It’s time for petrolhead gamers to get messy once again, as DIRT 5 splashes down next month. We went for a spin with the game’s development director, Robert Karp.

Your studio has an excellent racing game pedigree with the likes of MotorStorm, DriveClub and OnRush… What has that experience brought to your first DIRT game?
Thank you! I’m really lucky to be part of a fantastic team with a great pedigree. Every time we start a new game, we want to make it better than the last one in every way. The studio’s off-road experience, both with MotorStorm and WRC, has given us a great foundation for off-road racing. Add to that Codemasters’ vast knowledge and experience, and a nice mix of fresh blood, and it has really invigorated the team to make something that I can honestly say I’m proud to have worked on.

What are the biggest new features that you’re bringing to the franchise?
We love that anybody can pick up and play, because of that we want more people to share that fun together, so up to four player split-screen is a key feature that’s coming to DIRT 5. ‘Playgrounds’ is another big one, where players can let their creative juices flow by creating and editing their own arenas and then publishing them for the rest of the DIRT 5 community to play. With a livery editor and detailed photo mode, if creating content is for you then DIRT 5 can help you scratch that itch!

You’re promising the “deepest ever” career mode. How deep are we talking here?
Deep and broad – we have a plethora of event types and players will be able to pick the kind of challenges they like playing in order to progress through a career that spans over 100 events. Add into that the sponsors system, where you choose who you race for, and there’s a ton to do and loads of replay-ability if that’s your bag.

Is there anything new and exciting to look forward to in the car categories?
We focused on depth and breadth for our cars, which means there’s a super-wide choice of vehicle classes, some of which haven’t been seen in the DIRT franchise before. The likes of the rockbouncer and sprint classes are great fun, but there are also lots of well known brands and aspirational cars.

DIRT 5

To quote REM, should we talk about the weather?
You might start a race in mid-morning, with the sun in the sky and barely a cloud in sight. As you complete a lap, all of a sudden, the sky turns darker, the sun hidden behind angry storm clouds as a smattering of rain pre-empts that thunder and lightning storm that’s to come. But before it happens the sun has set and the wind and rain really pick up. It’s dark and it’s wet, the track is harder to navigate, the ground is getting slippery beneath you and the storm that’s been threatening is in full force. Yet you keep your composure and time passes and as the storm starts to clear, the sun rises and a rainbow appears as you fly past the finish line!

Do you have a favourite in-game car and/or track?
Back when we were in the office, one of the team (who shall remain nameless) always played New York East River, which is an ice track, with a Porsche 911 every single time that he needed to check something. I’m probably biased, but I love the MINI SX1 and being able to use the livery editor to make it look like my (nowhere near as powerful) MINI!

What extra treats can we look forward to from the next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of DIRT 5?
The next-gen hardware is great, the extra power means both more resolution and the opportunity for higher frame rate with our 120 FPS mode. Also, it’s worth remembering that if you buy DIRT 5 on PS4 or Xbox One, whenever you decide to upgrade to PS5 and/or Xbox Series X you’ll get the next gen version free (assuming you upgrade from PS4 to PS5 or Xbox One to Xbox Series X).

What, no Australia?!
Ha-ha! I feel the same about the UK! I was dying to get Liverpool in and be able to drive past the Three Graces up to Anfield! I think we should both have some stern words with the art director!

DIRT 5 launches November 6 for PS4 and Xbox One. Pre-order now at JB Hi-Fi.