In a slight change to the usual Scotch Corner, here are two interviews from recent releases SBK Team Manager on mobile devices, and Ride 3 on PC and consoles. Normal service will resume soon.
SBK Team Manger – Emmanuel Floret, Lead Designer
What was your inspiration behind making the game?
I had a conversation with a friend back when I was working at Ubisoft Montreal. He asked me what would be the top three games that I would like to develop before I die. I answered that I would love to create a motorcycle team management game. That idea stuck with me, and the next day, I went on the Google Play store and realized that no such game existed at the time, so I decided that I should do everything to make it happen.
And what inspired you to make it a management game instead of a more standard racer?
Standard racing games are very common, plus I am now a bit too old to be a racer myself. I am at an age where I could potentially be a team manager, and also I love management games.
How do you feel this change has transferred the feel of the sport?
This change allows the player to see how much work is needed to be a successful team in motorcycle racing. Having fast riders is important, but so is having good crew chiefs, mechanics, amenities and a balanced budget. It shows that success is based on a team effort and not only rider skills.
How are you finding the fans are taking to it as it’s the first of its kind for two wheel racing?
We had a very good reception, and I think that many fans are delighted to see a game that finally offers a new take, a different challenge from the classic motorcycle racing games.
Also why make it a mobile title? Are there any plans to port it to other platforms?
There are two reasons behind this platform choice. The first one is that it’s cheaper to make a mobile game. Even though I am an industry veteran, I struggled to find investors willing to fund the adventure since it is the first game of the genre and I had no data to demonstrate that this game could be a viable product. The second reason is that this gameplay suits the mobile platforms very well. I am not comfortable using touch controls to race any vehicle. The touch controls are designed to navigate menus, and therefore are perfect for management games. I would love to port the game to other platforms; we will evaluate the different opportunities at a later stage.
And does having it on mobile have any advantages or disadvantages you found when developing the game?
Developing for mobile platforms is very challenging because there are many hardware specs out there, and also resources such as the RAM, are very scarce on low-end products. So we had to be very careful with the different systems and assets that we included in the game. One positive aspect is that mobile games usually don’t need to be as deep as PC games, and that helps to keep the development costs in the lower range.
Have you worked or had any input from any of the SBK teams / riders / principals? And if so how did their input shape the game or change things if at all? And what do they think of the game?
The Superbike World Championship license holder, Dorna WSBK Organization, supervised the development of the game and approved every single asset and gameplay mechanic in order to ensure an accurate representation of World Superbike racing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to be in direct contact with any SBK Championship participant. However, I hope that it will soon be the case so that we can make better games in the future. If anyone in the SBK paddock purchased the game, I hope they enjoy the experience, and their feedback is more than welcome.
Do you ever see yourself doing a similar game but based on other series like the MotoGP or BSB or the TT?
I would love to apply this concept to different bike racing series. My dream, however, would be to make a game that combines multiple series in the same experience. The player could start by managing a team in the Red Bull Rookies Cup for example, and then progress through the different series to reach the MotoGP category, the pinnacle of the sport.
Or even getting to manage classic teams and riders from WSB like Aaron Slight or Noriyuki Haga back in their heyday?
That’s a great idea for a DLC! Are you looking for a job in the video game industry? (wink)
Would you ever think of teaming up with the likes of Milestone and doing a companion app/game for one of their bike games as they hold the keys to a lot of the different series just now?
At Pixel Racers, our goal is to enrich the lives of our fellow bikers by expanding the realm of the motorcycle games genre. We are willing to partner with any company or individual that can help us reach that goal.
With the sport changing from year to year will this impact the game? Or do you have plans to update as it evolves? And what next for the game after launch?
We will update the roster, bikes, and tracks for the next two seasons, as it’s part of our contract with Dorna and our publisher, Digital Tales. Also, we have many ideas that we would like to implement, so the plan is to update the game with new features regularly. However, we need to sell enough copies to add those features in, so tell your friends about the game and let’s make it a success!
Do you have any tips for people just starting the game who may have never played a management game like this?
Make sure that you always upgrade your hospitality as soon as possible. Those upgrades are essential to the success of your SBK team. Also, make sure that your riders spend more time on the bike than on the ground!
