Interviews// Colin McRae - Life, Times and Gaming

Posted 17 Sep 2007 12:44 by
SPOnG: What are the highlights of your career?

Colin McRae: Winning championships – two British championships in the early 90s, then the first World Rally event in New Zealand. That was a milestone. And then winning the Championship itself in 1995 – those are three things that stick in the mind.

SPOnG: And in 1995, you won the Rally GB to clinch it?

Colin McRae: Yes, which was great – winning any championship is great, but when you clinch it at your home event, there’s a little bit extra.

SPOnG: How would you compare the WRC now with how it used to be?

Colin McRae: I think things progress, don’t they? Whether they progress in the right direction or not is up to individual opinion.

SPOnG: There are so few teams, and so much reusing of stages.

Colin McRae: I think it all comes down to keeping the events compact and easy for the media, and trying to keep costs down. Which is a pathetic excuse, really – it doesn’t matter what you do, everyone will always spend as much as they have to spend to win. It’s about getting the returns right for the investment, which is a battle. It’s a very tough sport to follow – it’s a lot easier to sit down and watch a Grand Prix or a motorbike race. Rallying is a very difficult sport for the media to cover, and a complicated sport to understand.

SPOnG: That’s reflected in the game: DiRT is less WRC-focused than previous games.

Colin McRae: It’s going in a good direction there, for sure; all these things around the game are either things we’ve tried or would like to try, so that gives a wider spread. A lot of people would have played the game without understanding rallying completely, but might have understood other parts of the game, so it will appeal to a wider audience, I’m sure.

SPOnG: Technologically, it’s amazing what the next-gen consoles bring isn’t it?

Colin McRae: Absolutely, I was at Codemasters two months ago, and did some testing of the game, and it was just like testing a real rally car. You’d have a section that drive, then give the programmer some feedback, and he’d change the steering, the brakes, the way the car accelerates and turns, and you’d try it again, and it would be a bit easier or harder. So it was just like being at a real test – you’d do a run, and then your engineer plugs in his laptop, everything changes and you try again. Except I was sitting in the office doing it, which was a lot more comfortable.

SPOnG: That’s what rally games are all about – replicating the real experience.

Colin McRae: Yes, exactly – you want to get as close as you can to that real experience. But I think when you sit with the new game, a big screen and surround-sound, you can really start to get into it. The speed now is very realistic – that’s something we’ve worked on. When you get into the really quick parts of the game, you really feel that you’re picking up speed quickly. It’s definitely the best feeling I’ve had from playing all of the Colin McRae Rally games. At the end of the last series, we were thinking: “What can we do to improve it – how can we make it more realistic?” But they’ve done it again. I went back and played all the games before I went to Codemasters last time, to see the progression, and there’s a big jump to Colin McRae DiRT.
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DoctorDee 20 Sep 2007 10:51
I'm meh about Dirt. I think it's a pretty obvious attempt to tempt the yankee dollar by adding Travis Pastrami (with his rye wit) and truck racing, and it's an unesy mix for my money.

But Colin himself was a brilliant driver and a great champion.

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