Colin McRae Rally is a racing video game series developed and published by Codemasters.
Started in 1998, the franchise has been a critical and commercial success and is generally acknowledged as a pioneer of realistic rally sports racing games. However, the car handling in the most recent games is best described as arcade. The series is named after the late World Rally Championship driver Colin McRae, who provided technical advice during development.
Despite McRae's death in September 2007, Codemasters will retain the use of his name on their rally games.
Colin McRae Rally, the first title in the series, was released for the PC and PlayStation platforms in January 1998 in the United Kingdom and in September 1999 in the United States. The game featured real cars and drivers from the 1998 World Rally Championship. Colin McRae's Subaru Impreza was featured on the game's cover.
The game contains stages in eight countries; New Zealand, Greece, Austria, Australia, Sweden, France, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. The PC version also includes four unlockable tracks to which real-world locations are not attributed.
Apart from Colin McRae himself, and Travis Pastrana in Colin McRae: Dirt, and Pastrana, Ken Block, Mohammed bin Sulayem, Dave Mirra and Tanner Foust in Colin McRae: Dirt 2, this first edition of the game featured real-world drivers whereas all of the sequels used fictional competitors. Featured real-world drivers include Didier Auriol, Philippe Bugalski, Richard Burns, Juha Kankkunen, Piero Liatti, Alister McRae, Colin McRae, Harri Rovanperä, Carlos Sainz, Bruno Thiry, Oriol Gomez and Kenneth Bäcklund in the place of Tommi Mäkinen, who has his own rally game.
This second game features the 1999-spec Ford Focus WRC, the 2000-spec Ford Focus WRC, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VI Gr.A, Subaru Impreza WRC2000, Peugeot 206 WRC, Toyota Corolla WRC and Seat Cordoba WRC, among other cars. The countries included are Kenya (gravel and tarmac), Finland (gravel and mud), UK (tarmac, mud and gravel), Sweden (snow and ice), Australia (loose pea gravel), Japan (1 stage in challenge mode, Tarmac and Mud), France (Corsica) (tarmac), Greece (rough gravel), and Italy (tarmac). The car featured on the front cover of the game was McRae's Ford Focus WRC 2000 (V3 FMC).
Cars included in this version are the 4WD Subaru Impreza WRX (44S), Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VII, Citroën Xsara Kit Car, and the 2WD Citroën Saxo Kit Car, MG ZR Rally Car, Ford Puma Rally Car and Fiat Punto Rally Car, all available for Arcade mode. Notably, this is the first game in which the Peugeot 206 is completely absent. There are eight countries: Sweden (snow), Japan (wet tarmac), UK (wet tarmac/gravel and mud), Finland (gravel), Spain (dry concrete/tarmac), Australia (dry loose pea gravel), USA (gravel and dusty tarmac), and Greece (dry rough gravel).
The championship takes place over three years (2002, 2003, 2004), with the difficulty increasing each year, as you race to try and become the Sparco Rally Champion in Colin McRae's Ford Focus RS WRC '02. Six rallies take place each season. The car featured on the front cover of the game was the Ford Focus WRC '02 (EK51 HXZ) from the 2002 Rallye de Catalunya.
The extra cars are: MG Metro 6R4, Ford RS200, Mitsubishi Pajero, Citroen 2CV Sahara, Subaru Impreza 44RD, Ford Focus RS WRC 01, Citroen Xsara and Lancia 037. The Subaru Impreza WRX was modelled, including the license plate, from the car belonging to John Griffin, who helped with some of the research for the game. He still owns the car as of 2008.
This was the first Colin McRae game released for the PlayStation 2, as well as the Xbox. A GameCube version was announced but it was cancelled.