Ride 3 – Matteo Pezzotti, Lead Designer
What is the biggest change since Ride 2?
Probably the biggest change in Ride 3 is the switch to the new graphic engine, Unreal Engine 4. That switch has allowed us to ensure an incredible visual quality, with realistic and impressive lighting and particle effects, as well as a photorealistic level for the environment rendering.
How many new bikes have been added to the game since Ride 2? And how close have you worked with the manufactures?
We work closely with all manufacturers included in the game – it’s all designed to make sure that any bike model in the game is perfectly reproduced as in reality. In Ride 3, we’ve added 70 new bike models.
And did you hit any issues with any along the way? Or get requests to change anything from them?
For sure, as you’d expect what manufacturers tend to focus on is realism and fidelity with the reproduction of their bikes. Ride 3 is a game for bikes fans, developed by bikes fans, and from this point of view, we can say that we we’re on the same page and our collaboration with the different brands was fantastic.
Are they any new styles of bike been added this time round? i.e., like the cruiser, offroad and tourers?
Indeed. Following the tastes of the bikes market in the real world, we’ve added a Maxi Enduro category to the game. However, we’ve also explored other different ways to, as you say, “live the bike”, adding models from the 1960s and 1970s, giving more choice in the Two Strokes category, and adding a lot more of Racing Transformation – also for naked bikes – that our fans liked a lot in Ride 2.
Have there been any new brands added to the game in terms of bikes or gear?
Yes. We’ve added a total of nine new bike brands: Gilera, Benelli, Fantic Motor, Norton, Paton, Vyrus, Moto Guzzi, Walt Siegl, and Praem.
How do you select which gear is added to the game?
Thanks to both Ride and Ride 2, we already had a strong partnership with all the most important gear brands in the motorcycle world – Dainese, Alpinestar, AGV, Arai, etc. From this point of view, the selection was quite easy – we just opened the new season catalogues and added the most beautiful new gear to the game.
Are there any new features fans have been asking for this time out?
The game will be strongly supported after launch with a lot of new contents coming – 77 new bikes for starters, as well as 195 new racing events split among premium and free DLCs. Unfortunately, at this stage we can’t really talk about the next chapter of Ride franchise – Ride 3 is the focus for now, haha.
Also when it comes to tracks how do you go about picking what makes the cut? Also what’s new this time around on the track front?
This is the third chapter in the series, so we had a lot of feedback from our players about just which kind of tracks they wanted in a possible new game. They asked for more iconic GP tracks, so we’ve given them Laguna Seca and Daytona. They said they’d love to have BSB tracks, and so we added Oulton Park, Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park. They wanted more Road Racing, and so we’ve added more tracks. They asked for Off Road Section in Supermoto tracks, and so we added them. In short, we think our players will be very happy with the new track selection.
Have you had any input for real riders while making the game for the likes of WSB, BSB or MotoGP? If so who?
Milestone already has a strong history with the two-wheeled racing world, so the feedback we really needed was focused on developing a satisfying and accurate physics model, more related to all the different “road” bikes categories we have in the game. Luckily some of the people in our physics department are also riders also in real life, and so they had the chance to try bikes out on the road before adding them to the game.
What are the plans for the game post launch? And what’s next for the Ride series?
The game will be strongly supported after launch with a lot of new content coming: 77 new bikes and 195 new racing events split among premium and free DLCs.
Is there anything you really wanted to add to the game but it just didn’t make the cut?
Not really – we’re very satisfied about all the new features and changes we can delivered in Ride 3, and we think it’s a definitive step forward from the previous games in the series.
Do you ever see the studio doing a Turn 10 style move and having Ride as the more sim focused game but also doing a more arcade style game like the Horizon series but with bikes?
Actually, we think Ride 3 can already be enjoyed by both casual players that prefer a more arcade approach and core gamers looking for hard challenges and extreme simulation. Thanks to many game setting and options, you can customise the level of the simulation in game to match your favourite game style.
Have you ever looked at going anything in VR for say the PSVR or the like?
Not yet, but when we develop our games we always monitor all feedback coming from our community to satisfy their requests where possible.
Ride 3 is out now for PS4, Xbox One and PC for around £45.
I’ll be back soon with more from North of the Border. Catch ye’s…