Fans Enraged Over Misleading Steam Racing Game

Fans Enraged Over Misleading Steam Racing Game

Colin McRae Rally is a classic (some would even say “legendary”) racing game. So when gamers saw a game claiming to be a “remastered for HD” version of it pop up on Steam, they were ecstatic. Then they got an unpleasant surprise.

As players quickly discovered, Colin McRae Rally on Steam is not a graphically updated version of a 1998 PC and PlayStation One classic, nor is it a new take on Colin McRae Rally 2.0, which its Steam page claims it’s “based on content” from. On the upside, getting the raw end of this particular deal only cost buyers $US6.99, but much to their chagrin they got a none-too-pretty port of a mobile game for their troubles.

And yet, the Steam page is littered with text like:



“From the developers of the multi-million selling franchise and based on content from the 90% Metacritic rated Colin McRae Rally 2.0, Colin McRae Rally for Windows PC features THIRTY amazing rally stages with a combined distance of over 130km.”

Noticeable omissions from this version (relative to the classics)? Car customisation, nuanced physics and car handling, many cars and stages and menus that have any business being on non-mobile platforms — among other things.

Here’s the thing, though: I wouldn’t venture so far as to say this is false advertising. Nowhere on the page does it flat-out say, “This is an HD update of the classic Colin McRae games you know, love, and dream of every time you lay your head to rest on the engine-themed pillow in your rally-car-shaped bed each night.” Instead, it merely claims to be an HD remaster of something. Technically speaking, the clues to what this game actually is are all there. You just have to know to look for them: between the lines.

That strikes me as distressingly disingenuous. Is it false advertising, though? A slimy, sizzling oil slick of a lie? No. Not exactly.

That hasn’t stopped a lot of gamers from feeling misled. Steam’s forums, especially, are abuzz with outrage. When the game’s store listing first went up, they said things like this:

But then people got their hands on it and quickly changed their tunes:

It wasn’t just the Steam forums either. People were also quite surprised on monolithic gaming forum NeoGAF:

Popular YouTuber Nerd³, meanwhile, had some rather pointed words to place right in front of the game’s flagging tires.

So it’s all kind of a hot mess. Here’s the problem, though: while this new Colin McRae Rally may not hold a candle to the classics, it’s not a terrible game. Yeah, people came in expecting something else thanks to terribly vague advertising, but taken on its own merits the game is merely mediocre, with a price tag to match.

Some players are even digging it:

Meanwhile, one of the game’s developers at least tried to clear things up on NeoGAF while handing out free copies of the game:

So here we are, in a murky grey area where it’s tough to know exactly how to feel or react.

I’ve reached out to publisher Codemasters for comment on both the situation and whether or not they will alter the Steam page to more accurately reflect what this version of Colin McRae contains, but they have yet to reply. I’ll update this post accordingly when or if they do.


  • Seems to be happening more and more on steam, unfortunately the consumer is the one that pays for it. Valve’s hands off approach to their steam is to blame for developers being less then honest of their products.

    • I agree I’m starting to get really pissed off at Steam right now, it looks tired and old and the amount of crap they are letting in is ridiculous.

      If they keep going this way they could be in for a bit of trouble when GoG Galaxy arrives!

      • On the flip side, people treat Steam like the central digital games store for Windows (even complaining when games need to be bought elsewhere). Do you really want them to start picking and choosing?

        I can totally understand them curating the front page and requiring that store page descriptions be accurate, but that’s different from refusing to sell the game.

    • Heh you can tell you’re young… Codies were always a bit shonky, usually nothing quite this bad but after seeing them release what was effectively the same game with a palette swap & different titles multiple times on the C64, seeing them acting like spoiled children fighting with Bohemia Interactive over the name of Operation Flashpoint and loads of other little shitty things, I can’t say this is too surprising a move.

  • same shit happened to me but with another game.

    dungeons and dragons chronicles of mysteria. when it first came out i watched the video playing cause its the first thing you do really. and in that trailer it was all HD! blah blah blah so i bought it didn’t bother reading any text cause you know classic game in HD! then i find out its only hd for consoles… wtf? and so i sent a msg to support and they just basically say we don’t give a fuck, and i tell them they need to remove the video and screenshots then because thats not how the game looks.

    get the same response – we don’t give a fuck.

  • That strikes me as distressingly disingenuous. Is it false advertising, though? A slimy, sizzling oil slick of a lie? No. Not exactly.

    Actually it is in Australia. Truth in advertising relies on dominant impression, you can’t create a false impression and then have something different in the fine print.

    If it isn’t in the US, then it’s yet another example of the fact America really hates consumers.

    • On top of that Aussies can’t get jipped like that. Steam has to provide a refund under Australian Consumer Law is the game is not as described. The moment Steam refuses is the moment you go to Fair Trading in your state.

      • This.

        Our consumer protection laws are one of the things I truly love about this country.

  • Here’s what I did.

    1) I saw the game
    2) Got really excited
    3) clicked on the images available
    4) Saw that the car models were quite low polygon and the ground was low res
    5) Didn’t buy it. Put it on wishlist. Figured I’d wait for a steam sale

  • I slapped this on my wishlist yesterday after assuming it was a HD remake. but now that I have read this I wish steam had a blacklist publisher button.

    Edit: Just found the flag product button on steam and flagged it for fraud.

  • Any dumbass with more than 3 brain cells should have known this was a PC port of the mobile version.

    You all deserve to be burned by Codemasters.

  • Luckly for me I watched a gameplay video on YouTube and I first thing I said to myself was “hang on, something’s not right – where’s the Toyota Corolla WRC car?”…I happen to play this at a friends house over the weekend and what my thoughts came true…No Peugeot 206 WRC, Toyota Corolla WRC and Seat Cordoba WRC cars, no tuning options, handling is very bad…

    I love Colin McRae Rally 2.0 on the PS1 all those years ago (playing with a couple of close mates doing a full rally championship) but this was just crap

  • I expected codemasters to be better than that. especially with their stellar record of great PC games.

  • It does suck yes but people should do research on what they are purchasing. A quick Google search or YouTube gameplay footage would prevent this from happening. It’s kinda like buying something on eBay by only looking at the picture and not reading the description then getting upset because what you purchased was white when the picture showed black.

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