Eurogamer: Was too much made of the Americanisation of DiRT with DiRT 2?
Paul Coleman: We were firm on our direction choice on DiRT 2. That was represented in the way we made the front end, the way the music choice was made, and the events and style of how you interacted with the other drivers in the game.
We wanted it to feel you were at an X-Games-style event. When you watch skateboarders finish their run in those events they're all patting each other on the back. Yes, they're competing against each other, but they're a community and they're all friends with one another. We wanted to try and bring that into the world of racing because we saw guys like Travis [Pastrana] and Ken and Dave Mirra starting to bring that style of competition to rally.
Looking back, we may have gone too far in that direction. Having just gone on a press tour to the US, some of the Americans wanted more rally as well. In that respect we did miss the mark.
But in a way it's great for us because it means a lot of the guys from the studio who felt we were over Americanising things now have the opportunity to go hardcore on the rally. We can still represent the other disciplines we introduced to those newcomers so they're not going to be disappointed.
Rally itself is growing. Ken is moving away from the X-Games and those types of events. Travis is now doing NASCAR, so he's not even competing in rally any more. We can start moving back to the European centric WRC-style rallying and not be concerned we're going to lose audience in America as a result.
More on DiRT 3
Eurogamer: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit's Auto Log feature felt groundbreaking. Does DiRT 3 have something similar?
Paul Coleman: We looked at the way Ken Block represents himself globally. A lot of that is due to his Gymkhana videos on YouTube. He's had over 90 million hits with his videos. We looked at that aspect of showing off. That's the way we've driven our community elements.
We want players to upload videos from any replay in the game or even the instant replay during a race, the idea being they can go into a replay, press the YouTube button, select a start and an endpoint in the video and then upload that directly to YouTube.
That'll go to their YouTube channel and to our DiRT community channel. We'll choose best crash, best overtake and maybe even hand out prizes. The player will be able to distribute that video through their own social media, be it Facebook or Twitter, showing their friends the cool stuff they've been getting up to in our game.
We attacked it from a different angle for DiRT 3 to try and draw more people into the series so you don't both have to be playing the game to get these updates and find this competitive element. You might just be sat on Facebook checking out your friend's status, and he's suddenly posted this cool video of him sliding around in a Gymkhana course in this game he might never have heard of. It's an opportunity for us to spread our message through those social media channels.
Auto Log I must admit has very much interested us, but we were far enough through development to not be able to respond to it in quite the way EA have managed to do. But we're looking at it for future titles.
We do have our stats system we brought in with DiRT 2, and we'll hopefully push those stats to a Facebook app. The idea is you can have a competition between two people who have a Facebook account and happen to be playing DiRT 3. You'll be able to scrape the stats from that and it'll face them off within Facebook rather than within the game.
It also means you'll be able to create a car club outside the game, use Facebook as your way of interacting with the people in it, but use DiRT 3 as a meeting place to then go and race. So we are doing stuff, but nothing to the integrated level of the EA way.
Paul Coleman is chief games designer of DiRT 3 at Codemasters.