Back in 2016, Ubisoft decided to get EXTREME in the mountains. Steep was the name of the game, traversing the snowiest of alps was its aim and gorgeous was its frame. A meditative and tranquil experience that allowed you to chart your own winter Olympics, Steep had plenty to do if you were into snowboarding, skiing, and paragliding.
But now the snow has thawed, the action has shifted to muddier pursuits and America’s national parks have been transformed into a social experiment for some outdoor sports in Rider’s Republic. Which makes for a shift not only in tone but attitude as well. “Rider’s Republic has a totally different mood, I think the tone is much more friendly and fun,” creative director Igor Manceau explained to us.
From a gameplay perspective, we have a totally different control scheme and logic. But it’s really about being social. All the game is built around being with friends, getting a lot of players around you. I think that is the core of the game before everything else. This is really a very different game in many aspects.
One of the key features of Steep won’t just be the world that players can explore, but the density of it with other players populating several regions and engaging in their own activities. For the team at Ubisoft, that creates not just a busy landscape to explore, but also an energetic one. “We’ll be able to match-make on next-gen consoles, up to 50 players,” Manceau said.
That creates life and energy, a dynamic that I think we’ve rarely seen in any video game. With other players you’ll be able to group and enter competitive nodes, but generally speaking, that living space is a core element of the game. Once you’re grouped with some friends, all the main content will be accessible for you to play in versus mode. You’ll be able to progress in the game with a very friendly competition spirit.
To keep the game world competitive, Rider’s Republic has a neat trick up its server sleeves: Spots on the map, that players can battle over and stake a claim on if they’re good enough to do so. “You also have some really dedicated multiplayer modes. One of them will be the Tricks Battle Arena. There are spots and opportunities for you to do tricks on, and if you do tricks well, you will own that spot,” Manceau said.
The twist here, is that you also have sub-region zones that you may try to attack as a group, to own the overall zone. This creates strong team dynamics where you’re going to have to really use your tactics to rush for new zones and protect yours, splitting your team. From what we’ve seen in play-tests, it creates really fun dynamics.
And then there’s Mass Events. We will create moments in the game where we will invite players. The idea is to have races where we will have up to 50 players grouped together in a dynamic race. That creates something that I think we’ve never seen in flow and fun factor.
As for the world itself, it definitely smacks of Ubisoft in its design by being gargantuan. “We have seven core regions, this is really a massive open-world,” Manceau explained.
What we’ve done is stitch seven US national parks together. The way they’re stitched together is kind of a fantasy, but we managed to make it feel really natural. This is really the natural topology of those places, that you may have visited. Each of those regions offers something unique and special from a gameplay standpoint and a mood standpoint. Some of them are snowy, some of them have more urbanised settings.
They bring different flavours to the game in terms of gameplay opportunities.
Riders Republic will release next year on February 25 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Stadia.
On PC, the game will be exclusive to The Epic Games Store and Ubisoft’s UPlay portal.
Last Updated: September 11, 2020