RalliSport Challenge 2 Interview
|Interview on the upcoming release: RalliSport Challenge 2 with Producer Karl Magnus Troedsson at Digital Illusions.
|05.02.05 - 9:40 pm
XG: What is your name and position on the team? Could you give us a little background of your company?
KT: My name is Karl Magnus Troedsson and I'm the Producer of RalliSport Challenge 2. Digital Illusions was founded in 1992 and we develop games for almost all platforms. We are a bit more than 200 person team and have developed games like Battlefield 1942, Motorhead, Pinball Dreams, Midtown Madness 3 and Rallymasters.
XG: How long has Rallisport 2 been in development for and, what stage is it at?
KT: Ralli 2 has been in production for almost 2 years now and is in the very last stage of the production. All that remains is more or less the testing and bug fixing. Sounds easy when laid out like that but it's really the toughest phase for us. Huge amounts of small problems needs to be resolved together with final tuning and tweaking of for an instance cars, AI and the general looks.
XG: Could you give us a rundown on the various cars and modes available in the game?
KT: Except for the Rally, Rally Cross, Ice Racing and Hill Climb modes we've added one additional race mode called Cross Over Challenge. This is very similar to the super special stages in the real life world championship and adds even further depth to the driving experience. On top of the race modes the multiplayer part of the game has grown immensely with the System Link and of course Xbox Live. As for the cars, what can I say, there's going to be a lot of cars, from various time periods and car classes. Everything from extreme Hill Climb cars to nimble Rally Cross ones.
XG: How would you describe Rallisport 2, and how does it differ from other games in the genre?
KT: Ralli 2 is the only game out their which solely focuses on communicating the full picture of what rally driving is all about. We try to package this experience into something which is easy to pick up and play but based upon a near real life simulating physics engine. This means that there's something in the game for both the casual gamer as well as the hard core rally freak. We don't see why all simulator games typically are perceived as dull, incorrect or boring. Ralli 2 does a really job of (we think that is) going both ways and the general goal is to make it really fun to drive.
XG: What efforts are you going to to ensure this game looks and sounds the part?
KT: With risk of banging our own drum somewhat hard: Our first goal was to beat the looks of the vistas in the prequel, RalliSport Challenge. When we started Ralli 2 we had some major areas in which we wanted to make large improvements. The limited length of the stretches was for an instance one of them. Today we have fully streaming engine which makes it possible for us to have rally stretches of real life lengths. The problem of obviously tiling textures was another so we now use a method of combining color and detail maps to create completely unique pixels throughout the entire track. Sound has also been given some special care. All car sound set-ups are now based upon their real life originals, making them sounds much meaner as they rightfully should.
XG: What did you learn and improve on in the first game?
KT: Most important lesson of them all: Nothing is impossible. In order to continuously try to push the limits of what's doable on the console we need to think big, and dare to aim high and then step up to the challenge, make it happen. As for pure feature-by-feature comparison I would say that the absolute biggest change from Ralli 1 is the Xbox Live support which widens the game experience to something so much more.
XG: What games or movies have influenced Rallisport 2?
KT: We're mass consumers of real life reference material I'd say. Since we're putting so much effort into making the environments feel "real", then this is the best source of inspiration. There's probably not a single rally flick on net which we haven't googled at some point. To mention one of my personal favorites that would be the old "Climb Dancer" movie by Peugeot/Jean Louis Mourey which depicts Ari Vatanen blasting up Pike's Peak. A definite must see for all gear heads.
XG: Could you describe your favorite part of the game?
KT: I would say it being the Live and System Link since I really favor multiplayer in almost all games. Running down any track in any race mode with any car is a nice "race how ever you want as long as you and your mates think it's fun"-experience.
XG: What games are you looking forward to in the next year?
KT: There's so many games coming out and so little time to play around. GT4 is a must buy, but also PGR 2 and Halo 2 score high on my personal wish list. Being an avid fan of the Desert Combat mod to Battlefield 1942, I'm really awaiting any updates here as well.
XG: How have you found Microsoft? How do they fare with other companies from a developers point of view?
KT: Working as a first party developer with Microsoft Game Studios is a very comfortable situation. They understand almost all of our needs and the daily troubles of games development, much due to their own experience in software development I guess. They're also very dedicated into making really good games.
XG: What is the predicted release date for Rallisport 2 in the US and UK?
KT: March 2004
XG: What are your future plans? Will we see any more Xbox titles from your team?
KT: Hell yes! We'll be back, stay tuned!