This fourth incarnation of the Colin McRae Rally series, unlike in the previous three games, has no official WRC team license. All of the cars' liveries are either fictitious or taken from championships other than the WRC. The cars included are the 2003-spec Citroën Xsara world rally car (WRC), Subaru Impreza WRX STi (44S MY04), Peugeot 206 WRC, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, and the 2001-spec Ford Focus WRC. Two-wheel drive (2wd) cars included are Citroën Saxo, Ford RallyeSport Puma, Fiat Punto, VW Golf GTi and MG ZR. There are also Group B cars: Lancia 037, Peugeot 205 T16, Ford RS200 and Audi Sport Quattro S1. Nicky Grist is replaced by Derek Ringer, although you can opt for Grist for all cars except the Xsara. The countries are: Spain (tarmac), UK (gravel), Greece (rough gravel), USA (fine gravel), Japan (wet tarmac), Sweden (snow/ice), Australia (pea gravel) and Finland (gravel). In UK, USA, Sweden and Australia are also the Super Special Stages. There are six championships to complete, including expert mode, 2wd normal/advanced, 4wd normal/advanced and Group B normal. The car featured on the front cover of the game was the Citroën Xsara WRC '03 (22BJM 92).
The 2005 installation of the McRae franchise has over 70 stages spread over nine countries: Australia (loose gravel), Japan (tarmac), Finland (gravel), Greece (rough rocky gravel), UK (tarmac, mud, and gravel), Spain (smooth tarmac), USA (gravel/dusty tarmac), Sweden (snow and ice), and newcomer Germany (abrasive tarmac/light gravel). There are over 30 cars available, including Ford Focus WRC '01, Subaru Impreza WRX Sti '04 (which is featured on the front cover), Citroën Xsara WRC '04, Peugeot 206 WRC2003, and Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII (8). There is also a revised graphics / damage engine that enables paint scratches on the car, and a new 'career' mode where the player starts out in the lower club leagues and works their way up to compete with Colin McRae in his 2004 Dakar Rally Nissan Pick-Up. In 'Championship' mode the player competes as Colin himself competing in 6 Rallies using any 4WD car.
The game's graphic engine allows for more realistic damage effects and a blurred vision effect if the player comes into contact with a hard object.
A Mac version of this game has been published by Feral Interactive and developed by Robosoft Technologies.
Two mobile game versions of this game were created, a J2ME title developed by IOMO and published by Digital Bridges and a N-Gage title developed by Ideaworks3D. Both were nominated for BAFTAs in the Mobile and Handheld categories respectively.
At E3 2006, Codemasters revealed that a new McRae game was in development for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC. On 20 July 2006, Codemasters announced that the title of the new game would be Colin McRae: Dirt in Europe, and Dirt: Colin McRae Off-Road in the United States.
The title was released on 15 June 2007 in Europe and on 19 June 2007 in North America for the Xbox 360 and PC. The PlayStation 3 version was released on the 15 September 2007.
Graphically, the game has improved greatly over Colin McRae 2005 especially with the added Direct3D 9 bloom and HDR which allows more realistic lighting effects. Also, the damage engine has been improved allowing the car to be deformed and damaged via the inclusion of soft body physics on vehicles.
Colin McRae Rally Mac is the first Macintosh release of a CMR series game. It was released on 26 October 2007, just six weeks after McRae's death in a helicopter crash.
The development of the game was fraught with problems. Apple's switch to Intel Macs, some behind-the-scenes changes at Feral and other issues conspired to keep CMR:Mac from being released until fairly late into 2007, despite it being based on PC-game underpinnings that Windows gamers had been enjoying since late 2004.
Feral chose to make this release as independent of the PC franchise as possible to avoid any issues that might date it, calling it "Colin McRae Rally Mac" rather than attaching a year to it.
In November 2008, Codemasters unveiled a sequel to the successful Colin McRae: Dirt, it was released in September 2009. As well as appearing on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC, the game is available on the Nintendo DS, Wii and PlayStation Portable. The game is built upon an improved version of the EGO game engine that powered the first game, as well as a comprehensive online mode.
The success of the Colin McRae Rally games resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 6 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include, "Fastest Physics Engine in a Racing Game", "Most Camera Views in a Racing Game", and "Most Complex Audio in a Racing Game". Colin McRae: Dirt can have 96 active sound effects per car at any given time, and with 16,121 different audio samples featured in game, there are 1,005,772,154,467,879,035,136 different combinations of sounds that can occur.