SSX Reboot: First Impressions
Posted on Friday, April 15 @ 18:05:45 PST by Blake_Morse
I won't lie to you; it's been a long time since I've played a snowboarding game. Believe me, though, I have played them before and had a good time too. But we're talking back-in-the-day style, like the Cool Boarders series and the original SSX. Occasionally, I still get the melody of Razel singing "if your Mother only knew" over and over in my head. So when I got a chance to get some inside info on the reboot of the SSX franchise, my curiosity was piqued.
We already talked a little bit about the physics behind how snow works, but there's still much more to the science of the series. For instance, they were able to find topographical data that NASA had generously donated to the public domain and use that with an in-house program called "Mountain Man" to take scans of every mountain in the world and map it for the game. (And people say we get nothing from the space program.)
From there, they ran a program that came up with a couple million tracks overnight and then narrowed things down and honed courses that would actually be fun to play in a game. What they were left with were somewhere around 18 major mountain ranges, 70 open mountains, and hundreds of drop points, allowing you to "shred the planet" as they put it. The current interface for choosing a level looks a lot like the google earth map screen, but you can zoom in on different slopes and choose a run from there.
The actual physics of the Snowboarders themselves have been tweaked with as well and you'll now be able to go all over the mountain instead of being confined to one area of the track by invisible boundaries. So now when you go into a corkscrew after launching off the end of a naturally occurring half-pipe, you'll keep going instead of oddly glitching out like you're bottom-heavy when you hit a magical bump in the air. The character roster itself is still vague, but concept art of SSX staple was shown off, along with the promise of more returning characters and some new ones as well.
As for the gameplay itself, both the downhill "Race It" and "Trick It" modes that the series is known for will be returning along with a new "Survive It" mode that will have you facing dangerous downhill descents. To help you live through it, you'll have a wingsuit that will allow you to make like Rocky the Flying Squirrel to get from one area to another, an ice pick to latch onto the side of cliffs for dear life, and you might even be able to grab the leg of a helicopter in mid-air to escape treachery.
So far, it looks like this reboot is off to a good start with some fresh and creative ideas to add to the classic gameplay. But it's still in the early stages of development and it's not due out until January 2012, so there's still plenty more to be revealed. We'll be sure to keep you up to date.
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