A new era for the official WRC game series is about to begin. Taking over from KT Racing, Codemasters has acquired the WRC license, with its first serious rally racer since DiRT Rally 2.0 due to arrive this year. WRC 23 was reportedly set for a July release. But as we approach the end of the month, EA has yet to reveal WRC 23.
What is going on with WRC 23? Here’s what we know so far and when we can possibly expect EA to announce WRC 23.
When will WRC 23 be announced?
When Nacon owned the license, KT Racing’s WRC titles were usually released in late summer or late autumn. KT Racing’s last WRC title, WRC Generations, arrived in early November last year, while WRC 10 launched in early September.
WRC 23 was expected to break this release schedule. Rumours claimed it was “ready to launch” this July. Since then, WRC 23 was reportedly delayed internally and will launch later this year by 1 November. It's important to emphasise this comes from leaker billbil-kun and is not verified by Codemasters or EA.
So when can we expect WRC 23 to be announced? Unfortunately, Codemasters and EA haven’t offered any hints at the time of writing. EA's recent racing titles were announced closer to release with much shorter marketing campaigns.
WRC 23 will likely have a similar reveal strategy and arrive within two months of the announcement. After a prolonged teaser campaign, F1 23 was announced on 3 May ahead of the Miami Grand Prix weekend. WRC 23’s announcement may also coincide with a real WRC event.
The next event is one of the most famous rallies on the WRC 2023 calendar: Rally Finland. Known for its high-speed sections and massive jumps, Rally Finland has become a highlight of the calendar since the WRC began in 1973.
As one of the most popular rally events of the year, it makes sense for EA to announce WRC 23 alongside Rally Finland, which runs this week on 2-6 August. If so, EA may tease WRC 23 ahead of the official announcement, so keep an eye on the EA Sports Rally Twitter page.
An announcement in early August would mean WRC 23 will likely release in late September or early October. After Rally Finland, the next championship event is Acropolis Rally Greece on 7-10 September. If WRC 23 is coming in late October, the announcement could coincide with the Greek rally.
Now that F1 23 has been out for over a month, EA Sports will soon shift its focus onto promoting WRC 23. The EA Sports Rally Twitter also recently celebrated the anniversaries of the groundbreaking Colin McRae Rally and its sequel, likely paving the way for a WRC 23 announcement.
What do we know about WRC 23?
Considering its rally game lineage with Colin McRae Rally and the DiRT Rally games, Codemasters taking over the WRC series is a very exciting prospect. With no official announcement, the only official detail we know is that Codemasters’ WRC game license runs from 2023-2027.
This is the first time Codemasters has secured the WRC license since Colin McRae Rally 3 in 2023. WRC 23 will also be the first official WRC title from EA Sports.
Although WRC 23 hasn’t been announced, several enticing details have leaked early. One of WRC 23’s headline features will reportedly let you build your own rally car from scratch.
According to reports, the career mode will see you choose a drivetrain and buy components such as an engine, differential, gearbox, clutch, radiator, suspension, brakes, and exhaust with in-game currency.
You can also allegedly customise your car’s appearance from the front and rear bumpers to wheels and mudguards. If the rumours are true, WRC 23 will offer a level of customisation never seen in a rally game before.
Unlike F1 23, WRC 23 will supposedly skip the PS4 and Xbox One platforms, making it Codemasters' first current-gen-only title. Focusing on the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S will allow the British developer to take the graphics, stage designs, and driving physics to the next level.
As for game modes, a leaked achievements list alludes to Career, Championship, Time Trial, and Moments game modes. The latter sounds like a scenario mode featuring challenges based on the 2023 WRC season.
As well as the potent hybrid Rally1 cars that make up the 2023 WRC roster, it seems that WRC 23 will include classic rally cars. Numerous cars from older generations arere referenced in the leaked achievements list including the Mini Cooper S, Lancia Stratos, Citroen Xsara WRC, and 1995 Subaru Impreza.
EA also seemingly plans to support WRC 23 post-launch with five DLC seasons in the Deluxe Edition according to leaker billbil-kun. Like DiRT Rally 2.0's DLC, these will probably add new cars and special stages.
With a bigger budget from EA, Codemasters has extra resources to take the WRC series to new heights. According to the official 2023 WRC Factbook, WRC 23 will set a “new benchmark for authentic, challenging rallying on next-generation gaming platforms.”
It will also provide the “most accurate representation of rallying available,” which suggests WRC 23 will offer a true simulation experience and won't be a casual arcade racer. After EA cancelled DiRT Rally 3, WRC 23 will essentially be a DiRT Rally 2.0 spiritual successor with official cars and stages from the 2023 WRC season.
If these bold claims are true, Codemasters’ first official WRC game will be worth the wait and set a new standard for rally games – just like Codemasters' seminal Colin McRae Rally did 25 years ago.
For more articles like this, take a look at our WRC page.