We were all speculating it was in the pipeline whilst Milestone remained silent in order to focus on promoting MotoGP '13, but now it's official: WRC4 is indeed in development, and an official announcement confirms an October release.
Given that WRC3 was only released last year and Milestone had the added workload of MotoGP '13 on their hands, it's hard not to assume WRC4 will be an incramental update after WRC3's drastic overhaul. There's still room for optimism, however, as the announcement details that many of the improvements made to WRC4 were as a direct result of community feedback.
“This brand new chapter, different from the previous reboot of the series, will include many of the improvements requested by the community", publisher BigBen's CEO Alain Falc affirms. "A lot of the features that we’ve seen on the official Facebook page or received by mail have been incorporated. We’re convinced that WRC 4 represents a step forward for the series and will be appreciated by players.”
Specifically, the press release states that WRC4 will feature "high graphical detail and real in-game sound" – two factors that were still in need of polish in WRC3.
Fans will also no doubt be elated to learn that WRC4 will finally feature new lighting conditions and weather effects, so it looks as if night time rallying is on the cards this year which will certainly make for some terrifying time trials.Sadly, unlike in MotoGP '13 it doesn't look like effects will be customisable as the press release states that they will be applicable "depending on the stage."
A brand new career mode will also be included, though it will be interesting to see what path Milestone take WRC4 careers down after last year's revamped Road to Glory which was decidedly arcadey in tone with its infantile character sketches, star progression system and diabolical dubstep. Hopefully they will opt for a more realistic approach akin to MotoGP '13's motorhome system.
Those hoping for a next-gen release will be disappointed to learn that WRC4 will be sticking to the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC current-gen platforms. Once again, Milestone also hasn't neglected Vita owners either, so handheld gamers will have another racing game to look forward to later this year in the current drought.
Unfortunately no screenshots or video gameplay trailers were released to back up the publisher's proclaims, but Gamescom is just around the corner next month and it's already been confirmed that WRC4 will be available at the show. We'll be there too, so you can expect us to blow the doors wide open on WRC4 as of next month. Also note that the logo artwork included in this article is non-official and was sourced by GreekFans WRCgame.