With a release of the seventh official WRC franchise game later this year, finally we learn something about what to expect from the new title... Somewhere deep in the heart of Kylotonn Games Headquarters four people are sat in the studio offices deciding the future direction of the company... Developer 1: "Say, let's build a new racing game with the official licence for the FIA World Rally Championship" Developer 2: "Hey, that's a great idea, the WRC is popular so it will be a good series to recreate". Developer 1: "Yeah brilliant, popular series, popular game, good sales, everyone happy. Let's get the marketing guys in to see how we can promote this unique, exclusive, licence". Enter men in expensive suits and unnaturally oily hair. Marketing guy: "Ok here's the plan. Let's reveal nothing about the game, with no promotion and no website presence worth mentioning". Marketing guy 2: "Epic, also make sure to not reveal any screens from the 12 unique locations or full WRC and WRC2 field. Just include a couple from the least popular car and hope people buy it". Developers 1 and 2: "Perfect, that's done then, plan sorted and off for a nice cup of tea. Good job people". This is basically how the whole of the development life of WRC 7 seems to have panned out in a nutshell. The game is officially a recreation of the increasingly improving World Rally Championship and holds the exclusive licence to recreate the series on PC and console. As such you would expect a new release into the franchise to be something of a big deal, with regular teasers and information pushed out into the wide world of the internet at regular intervals. Seriously just check out how Project CARS does it for some idea of proper marketing, but Kylotonn seem determined to keep everyone in the dark about the new game. Which is... strange. The somewhat modest marketing and promotion strategy is all the more confusing considering the less than stellar reputation of Kylotonn and past WRC franchise releases, so do we have something to worry about with this title, or are the studio just simply pretty rubbish at promoting themselves? Well lucky for us the team behind the title have seen fit to sit down and talk shop with redbull.com, so we actually have a chance to find out a bit more about the game and make another small step towards deducting if WRC 7 can make the most of the incredible licence it holds and produce a worthwhile game capable of living up to the reputation of the real world series. You can read the full Redbull interview with Game Director Alain Jarniou here, but for ease of reading I'll pull out the most interesting bits below... First and foremost it appears that Kylotonn have taken a leaf out of Codemasters book and look to toughen up the experience in WRC 7. Speaking of the stages to be found within the game, Jarniou claims that "The level design of stages has been redefined for a more intense driving experience. Roads are bumpier, borders are closer and more dangerous" which lets face it, dangerous roads with little margin for error are the biggest attraction of top level rallying and should be depicted in a game holding the official WRC licence. As well as making the stages tougher to drive, Jarniou also confirmed we can expect longer events in WRC 7 than has been previously the case. New for the latest franchise instalment comes "Epic Stages" where players can expect "very long stages providing up to 15 minutes of gameplay. The skills and concentration of rally fans will be pushed to their limits". This is good. Very good indeed. Points round winner to Kylotonn with that one. Of course the official game gets the official rallies too, so expect all 13 events to be included in the release once it hits our shelves for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Most interesting in terms of the driving experience is the move in 2017 to wider, more aggressive and more powerful WRC cars. These too have been included in the new title, with the "experience of driving the WRC 2017 cars is amazing; they are so agile and powerful that it’s a new dimension for the gameplay of rally games". "The biggest challenges for WRC 7 was to simulate the behaviour of the new 2017 cars, while the level design was pushing for more realism. To succeed in finding the right balance, car setup was totally remade in parallel with a continuous test on new roads. What we can tell is when we tested WRC 2016 cars in the new environments they were very hard to control. As we want the players to be able to experience the difference between 2016 and 2017 WRC cars in WRC 7, we had to re-adapt them to the new engine and level design" added Jarniou. When pushed by Redbull to confirm how much of a lean towards simulation WRC 7 will be, the stock answer still remains slightly ambiguous but promising for those looking for a hardcore experience. Says Jarniou - "In our game developing process, we first setup a simulation behaviour for more realism, then we develop control aids to provide a wide range of handling possibilities for the player. Keep in mind that, more than ever, the new WRC 2017 cars are more powerful and agile in real life, and they realistically provide more fun" So basically we don't actually learn anything new from this interview, which keeps with the incredible marketing strategy already in place, however the chat with Kylotonn does end in a bit of a disappointment for a growing number of the sim racing community, namely a lack of VR support in the new title. Why? Is it because of the technical limitations of the game software? Is it a budgetary issue? We'll no not really. When asked if VR will be added to WRC 7 Jarniou basically said they looked into the idea with the previous game and decided fans couldn't concentrate long enough to use VR in a rally game. Yeah, you heard it right. If I wasn't so annoyed about that I'd actually laugh out loud. Obviously WRC 7 is aimed at.... 3 year olds who can't concentrate on something for more than five minutes at a time... kinda rendering the new "epic stages" a bit of a waste of time don't you think?!?! Oh and just in case you think I jest on this point, I'll pop the actual quote below for proof... "VR, that we tested for WRC 6 – that is still an option we keep in mind, but there is no plan for WRC 7 as it’s very difficult for most players to be able to stay focused for a long time with such a set-up. We’ll take advantage of the PS4 Pro and Scorpio power, for sure". Classic. Stay tuned to RaceDepartment as we bring you all the latest news and discussions around the WRC franchise of games. Head over to the WRC sub forum here on the site and catch up with your fellow fans before the game releases to the general public later this year. Looking forward to WRC 7? Do you think the game can be a success? Let us know in the comments section below!