It’s no secret we absolutely adored OlliOlli World– enough that we got Simon Bennet, Co-CEO of Roll7 as well as Jemima Tyssen Smith, writer for OlliOlli World to talk all things skate culture and OlliOlli World in a special interview.
We talked a lot about our own favorite things about the game, such as the incredibly diverse character creator that lets you easily make either yourself or anyone you want to be as an aspiring servant of the Skate Godz.
“In real life, all kinds of people skate, and it just made sense for our game to reflect that. You can adjust your skin colour, your body shape, your hair – and you can also decide whether you want to wear from a really vast range of styles and outfit types”, Simon says.
Similarly, series writer Jemima also talked about the process of getting the game’s phenomenal soundtrack in order.
“Music is a really big deal for the whole team here, and we’re all big fans of the tracks that we’ve managed to get into the game, so, that was pretty much the angle we reached out from!”, she says. “And luckily for us, all of these amazingly talented artists were happy to share their craft with us and with the world. It’s a real honour to be able to include these tracks in our game”.
You can read the rest of the skate-tastic interview below:
One thing I can’t help but notice with OlliOlli World is just how open the character creator is, could you talk a bit about making players feel represented in your game?
Simon: Absolutely – this is our first time as a studio really making an in-depth character creator, and our aim in a lot of ways was just to have the maximum amount of diversity in there that we could manage. In real life, all kinds of people skate, and it just made sense for our game to reflect that. You can adjust your skin colour, your body shape, your hair – and you can also decide whether you want to wear from a really vast range of styles and outfit types.
We wanted as many people as possible to feel represented, and we also wanted people to be able to get a bit silly – you can dress like yourself, or you could dress in a giant bee onesie. Thanks to the amazing Arthur Tubb (Lead Character Artist) and everyone else who got involved in making this happen, we have surpassed all our expectations in terms of how many options are available in character customization. I have definitely wasted a LOT of time in there creating all sorts of fun little folks to skate around as. It’s a huge amount of fun!
The asynchronous multiplayer sounds a lot like “ghost” racing in racing games, could you explain a bit more about that?
Simon: Yeah, it’s similarly asynchronous – although you won’t have a ghost skater zooming around the track distracting you! What you will be able to do in Leagues is check leaderboards and replays to see how other players are performing – and hopefully to work out how you can beat them to the top.
Were there any attempts to make tricks easier to pull off?
Simon: This is a bit of a ‘yes and no’ situation. So, we wanted to make an OlliOlli game that was every bit as challenging as the previous titles, but we also wanted to allow newer or less competitive players a chance to play through the beautiful, zany world that we had created. We didn’t want to make tricks easier, per se, but we did want to make it more possible to complete levels without having to pull off the perfect trick every time.
One big example of this is landings – in previous games, a bad landing would tank your score and likely lead to a pretty swift wipeout. In OlliOlli World, a bad landing doesn’t do either of those things – however, a good or perfect landing will increase your speed and allow you to continue your combo, which is key to achieving the highest of high scores.
A seriously competitive player will still need to hit those perfect landings every time to maximise their score, but a newcomer can still finish out the level and progress through Radlandia without having to ace it every time.
In essence, the tricks have not been made easier – but the punishment for failiure is now much less severe.
The lore of things like the Skate Godz and Gnarvana sounds really fun, how many passes did that have to go through before you settled on the lore of Radlandia?
Simon: Oh, this is a fun one – yeah, so, everyone loves the Skate Godz and the lore behind them, but when we were first working on the game they weren’t even a thing! Relatively speaking, the Godz are a pretty late addition. The initial storyline revolved around a big skate contest, and you and the crew were trying to win in order to help fun Dad’s failing shop.
There was a point some way into production where the team took stock of where we were at with design, storyline, mechanics, a whole bunch of stuff – and we basically decided to descope and focus on getting the core elements of the game really polished rather than trying to keep adding more stuff. As a result of that, Lizz Lunney (Narrative Designer) ended up changing the storyline, and adding in Gnarvarna and the Godz! Removing the competetive aspect of the story I think really fits in with the general design approach of this game – it’s a softer narrative that’s more focused on achieving your personal best and making friends than anything else.
I can’t help but notice the similarities between the generated courses in OlliOlli World to Bloodborne’s Chalice Dungeons, was the whole randomly generated/code-shared courses inspired by that?
Oh, I see what you mean – no, as far as I’m aware that wasn’t an inspiration, but I can totally see the similarity there!
The soundtrack for OlliOlli World is really something else, how did you approach artists to use their music?
Jemima: So this was something that we worked on for a number of months – some artists we were able to reach out to fairly directly or through their agents, but there were a couple of people who I had to go really digging around the internet sending off emails before I unearthed contact details for them! It was my first time doing anything like this, and everyone we worked with has just been really lovely and very patient as we worked through getting contracts signed and putting the music into the game itself.
Music is a really big deal for the whole team here, and we’re all big fans of the tracks that we’ve managed to get into the game, so, that was pretty much the angle we reached out from! And luckily for us, all of these amazingly talented artists were happy to share their craft with us and with the world. It’s a real honour to be able to include these tracks in our game.
Seeing how the game is now adapting 3D graphics, is there maybe an attempt to make the game feel more “3D-like”, for example adding more gameplay perspective like controlling your character from back or front view?
Simon: In a lot of ways the game still plays as a 2D platformer, but the 3D style definitely allowed for a huge amount of artistic freedom. The other big thing it allowed us to do was split paths, as the game now has a real sense of depth, which has made for some awesome alternate routes through a lot of the levels.
Just like the previous two games, is there a plan to launch the game for mobile?
Simon: No, not at the moment!