It’s a spin-off of a spin-off. Codemasters has revealed that its Dirt series is getting a rally game that focuses less on actual rally, more on arcade-styled driving and a hell of a lot of chaos in confined spaces.
Dirt Showdown is more about the spectacle of destructive motoring and pulling off crazy stunts than actual racing, though it’s not necessarily deprived of it. The idea is to take the extreme elements first seen in Dirt 2 and mix them up with those of Dirt 3‘s Gymkhana events, with a little bit of Destruction Derby thrown into the pile because… well, why not?
There will be both single and multiplayer elements in Showdown, with the inclusion of a split-screen mode so you can play with your friends on and offline. The game will also incorporate an equivalent to EA’s Autolog feature that’ll be handily designed into the menus so you can always see your times and those of your friends, or enemies if you will.
Dirt Showdown will introduce three basic modes, each of which are built up by three different kind of events: Standard racing, which include Lap Attack, Eliminator and Domination modes; Hoonigan events, made up by Smash Hunters (smash stuff), Trick Rush (stunt driving) and Head 2 Head (take on an opponent, do some tricks and get the highest score); Demolition events, composed by Rampage (destroy everything that moves), Hard Target (escape the onslaught of metal coming at you) and King of the Ring (think a well-rounded arena with cars starting at multiple point As, all heading for a single point B… Destruction Derby-style).
The single change that differentiates Showdown from previous iteration in the series, which is one you should keep in mind if you’re drawn to this game, is the fact that it ditches simulative gameplay and replaces it with an arcade-styled one, making the handling a lot more forgiving, thus letting you focus on making tight drifts, insane stunts and embedding your hood into another car’s trunk.
Dirt Showdown is currently set for a 2012 launch on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. With a “mild” addiction to speed but lacking any interest in rally whatsoever, this is finally one pile of Dirt I won’t be shaking off too soon. I’m keeping an eye on you, Codemasters.