WRC has been the official video game for the FIA World Rally Championship for some time now, and each instalment keeps getting better. WRC6 has seen considerable input and involvement from professional rally driver, Sébastien Chardonnet; winner of the 2013 WRC3 championship and current participant in WRC1. We were fortunate enough to fly over to Paris, have a hands-on with WRC6 and conduct a short interview with Sébastien.
VGU: Hi Sébastien, good to meet you. First off, how long have you been involved with the development of WRC and this instalment in particular?
Sébastien: I’ve been involved since the middle of development on WRC5, so I’ve been on the WRC6 team for the entire development cycle – around 10-12 months.
VGU: What has been your favourite aspect of developing WRC6?
Sébastien: The dynamics of the car was the biggest part of my job as a driver, and for WRC6 I had the opportunity to make it as realistic as possible. I had an engineer with me and we tested a few things, like whenever I had an idea we’d test it and we made a lot of progress with the cars.
VGU: WRC6 is obviously the most realistic WRC yet, but how does it feel compared to being in the car itself? Does it emulate the feeling successfully?
Sébastien: For sure it’s different. There’s no notion of danger, your life isn’t threatened when you’re playing the game which makes a huge difference. The second thing is the component of the cars; if you drive poorly, the car will have bad components so you need to treat it like a real car.
VGU: Easy question: What’s your favourite stage in WRC6?
Sébastien: That’s actually not so easy! There is more than one stage I like – the stages I like the most are the ones I use to showcase the game, as I know them very well. So if I had to choose three, it’d be Sweden – Tolsby, Mexico – Los Mexicanos, and on tarmac, Germany – Panzerplatte. It’s very short, but very interesting because there’s a lot of corners, hairpins, fast sections and everything in between. It plays very nicely.
VGU: You mentioned DiRT Rally prior to this interview; how does WRC6 feel in comparison?
Sébastien: It’s hard to make a comparison because the target audience is different for both games. WRC6 is an official game with licenses so it’s more like a simulator. The thing that’s interesting is the difference between each car; if you drive a Mini from 1960 then try a WRC car from 2012, the compartments are completely different. That’s the really good thing of DiRT Rally; the balance of the cars are also nice, along with the feeling of the car. It’s a game where both novice and experienced players can find pleasure, but it’s not a simulation. It’s a big compromise, whereas WRC6 is developed for more experienced players as they want to stay true to the license. I often play DiRT for inspiration when thinking about WRC6.
VGU: On to you specifically, how did you originally get into rallying?
Sébastien: Ever since I was a boy I liked to race go-karts, since about 10 years old. Then I switched to circuit, I made a three-seater and competed in some GT3 races in the European and French championships. Then I started rallying in 2010. In my family there’s a big story about the rally; my grandfather in France owned a big company who were selling the cars and he built a team called Chardonnet Competition and he won the Monte Carlo event with a private team and only French drivers. A lot of people know my grandfather in France and Italy, so my family name had a story behind it already. In 2010 I decided to try rallying for the first time and found out I enjoyed it, so I stopped circuit and started my career in rallying.
VGU: As a rally driver, what’s been your most memorable moment?
Sébastien: For sure when we won the first rally championship in WRc3. That was a very very great moment and incredible feeling. I had two targets: the WRc3 championship and to be the top driver and as a parting gift, to drive in WRC2 for years after. So those for sure are my best memories.
VGU: Finally, have you got any tips for new players to WRC6?
Sébastien: The number one thing is don’t push too hard right at the beginning. The best way to learn and progress is to play short stages on asphalt and keep replaying them more and more until you’ve learnt them perfectly. Then try to push more, you learn how the cars feel and it becomes easier to go faster on other stages and tracks. Take each corner carefully.
VGU: Thanks very much for your time Sébastien, and enjoy the rest of your day.
Keep your eyes peeled for our impressions of WRC6 coming very soon!