The one game the PS Vita is missing is a skateboarding one. Thankfully developer Roll7 are bringing their forthcoming game OlliOlli to the handheld soon. OlliOlli is an endless 2D skateboarder game with tricks, leaderboards and already looks a heap of fun. We had the chance to hook up with the guys over at Roll7 and get the low down on tricks, trophies and twin toggles.

Over to Tom Hegarty – Business Development & Marketing and Co Director at Roll7 about OlliOlli...

 

The Vita now has so many varied games on offer, it must be hard for developers to come up with different ideas to gain gamers’ attention.Where did the idea for OlliOlli originate from?

OlliOlli originated from John Ribbins, our Creative Director when he was just 13
years old! John was into two things, Gaming and Skateboarding and wanted to combine the two passions, it took us a while to get round to doing anything about the idea (about 15 years) but it feels good to be finally making it. In terms of grabbing
gamers attention, I think the key is to make games that we ourselves want to play –
hopefully if we find it addictive other people will too. We’ve received a lot of
feedback that we’ve released a skateboarding game at the right time as there hasn’t
been one for a while but that wasn’t really a consideration for us, we just found
the prototype very addictive, I played it more than any other game I had at the
time.

olliolli-hands-on-preview-2

Do ideas change along the way when developing a game or is there a brief you stick to?

Yeah, for sure. OlliOlli was initially an Endless Runner with randomly generated
levels. However as we developed we realised we had the most fun playing the game
once we’d learned a defined level. The game was always going to be about tricks and
combos and as a player you are able to time your combos far better when you know
what’s ahead which in turn gives you far greater scoring opportunities. This also
gives the game a closer feel to real skateboarding, you practice a particular spot
over and over to get it right. (with lots of slams in between)

In the final stages of development, have any tweaks or changes been made to the game?

We’re not quite in the final stages yet, at present we’re deep in level design and
user testing. The main tweaks at the moment are the timing for the landing and
locking grinds which is responsible for a large part of your score , (hitting X too
early to land can end up in you losing nearly all your combo points!) We’re trying
to work out where the ‘perfect’, ‘sloppy’ ‘sick’ landing areas should be. We know
the game inside out now so it’s important we take it to external testers to see if
we’ve given enough leeway between the different landings.

When was the first time you saw OlliOlli running on the Vita?

I think it must have been early April? We built the engine from scratch so it was
quite an achievement when we managed to render just a single square on the Vita
screen so to see the entire game was a great feeling! We’ve really enjoyed watching
the game develop, we’ve put a lot of time into the character animations and
backgrounds, you can see how its evolved from the Youtube videos we’ve uploaded.
Roll7 Youtube channel

 

Roll7’s first ever self-published game was Gets to the Exit – this must have been an exciting time. How does having OlliOlli on the Vita compare to this?

It’s a completely different dynamic. Working with Sony has been a great experience,
they have a lot more systems in place and standards to adhere to which has made us
plan the build far more stringently. Sony have also provided us with
creative/critical feedback, as a self-publisher for iOS you don’t get this kind of
feedback. It was actually Sony that suggested we needed to have another look at the
timing of the landings. However, it’s always up to us as the developer whether or
not act on the advice, but their games testers really know their stuff!

The best thing about working with the Vita has been the physical controls. I’m a fan
of touch screen gaming but OlliOlli just works so much better with the Analog stick
and D-pad!

olliolli_0_cinema_640_0

We love trophies here at Punk and Lizard! Are there any mad crazy ones on offer? Who comes up with the ideas for these?

The trophies are a collaborative process, we have a board up in the studio where
anyone from the team can suggest an idea for a trophy. We’re still in the early
stages of level design but once we have a clearer picture of the entire game we’ll
be able to work out exactly what you’ll have to do in order to earn the trophies.
What I can say at this point is that some of them are going to require a lot of
skill and hours of dedicated gaming!

How was your time at E3?

E3 was a great experience! It was our first time out there, our US cousins do tend
to do everything bigger and better than us in the UK and E3 was no exception. The
best thing was the positive feedback we got for OlliOlli, having so many people play
the game was a unique opportunity to see how different people play which in turns
has changed some aspects of the game (again mainly around the landing timings!) My only regret is that I didn’t get to play many of the other games. I think we
underestimated how busy it would be so were chained to the Vita stand for 3 days
solid…

What Vita games are Roll7 playing at the moment?

Limbo, a great game but I’ve got to admit I do get a little upset at the nature and
frequency of the deaths the character has to suffer at my hands! John completed
Hotline Miami on PC which I never got round to so I think that’s my next game for
the Vita. Luftrausers should be out soon as well which I’m really looking forward
to.

 

A real big thanks to Tom Hegarty for taking the time to answer our questions. We shall be bringing all the latest news on OlliOlli as soon as we get it, but in the meantime check out their website and facebook and tell ’em Punk and Lizard sent you.