French developer Kylotonn Games recently hosted a live stream showing off their upcoming rally racer WRC 8 for the very first time ahead of its September release.
The live stream event coincided with a “community day” which saw the very top drivers from the WRC Esports competition visit the studio to get hands-on with an Alpha version of the much-anticipated title.
Hosted by Project Manager Sebastien Waxin and Game Director Alain Jarniou, the live stream kicked off by showcasing a very beautiful stage in Turkey which happens to be one of the new countries in the official WRC calendar.
Billed as one of the most challenging rallies in WRC 8, the Turkish stage demonstrated the wonderful foliage technology we now come to expect with a Kylotonn developed game, along with an impressively detailed and authentic environment complete with some very bumpy road surfaces which will test the skills of even the very best drivers.
The Turkish stage also dazzled us with its long draw distances making you feel like you are at a real location – even more impressively, if you can see a hill in the distance the chances are you will be driving on it later in the stage further reinforcing the feeling that you are driving at a real locale.
You can view the Turkish stage in action in the video below starting just before the five-minute mark.
After the Turkish stage, we are treated to a stage in Argentina – a country that Kylotonn has remade from scratch. This stage (which starts at the 14:25 mark in the video above) gives us our very first look at the changeable weather conditions to feature in WRC 8.
The Argentina rally stage stands out thanks to its impressively detailed rocks and stone-covered road surfaces giving the environment a gritty look. Crowds of people can be seen in good numbers throughout sections in the stage which is something we don’t see in today’s rally games.
Much like the previous Turkey stage, the Argentina rally stage provides a treat for the eyes with its wide-open vistas allowing you to see for miles in the distance. It all comes together to provide an authentic looking location, indeed you can almost smell and taste the road dust.
Once again it looks like Argentina will prove to be a very challenging rally – rocks are strewn at the track edges leaving very little room for error and the brittle and weathered stone walls come mere inches away from the car at times, then there are the impossibly narrow wooden bridges making you hold your breath as the car somehow avoids a catastrophic collision.
After a couple of minutes, a few spots of rain can be seen falling onto the camera in a realistic manner and puddles start to accumulate on the road surface turning a once very dry scene into a muddy and overcast day. As the stage progresses, the road surface becomes completely saturated with rain lessening the grip levels adding even more challenge to an already demanding rally.
Granted, the transitions seen here look too abrupt, however, we have to remember that we are looking at an alpha version of the title so these will no doubt improve before the title’s launch in September. Seeing the weather change from one extreme to the other certainly throws up some mouth-watering scenarios which are sure to test your skills and strategies.
To compound the difficulty further, a fog begins to rear its head as we get towards the latter sections of the Argentina rally stage limiting visibility to around 100 metres. By this time we can hear the tyres making their grooves through a very wet road surface thanks to some dramatic environmental audio effects which help to convey the treacherous road conditions.
Game Director Alain Jarniou explains that the weather conditions can change at any time throughout any of the title’s stages regardless of which time of day a stage starts – this means we can race at night in the pounding rain during a storm for the ultimate challenge.
The third piece of gameplay featured in the stream gives us our first look at a tarmac stage in Germany – yet another stage made from scratch. Germany gives us a very different feel to the earlier rallies thanks to its narrow tarmacked surface which gives the Hyundai i20 a chance to stretch its automotive legs. The bonnet camera perspective gives us a great sense of speed as the car hurtles through the narrow roads and vineyards.
While not as impressive visually, Germany still looks to provide thrills with its narrow fast-paced roads which are interspersed with hairpin turns where you’ll be utilising your handbrake and instigating the satisfying squeals of the tyres as the car starts to regain traction on the exit.
Passing through the vineyards, the Germany stage then transitions into forest areas which are luscious with detail. You’ll also notice leaves occasionally get swept towards the camera adding a pleasant environmental effect and heightening the sense of speed in the process.
Driving through the German forests gives us a chance the appreciate the several layers of car audio contained in the game. Cars can be heard chattering, squeaking, squealing and popping echoed somewhat by the surrounding trees – we can’t wait to hear what other cars will sound like.
Kylotonn Games are currently busy working on the replay camera angles in WRC 8 to make them as authentic as possible. Starting at 35:38, we can see a quick look at a replay of the Germany stage raced earlier in the stream which is shaping up well.
The stream comes to a close by looking at a stage in Chile. Rather than use the Hyundai i20, this time we are treated to the Citroen C3. The Chile stage looks completely different from the previous stages with forests dominated with tall light-coloured trees and slightly wider roads which give you the chance to lay down some power.
Between the stages, the WRC Esports drivers talked briefly about the car physics stating that they were a step forward compared to the solid base that WRC 7 provided. The drivers also noted the change of grip levels on different surface types and in the various weather conditions which will no doubt provide a challenge for players new and old alike.
That’s it for now, we’ll keep you up to date on all things WRC 8 so keep checking back for more info very shortly. WRC 8 is expected to release in early September 2019 across the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.