OlliOlli Developer Interview

OlliOlli is coming out for the PS Vita in the near future and Gamestyle had the chance to sit down with developers Roll7 to find out a bit more about the game.

We are speaking to Tom Hegarty of Roll 7

OlliOlli looking fantastic, what were your influences for the game?

The objective was to simplify the controls of a skate game as much as possible. Its all about twitch reactions, and getting the most out of your environment. In that sense it takes a lot of cues from games like Meat Boy and Dust Force. I think it’s also quite similar in it’s core game to things from the 16 bit era. We don’t start throwing tons of new features at the player as the game progresses, we aim more to give the player different situations in which to use a skillset they’ve been mastering since the start.

NEW SCREENSHOT Frontside Flip June

What makes the Vita an attractive prospect for you? We love the system at Gamestyle but it has been much maligned from some corners of the gaming media.

Roll7’s first game, Gets To The Exit was on iOS and despite some good reviews the sales didn’t make pretty reading. It was after that we decided we needed to shift to Console or PC platform, smaller markets perhaps but more a focused gaming audience. A chance meeting with James Marsden form Futurlab at Develop 2012 ended up with John Ribbins (Roll7 Game Designer) showing him the iOS concept demo for OlliOlli and James then introduced us to Shahid at Sony . We pitched a number of ideas to Sony, but OlliOlli was the one that stuck (we had to ask Shahid for our iPad back!) The transition from iOS to Vita was actually quite natural and the analog controls have hugely enhanced the way the game plays and how you as a player can interact as the skater

What do you class the game as? Skateboarding sim, Platformer, Endless Runner, a mix of all of those? Pitch the game to us!

We’re focusing on’ Arcade Sports’ as a genre at the moment. If we had to sum up the game in one line we’d say SuperMeat Boy meets Skateboarding’. You’re gonna slam a lot but if we get it right you’re also gonna be reaching for the restart button over and over! Its definitely not an Endless runner, all the levels are carefully crafted and it’s all about tricks, combos and high scores! There are actually over 120 tricks in the game + a load of unique grinds

What is the thought process for a game such as this? When people think of skateboard games, they look at Tony Hawk, Skate and the likes, this seems quite removed from that and not just because it is in 2D.

In terms of other skating games OlliOlli feels closest to ‘Skate’ in terms of its control system. People who try and play OlliOlli using Tony Hawk’s controls will not get very far! However it does has its own feel, as skaters ourselves we wanted to try and simulate certain aspects of skating that other games don’t touch on, In this case the landing. The key to big scores is stomp your tricks by pressing X just before you land to get a ‘Perfect Landing’ You can pull the most ludicrous chain of combos but if you don’t get your landing right you lose all your points….. or slam.

How much input has Sony had on the creative process? Aside from funding, have they left you to completely make the game you want? Was that part of the reason for working with them?

The Feedback form Sony is always very constructive and after our meetings with them its then play tested by their in house team and we get detailed written feedback. However, Sony make it very clear that it is our decision as to what we do and don’t implement, though on more often than not we feel that their guidance is better for the game and it tends to get implemented and perhaps tweaked along the way. We didn’t know it would work this way before we started but we’re really happy with the process.

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What are the difference between making a Vita exclusive and games for the PC or Mobile platforms?

The Support from Sony is a key aspect here. We have access to DevNet where we can post any tech issues we are having in a private or public forum. We had some issues with our Audio Engine the other day and someone from Sony actually came out to our Studio! It’s great to get that kind of support the likes of which we’ve not seen on non-console platforms.

Will we get to see other titles such as ‘UR Not a Hero’, ‘Gets to the exit’ come to the Vita if this is a success? Or after OlliOlli is it a case of making another fresh game?

We’d love to put more titles on the Vita, we’ve become big fans of it since we’ve started developin, and I now play the Vita more than any other console/PC or tablet. Ur Not A Hero has actually not been released we just put out an uber early Alpha version on our site and people downloaded it and seemed to like it! We now have a publisher for Ur Not A Hero, but I can’t reveal too much about it yet.

We have a load of other concept demos that have never seen the light of day so we’d love to get those onto the Vita sometime too!

There seems to be somewhat of an Indie revolution on the Vita right now, how does it feel to be part of those early stages, being a game often quoted when upcoming Indies are being touted?

We certainly feel it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. We’ve only just got to know the Indie Community ourselves but everyone has been very friendly and welcoming as well as willing to share ideas and cross promote each other’s games.

We’re currently talking to Alan Zucconi and Nicoll Hunt about an ‘Indie Homage’ where we include each other’s characters in our games, its early days yet but check out #indiehomage on twitter

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Is the game going to be an all in what you see if what you get? Or are there plans to add in some DLC levels or features down the line? There are randomly generated levels for some modes, but what are the possibilities of level creation and sharing? Or is that something you would rather steer away from?

We’re not sure on DLC at the moment but the game is going to very big without it, so hopefully you’ll be happy with what you get! 50 Levels, 50 Spots, Infinite Mode, Daily Grind mode and once you complete all that you’ll get Rad Mode, which lets you replay all the levels using the original Demo controls which are incredibly difficult to master but once you get them it gives the game a real edge!

Finally, we have to ask… Are there any secrets not revealed about the game that you can tell our readers?

Haha, they wouldn’t be secrets if I told you! Nothing to reveal right now sadl , we’ve got a few ideas but we’re focusing on making sure the already extensive game is a great experience!

 

Thank you Tom for your time.

You can follow more of OlliOlli at its Facebook Page