Last year, Codemasters posted job listings advertising roles for its “most ambitious and biggest” AAA game yet. Many were hoping this mystery title would be DiRT Rally 3. While DiRT 5 was released in 2020, the simulation-focused DiRT Rally series is overdue a sequel on next-gen consoles.
According to a report by reliable insider Tom Henderson for Exputer, Codemasters’ ambitious AAA game is the next World Rally Championship game.
We already know Codemasters has acquired the WRC license, but with the developer reportedly focusing on WRC, it could be the end of the road for the DiRT franchise.
DiRT Rally 3 reportedly cancelled
According to the report, DiRT Rally 3 was scrapped in late 2021, allowing Codemasters to focus on F1, GRID, and WRC going forward.
While Kylotonn currently develops the WRC games, the license was acquired by Codemasters in a five-year deal from 2023 to 2027. Codemasters’ first official WRC title is due to arrive in 2023.
Is the DiRT franchise dead?
While the mainline DiRT games were not mentioned in the report, the future of the franchise could be in doubt. The writing was already on the wall if you look at the DiRT social media accounts.
As of February 2022, DiRT’s Facebook and Twitter pages have been rebranded as EA Sports Rally. Since EA acquired Codemasters, F1 2021 exceeded sales expectations, so EA will want to replicate this success with WRC.
We hope this doesn't mean the end of the DiRT franchise. EA can't justify having two realistic rally franchises in its games lineup, so it makes sense for Codemasters' WRC games to replace DiRT Rally.
However, the door is still open for an arcade-style mainline DiRT game. DiRT 6 could still happen, or its spirit could live on in a new franchise under the EA Sports Rally umbrella.