Using the Livery Editor, the player will be able to customise not just historical cars, but also Junior WRC, WRC3, WRC2 and even WRC cars of the current season, which is a great feature.
The colour and the material of the car can be changed – players are able to create a whole livery, using predefined stickers (including official brands logos) or stickers they create from scratch. We're really looking forward to seeing our players’ creations!
The 50th anniversary mode is another major feature. WRC 10 will be the game that marks the 50th anniversary of the WRC. To celebrate this, we created a dedicated mode where players will traverse the time between 1973 to the modern day in the gloves of the most famous rally drivers, behind the wheels of the most iconic cars and on the roads of the greatest locations in history of the competition.
Another new feature is private teams, which is a new way to become a champion in the WRC 10 career mode. Players can now create their own team to win the championship. It opens up new skills, new positions in the team, new team management strategies and the possibility to create your own livery.
Shakedown stages are another new addition. These full-speed test stages are now part of the planning of the rallies and make the career experience even more realistic. Like in real life, it gives the player the opportunity to test and fine-tune their car set-up in proper conditions before starting a whole rally event. The shakedown stages are also available in quick play modes as we know that players love to drive on short stages.
Finally, driver cards are more comprehensive, with the information and statistics on your driver much more detailed in WRC 10, giving the player a good overall view of their performances and experience. The game also acts as a coach to suggest your next activities.
How will WRC 10 celebrate 50 years of the competition?
The 50th anniversary mode lets rally fans relive the most iconic moments of the WRC, retrace the epic situations and learn fun facts about the competition. It’s a great way to appreciate what makes this competition unique and passionate. With the experience gained about the WRC, it also opens a new way to play your career by creating your own private team.
Tell us more about the retrospective mode – what can players expect from the tracks/cars on offer?
The anniversary mode is a perfect occasion for WRC 10 to provide more cars and more countries to play in the game. Legendary cars like the Peugeot 205, Subaru Impreza and Toyota Celica can be driven in memorable locations like Greece, Italy, New Zealand and more.
How do the older tracks and cars compare with modern ones in terms of playstyle?
The driving experience is unique for every car. The technology, the power and the behaviour of each car is different depending on the time period (and regulations at the time). Older cars can feel trickier to master, but it’s always fun to drive.
Scenery, including members of the public, changes over the years, so you must be careful. For example, depending on the year, the public will not be at the same place due to different safety rules compared with modern day.
How challenging was it to improve on WRC 9? What were the main areas of focus?
For every new WRC game we always think about how we can make the rally experience more realistic and entertaining. First of all, we take time to judge what’s already in the game, and to see how we can enhance existing modes and gameplay features; we listen to the feedback from the community and the press and see what can be done to improve the simulation. Questions we ask ourselves include: “What can make the career mode, the most played mode in the game, even better and more realistic?”
As the official game of the competition, we also work closely with WRC promoters to bring the new WRC season specifics into the game: new cars and regulations, new teams, new countries, and more. This year is special with the 50th anniversary of the competition. It was a great focus for the game, as it’s the perfect opportunity to add more cars, countries and the experience that goes with them.
And, of course, we also focus on what can be added as a completely new feature or an important innovation: the livery editor, private teams, driver coach and more.
Can you tell us more about the improved physics in WRC 10 and how this will impact players?
First of all, we needed to be very careful about changes we could make for WRC 10 as we got very good feedback from the players on WRC 9’s physics. But our physics engine is constantly evolving and we're always improving it to make it closer to reality. We wanted WRC 10 to come with a better driving experience than ever before in the series and not just copy WRC 9.
The simulation system has been improved in many aspects: the tyre connection with the road is a lot more accurate; our suspension model is new, with chassis and differential, tyre grip and brakes and even electronic management of the engine all changed.
Aerodynamic forces also have a major influence on the cars and have been reworked, including realistic ground effects. And, ultimately, our collision management has been reworked.
Physics are complex, but all these enhancements together create a smoother and more realistic driving experience. Once everything is in place, it's critical that we validate our simulation model and this year we had the chance to have it tested by Sébastien Loeb. The feedback we’ve received from him was so good that I think we’ve reached a new level of realism this year with WRC 10 that players will love.
What can you tell us about the new career mode?
The max level is now capped to 80 instead of 60. This brings the possibility to unlock more skills in the skill tree.
When the player reaches the WRC level or if they complete a certain number of anniversary events, the private team mode is unlocked. This is a mode where the player isn't under a manufacturer contract but in their own private team: you have to buy or rent your car; you can customise it to its own colour, thanks to the all-new livery editor; you choose sponsors; you can access a dedicated skill tree branch.
New crew members specialists are available: the logistics manager, who decreases event costs and increases morale; public relations, who increase reputation; and the head of sponsors (private team), to increase credits.
Every team-mate has their own personality which, as a manager, players will have to compose with for the best team cohesion. And Shakedowns are now part of rally events.
What platforms will WRC 10 be released on?
WRC 10 will be available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. The Switch version will come later.
How will you exploit the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X for WRC 10?
We were proud to be able to release WRC 9 as a launch title for the new consoles last year and these versions were very well received by the community. Using the power of the new consoles, we were able to achieve very good results in terms of frame rate and resolution, but also loading times and other features like the haptic feedback from the DualSense or the Activities on PS5. This year, we’ve continued to improve all these aspects again with even finer feedback with the controller, but we’re staying in line with what we’ve done last year and which worked perfectly already.
WRC 10 will be released on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on September 2.