Following the underwhelming critical and consumer response to shooters Operation Flashpoint: Red River and Bodycount, European gaming industry mainstay Codemasters has decided to focus exclusively on what it does best: namely, video games in which you drive gorgeous cars at insanely high speeds.
“We have kept our reputation for delivering best-in-class racing games,” Codemasters communications director Rich Eddy told MCV. “And best-in-class racing games is now our razor focus going forward.”
“In racing, we are No.2 in Europe and that’s not good enough. We want to take racing games across multiple platforms and genres. So that players can play anytime, anywhere and on any device. Racing is our DNA, it is our heritage, it is our specialisation and it is our absolute focus going forward,” Eddy adds.
Though this comes as sad news to devoted fans of Codemasters’ action titles, it’s phenomenal news for fans of virtual rally racing. For years the company has been the key figure in the off-road racing subgenre, and its peculiarly capitalized DiRT series has long been the go-to option for race fans who prefer mud and rally-tuned Mitsubishi Lancers to more pristine, exotic supercar-focused racers like Sony’s Gran Turismo or Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport games.
Alongside this announcement that the company would henceforth be playing exclusively to its strengths, Codemasters has announced a new online hub system (dubbed “Racenet”) that will link its DiRT, F1 and Grid racing series’. Though details are currently scant, Racenet will reportedly allow players to create a single online profile that will track progress across all of the company’s racers and offer users an opportunity to pick up extra, exclusive content. Racenet is scheduled to launch alongside a demo for the Destruction Derby-esque DiRT Showdown (pictured above) on May 1.
Hopefully this new direction for Codemasters will also improve the quality of its games. They’re quite good now, but with that “razor focus” on racing titles, fan expectations should rightfully go through the roof. If racing is all the company does, it had better deliver best-in-class racers on a pretty regular basis. Otherwise, what’s the point?