Mon, Jul 14, 2008 | 19:10 BST
Interview: Clarence Lim on Shaun White Snowboarding
You might have read these stories over the weekend, you might not. However, below is our full Shaun White Snowboarding interview with community development manager Clarence Lim.
By Mike Bowden
VG247: What will Shaun White Snowboarding bring to the table that we haven’t seen before?
Clarence Lim: Oh boy, that’s a big question. That calls for a big answer! Freedom! Shaun White Snowboarding will be an open world from the start, and players will find themselves in a living environment to ride and explore. I’m still in awe when I stand on one of our virtual mountain peaks and think, “I can go there… and there… and there and there.”
We also have seamless online, where you can truly ride together with your friends any time, anywhere, anyhow. You don’t need to stick with your friends either, you can choose who you want to hang out with at any given time and be on opposite ends of a mountain! You really get the sense of freedom with your friends, and with the jump-in jump-out online experience, you’ll always find new ways to ride and socialize.
The game is physics-driven, not animation-driven. Gravity really is what pulls you down the mountain. Unlike previous games where you’re being moved in one direction because “you have to”, Shaun White Snowboarding has you responding to the angle of the ground. You can also freely get on and off your board and hike alone or with your friends. You can throw snowballs and effect riders or bonk them a bit in the boarder-cross. Since the next-gen versions use the Assassin’s Creed engine, the inclusion of NPCs around the mountain also adds to the experience as they will react to you realistically; if you’re a sick rider or if you bail a lot.
And of course, Shaun’s involvement. He’s been with us right from the get-go adding authenticity, talent, style and humour.
Will there be co-operative play either local or over Xbox Live? If so, what types of things can we expect?
Shaun White Snowboarding will be playable solo locally, and with your friends online. The world will be the same both online and offline.
The Wii version will use the balance board. Can you tell us more about how that will work?
First, I’d like to say that the Balance Board feels right. You stand either regular or goofy (with the Balance Board facing either left or right) and shift your weight to ride. You jump by doing a little hop. Tricks respond to a combination of the A and B buttons (grabs) on the Wii controller and how you shift your weight on the Balance Board. The game is also intuitive and accessible with just the Wii controller. It’s as simple or complex as you make it, and the response is fantastic.
What are the challenges the team faces developing for Wii as opposed to the other two platforms?
I wouldn’t say they are challenges, but more like opportunities. Our very talented development teams have taken the time to really understand intuitive controls to create rewarding experiences that are optimized for each platform. For example, we’ve built the Wii version from ground up with the Balance Board in mind, the Xbox 360 has Achievements, and PlayStation 3 enables Sixaxis control and Trophies.
The graphics look different on the Wii version; in fact it looks like a different game entirely: is it?
The Wii version will follow its own chapter in the Shaun White Snowboarding story. The game is built specifically for the Wii and offers a unique gameplay experience. Mind you, what the community has seen so far (for all versions) is early in development. We look forward to showing you the amazing progress we’ve made in the near future.
Tell us one thing about the game that you haven’t told anyone else.
Check out our official website at ShaunWhiteGame.com and video portal at uPlay.com for all the latest news and updates, direct from the source. We will be dishing out more information in the coming months. However, I might be able to shed some light on a lifestyle element that is often overlooked: I personally can’t wait to jump online and get to know people from the global community, chatting with them while watching others have fun. Speed and tricking is awesome, but riding isn’t the only lifestyle element of snowboarding; it’s the social life too. The sheer freedom you have in this game undoubtedly makes this one of the most anticipated games this winter. It’ll be a great place for hardcore and casual gamers to kick back and truly make the experience their own.