Is this a game that will appeal to traditional DiRT fans, or are you gunning for a new audience?
Iain Smith: We shouldn't confuse the accessibility with 'dumbed down'. Player investment is really important to us, and we believe that through the substantial career mode those loyal DiRT players will still be suitably challenged. With that said, we'd definitely like people who have perhaps been intimidated by the DiRT experience in the past to connect with this.
Do you think DiRT Showdown has the potential to spawn a series of its own?
Iain Smith: We'd love it to, this is a game that's been in the collective mind of the studio for a long time and we're really excited about it. A great example is that we've always been proud of our damage system and regularly ask the question "How far could we push it?"
The Demolition Derby aspect actually rewards aggressiveness, so we're finally getting that chance to ramp the damage to 11. This type of destruction hasn't been offered in a pure form like this for quite some time so we firmly believe it will connect with players.
Similarly, will the traditional DiRT series continue?
Mike Chapman: DiRT Showdown is offering a new and more focused experience within the series and DiRT 4, or whatever we call it, will bring that same focus to some of the more traditional elements of the series. The fact that we're already discussing a DiRT 4 title should demonstrate that we absolutely want to meet and exceed the expectations of DiRT players.
Our Chief Game Designer has actually become an official rally co-driver since we completed DiRT 3 so we definitely want to offer a more authentic experience in future titles. We just feel that the scope of the DiRT series has really now outgrown a single game and we're keen to explore all of the unique styles of play that the DiRT series on a whole can offer.
You say DiRT Showdown is your 'most connected game ever'. What excites you most about its online features?
Mike Chapman: In terms of online play, we're confident that we have all players and preferences catered for. If players want to play some of our Demolition modes online with other players, our playlists ensure that they can get straight into a game and smash and wreck other online opponents.
If they prefer to team up with a friend in Splitscreen on the same sofa and take on the AI, they just need to plug in a second controller. Even players who don't normally play online with other players can still set challenges for people on their friends list so there should always be a sense of connected competition.
And you've added party modes and Splitscreen?
Mike Chapman: Splitscreen is important as not everybody will always want to play online and it a great way to share in the experience with a friend. The Party modes offer a light hearted diversion and an eclectic bunch of game types that further add to the multiplayer variety.
Looking at the player stats following the release of DiRT 3 demonstrated that a lot of players were frequently enjoying those modes. We'll be featuring new Party Modes in DiRT Showdown in addition to all of the Race, Hoonigan and Demolition events that will also feature online and in Splitscreen.
A lot of racing studios have struggled to open up their titles to an expanded audience until now. How can DiRT Showdown succeed where so many failed?
Iain Smith: I think a focussed message is key. Those three play styles of speed, style and destruction offer all the key experiences you want from a driving game. There's nothing convoluted about DiRT Showdown. It's visceral. It's loud. It's brash. We believe those fundamentals really resonate with gamers, especially when we're delivering to the quality players have come to expect from Codemasters Racing titles.