Why did you tie the boosting in the game to the level of tricks you can do? How does that change the gameplay?
This is how we reward the player for pulling tricks in PURE. As soon as you pull a single trick you'll earn some boost. If you link tricks together you get even more. Then, as you work up to the bigger tricks you keep earning more and more boost. Using your boost however will drain your thrill bar and your tricks will start to be limited to the lower tier tricks again. Adding this feature really changed the way people were playing the game. We added in new routes that can only be accessed by boosting and jumping together. This means you'll get some people tricking and boosting as they go, while others save their boost to use the new shortcuts. This all works really well in a 16 player online race!
Can you talk about the track design in the game? What factors go into how you design the tracks and what separates a good track a great track? How many of these tracks are based on real-life locations?
One of the design briefs was to keep the player in the air for as long as possible so we had to factor this in when designing the tracks. We knew each track would have to have massive jumps to achieve this, so we had to come up with new ways to present them to the player each time. Every jump had to offer something new in both terms of gameplay and in visuals.
Each track we built had to undergo rigorous focus test sessions so that we could gauge people’s excitement. If there were problems with a track, or even with a single jump, it was changed and if necessary sections were completely redesigned. Then it would be retested once again. It’s this level of iteration and attention to detail that leads to having great tracks in your game. Oh.. and having good track designers of course!
We have seven locations around the world and each one has multiple tracks set within it. We have everything from real riding locations such as the deserts of Southern California, through to the lush jungles of Thailand. All the tracks started from reference images we found or from trips to real locations. We then mapped our own PURE style race tracks through realistic looking environments.
What different environments will players be racing through? How do the different environments impact the race?
The track surfaces change in each track and this effects how the ATV’s handle. Each track will have various surface types to help balance the split routes we have through each tracks. Some routes might be shorter than others but they might be churned up with deep mud. Other routes will have ice on them that will make your ATV slide out.
What was the approach to achievements/trophies? Do you have a personal favorite?
We wanted to award the player early on with lots of easy ones and then reward them at regular intervals throughout the game. We also have plenty of achievements to award both online and offline for non-essential objectives.
My personal favorite is the Triple Flip. You need to set your ATV up just right, find the biggest jump you can and boost like mad at it to get enough air.
Multiplayer is always crucial for racing games, what kind of modes can we expect to see in the final game? How many players will be able to race at one time? Sixteen racers online certainly makes for some rush hour traffic. If there are less than 16 players available online, are the remaining slots filled by bots?
Everything you can do offline, you can do online. There is even an extra Freeride mode online where you can just practice your favorite track with other riders or explore all the routes.
You're right though, 16 players online is crazy! Having all the split routes in the tracks and all the different surface types really comes together online. You'll always see people take new routes and jumping over your head. Its nuts. If there are any remaining slots in a race you have the option to fill these with AI riders so you can always have a full pack.
Wes Miller is serving as a consultant on the game, what kind of influence has he had on the game? Can you cite any specific changes that he suggested?
Having his experience was critical with the Build Your Ride feature. We wanted to make sure that all the parts in the garage did the right things and that the manufactures we featured were the ones that people would know and be using themselves on their own ATV's. The different level of upgrades that the performance parts can have is one of Wes's ideas.
It's the age of upload. What tools do you have in place to immortalize players and their races online and off?
Every track has its own leaderboard which tracks the players on and offline best lap times and we also have ranked leaderboards that tracks the players online race achievements.
Did we miss anything critical to the game?
PURE is coming out on 3 formats – Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. It will be in stores by the end of September.
We'd like to thank Ian for taking the time to answer our questions as well as to Steve C for helping to coordinate the interview.
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