PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date:September 11, 2018
Dakar 18 is a rally racing simulator developed by BigMoon Entertainment. It is based on the annual Dakar Rally, which is an endurance rally raid and is often cited as one of the most gruelling and demanding rally events in the world.
BigMoon Entertainment have in the past worked on creating 3D art for games such as WRC, FlatOut, and MotoGP, but Dakar 18 is going to be their first developed video game ever. It is also the first Dakar rally game to be made by anyone in 15 years. While developing Dakar 18, BigMoon’s aim first and foremost has been to create a completely faithful and authentic simulation of the real world event. In fact, the developers have also stated that they want to make it so that drivers training for the rally raid can use Dakar 18 as a simulator for training at home.
Dakar 18 is the first game in a three game deal, and with it, BigMoon Entertainment are planning to launch what they state will be an annual franchise. Dakar 18 is made using the Unreal Engine 4.
Being based on the Dakar Rally, which moved to South America from Europe and Africa in 2009, Dakar 18 is set across three South American countries- Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. The game is set in an open world environment, which will be one of the biggest open worlds ever in a racing game, spanning over 20,000 km². The entirety of this map will be explorable. Players can also exit the vehicle at any time and explore on foot. The developers have stated that the game’s world will represent a lot of different topography, with various biomes ranging across deserts, sand dunes, beeches, rivers, mountains, rainforests, lakes, grasslands, and more. Though it is a rally-based game and focuses primarily on off-road driving, some locations will also see better built roads and small rural settlements. There will also be some wildlife in the map, such as rabbits and llamas. The game will also have different kinds of climates and weathers.
Progression in Dakar 18 is not done through checkpoints or laps or conventional races. There will be a total of fourteen stages, each of which can taken between one to two hours to complete, depending on the player’s skill level. Faithful to the real world event, players will, have to collect a series of waypoints as quickly as they can while competing. For doing this, they will have to rely on manual navigation, which means there will be no maps or markers or pointers to tell players where to go. Instead, players will have to rely on the Dakar roadbook, which the developers have recreated in the game. The roadbook will include details about landmarks, and distances to the next waypoint, and players will have to use these details to navigate the open world with the help of a compass.
There will also be a co-pilot in the passenger seat who will aid with navigation by telling players about pointers from the roadbook. However, Dakar 18 will also make some concessions for newcomers or for players who want a more relaxed experience. This will come through the Rookie Mode, and while the developers have stated that it will not completely change the experience by adding waypoints and directional help, it will still give players enough tools to help make navigating the environments easier. For instance, a marker will be added to the compass, showing players which direction they need to be heading in to get to the next waypoint. Players can make use of rookie mode to learn courses before they jump into the proper mode, or to get the lay of the land or learn the game’s physics and mechanics.
Additionally, BigMoon Entertainment have also created five training regimes to help new drivers learn the basics of the experience, which they have crafted with the help of Honda and by looking at the latter’s own training regimes for new drivers. Driving will also consume stamina, while the game will also have damage mechanics. Vehicles will get more damaged as players drive them more, or if they do not drive them properly and cause damage themselves. Parts such as the suspension, brakes, and others will individually deteriorate with damage and affect driving and performance. As such, vehicles will need to be maintained and regularly repaired. Players will have to fix their vehicles manually by exiting the vehicle and inspecting individual parts. They can also help with repair and towing of competitors’ vehicles. This will be done through Dakar Points, which players earn in-game by getting to waypoints or performing other in-game tasks, such as towing competitors’ vehicles when they are stuck in terrain and require help.
Dakar 18 will have several vehicles across five different categories of vehicles- cars, quads, trucks, UTVs, and bikes. Each vehicle type will have its own teams, all of which will be officially licensed. This will include drivers as well, all of whom will be scanned into the game completely, which means players cannot create their own character. The licensed teams for vehicles are: for bikes, KTM, Honda, Yamaha, and Husqvarna; for UTVs, UTV XtremePlus Polaris official teams; for trucks, Kamaz, Maz, Tatra, Mammoet Renault, and Veka MAN; for quads, Quad riders Ignacio Casale, Sergei Karyakin, Alexis Hernandez and Rafal Sonik with Yamaha Raptor; for cars, Peugeot, Mini, Toyota, Renault, and Mitsubishi.
The types of vehicles will also all affect players’ driving, since they may or may not be compatible with the kind of terrain being driven on. For instance, while motorcycles might find it harder to wade across rivers, a task for which trucks might be better suited, the latter would not be suited to driving over sand dunes. Due to their weight, trucks might sink into the sand and get stuck. Further, players will also have to keep in mind the game’s physics while driving across obstacles, across various terrains, or at high speeds.
The game will have an online multiplayer component as well, which will allow up to eight players to compete in rally events against each other. The developers plan on increasing the player count to sixteen some time after the game’s launch. Split screen offline multiplayer is included as well. Dakar 18 will also have a Treasure Hunt mode, which will provide a break from the main rally activities and allow for exploration of the world at a slower pace for some side activities. Treasure Hunt mode is a free mode that can be played both single player and multiplayer. The developers have four easter egg items in each of the three countries represented in the game’s world – Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina – which players can then go on the hunt for as part of the Treasure Hunt mode.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.