There was one present at the top of rally fans’ Christmas wish lists this year - EA Sports Rally.
Codemasters has been rallying’s go-to game developer for over 25 years but its relationship with the sport took a step-up in 2023 with its first official World Rally Championship game.
The move coincided with EA Sports’ takeover of the Codemasters brand and in turn, should draw in an increased community of rally gamers.
EA Sports Rally’s 2023 release also coincided with Ireland's greatest WRC representation to date. Craig Breen and James Fulton, Josh McErlean and John Rowan, William Creighton and Liam Regan, and Eamonn Kelly and Conor Mohan all started the year with major WRC campaigns planned.
The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy is to thank for such strong representation and its three WRC crews all feature in EA Sports Rally.
It is the stuff of dreams for the young guns’ emerald green rally cars to feature on gaming console screens - one can only imagine how many living rooms were lit up by those exact cars over the Christmas period.
EA Sports Rally’s predecessor, Dirt Rally 2.0, was played by over 12 million people worldwide. It is expected that rallying’s latest offering will reach even more.
Gamers can reenact McErlean’s ambush on WRC2 aboard his Philip Case Rally Sport prepared Hyundai i20 Rally2. Meanwhile, Creighton and Kelly's M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3s will be a popular choice for those aiming to get up to speed on the state-of-the-art game.
Creighton’s Rally3 Fiesta will be particularly popular as 2023’s Junior World Rally Champion.
It is a proud achievement for everyone involved in the MI Rally Academy's development over the past few years. The academy’s recognition is hitting new heights on the world stage and this foray into the virtual world is a special memento.
The three crews’ Jordan Formula One-inspired green, blue, and white livery is a special bonus. The factory team-esqe livery is as classy as they come and looks just as good in the virtual realm of rally gaming.
The MI Rally Academy’s WRC residence was hugely important as the rallying fraternity got back on its feet following Craig Breen’s tragic passing in April.
Breen aced his Hyundai Motorsport return with a spellbinding runner-up finish on the snow classic Rally Sweden. The nine-time world rally podium is remembered in EA Sports Rally as players can follow in their hero’s footsteps through a special championship mode.
With Ireland bidding to showcase its world-famous roads on 2025’s WRC calendar, there is every chance we could be tackling our favourite Irish stages in an MI Rally Academy car on a future EA Sports Rally game.
Have you been playing EA Sports Rally over the holiday period? If so, send us your best in-game photos and tag #MIRallyAcademy on social media so we can share some action shots!
Text by Adam Hall