Trials Rising community director: Nintendo Switch makes a ‘big difference’

In order to coincide with the release and our review of Trials Rising, the latest in the long-running biking series, we talked to John Lloyd, community director at Ubisoft. In our short interview, we discussed the game’s new tracks, extensive multiplayer modes, the Switch version, and more.

Game Revolution: Trials Rising has a lot of natural tracks whereas Trials Fusion had a lot of futurey like tracks. Was that a conscious choice?

John Lloyd: Yes, most definitely. We had a lot of fun with Fusion going into sci-fi. We brought in a bit of story elements that we never had in a Trials game before. And then we did [Trials of the] Blood Dragon which was super crazy. We definitely saw that among our players that there was a really strong desire for a more grounded Trials game and within the team as well. So we were really excited to bring Trials back to its grounded roots while still pushing the gameplay and all that kind of stuff further.

Trials Rising interview

GR: How do advance something like that? It’s like a sport where are the set rules.

JL: The core gameplay is very important especially to our core players like many of whom have been playing Trials for a number of games. It’s really important that we don’t touch that core gameplay too much. We can tune it a little bit here and there. We can add do some improvements to the physics and maybe make sure the bikes handle a little bit differently, a little bit better depending on your point of view.

So really when we are looking at ways that we can advance the game, it’s really in that other sort of stuff. Like in this game, the customization and sticker system is something that we’ve never had before, the contracts, the Challenger Modes, and the extra stuff that is peppered in to make the progression a little more interesting so you’re not just grinding the tracks for medals in order to advance to the next set of tracks. It’s so you have some other stuff to do.

GR: So the customization was there so you guys could sort of change up the progression a bit?

JL: Customization was another big thing that we noticed was a strong desire among our playerbase to really be able to express themselves through their characters and through their bike. So we really wanted to give them as much freedom as possible to make their character look how they wanted it to look.

And of course, that opens a lot possibilities for us, having all that customization stuff in there, we can have new rewards and new stuff that we can give players as they progress through to give them goals.

Trials Rising interview

GR: The Tandem Bike is still hilarious. Can you please talk a bit more about that?

JL: The Tandem Bike was a wild idea from our creative director. I think he’s wanted to do it for a while. And again, we noticed that there was a lot of people that liked to play Trials together. We see that there are players that come on and almost exclusively play the local multiplayer modes on the weekends. So we know that there are these people that come in and pick of Trials on a regular basis to play with their friends. And so we were thinking of other things we could do besides the traditional multiplayer that people can do while they are in the same room.

GR: The Party Mode is one new multiplayer mode and the Stadium Finals is another. What made you want to add that mode?

JL: So there was not necessarily a larger focus on multiplayer in particular but we wanted to blur the line a little bit between single player and multiplayer. So we wanted that experience in the single player to mimic the experience playing in multiplayer playing against real people.

And also the Stadium Final is a nice way to finish a league. In previous Trials games, a league would just be a set of tracks. You’d play through the tracks and then you’d unlock the next set of tracks through the league. And now we have a nice little thing that I like to call a boss fight. It gives you a little bit of something extra to do with contracts so it’s not always just doing the same thing.

trials rising interview

GR: The Party Mode is not just on the Switch, right?

JL: No, it’ll be on all the platforms.

GR: Speaking of the Switch, why put the game there?

JL: Trials has never been on a Nintendo platform before so that in and of itself is an exciting prospect of the team and we’re always looking for new outlets and ways to expand the game. And of course, the Switch is a new platform with exciting new possibilities because it can be a console or handheld that you can take with you.

Trials on the go was really exciting for us. Of course, we’ve had mobile Trials before, Trials Frontier, but it was all touchscreen. It really makes big difference, that tactile feedback that you get from the controller. So we’re really excited to have a mobile Trials experience where you still have that core feeling of using a controller. Quick sessions, you can easily turn it on, fire it up, and play for a few minutes and then put it down.