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Codemasters stealth releases the newest Dirt game on Steam Early Access

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Racing game developer Codemasters surprised fans of the Dirt series today by releasing an all-new entry, Dirt Rally, on Steam Early Access.

Codemasters' stealth Early Access release of Dirt Rally, which launched today at a discounted price of $31.49, was done in an effort to "make sure we get this right," the developer said.

"You've been asking us for a game that is pure rally with none of the fluff, one that has more stages, longer stages and repairs in between stages," Codemasters said. "You've told us how you want your own team, to be able to set the car up how you want and to feel like you own the car you're driving. We want to deliver that game.

"So, right now at the start of Early Access this is what you are getting for your money."

Dirt Rally launched with 17 cars, 36 tracks, asynchronous challenge events, team management and league support. Codemasters says that's just the beginning.

"We won't be charging anything for that new content," the studio said,. "Regardless of when you join us you'll have access to everything we produce for our early access period at no extra cost. So that's what we've made and this is just the starting point. Over the coming months we'll be adding more cars, more tracks, new game modes and features we haven't even thought of yet — features that you are going to think of and help us build."

Codemasters has posted a timeline of its content plans for Dirt Rally for the next six months on its website. Planned additions include locations like Pike's Peak, competitive multiplayer and classic and modern rally cars.

The studio says it's focusing on the Steam Early Access version for Windows PC, but said in a FAQ that "if there is sufficient demand for the Dirt Rally experience on consoles, then of course we'll consider that."