Thursday, 23 May 2024

Afterwords: The Evolution of SSX

Snowboarding enthusiasts have eagerly awaited the return of the beloved SSX franchise, and after a five-year hiatus, EA Sports delivered with an exciting reboot. While some fans were thrilled with the continuation of wild tricks and high-speed races, others raised concerns about the new Survive It mode. In this interview, we speak with creative director Todd Batty to uncover the changes made, elements that were removed, and what the future holds for the SSX series.

The Revival of SSX

The game was initially announced with the subtitle “Deadly Descents,” which was eventually dropped. Batty explains that this decision was primarily a marketing change, and the game’s content remained consistent. The team had always planned to focus on three pillars: racing, tricking, and survival. However, when the survive it element was revealed, some fans voiced their disappointment, yearning for the classic SSX experience.

Batty acknowledges that the initial reaction was mixed, with some reports suggesting a 55% negative response. However, the development team remained optimistic, eager to showcase the aspects of the game that would resonate with both new and past fans. As a result, the decision was made to rename the game simply “SSX” and shift the marketing focus to the more familiar race it and trick it modes.

The Purpose of Survive It

Batty explains that the addition of the Survive It mode was an attempt to bring new innovation to the SSX franchise. Previous attempts at reviving the series fell short, as they felt like mere HD remakes. To make SSX appeal to a larger audience, the team explored new win conditions. They drew inspiration from action-adventure games, which typically require players to navigate levels without getting killed. By incorporating wingsuits and environmental hazards, SSX gained a fresh and exhilarating twist.

Responding to Feedback

Survive It has been the most controversial change in the series, receiving mixed reviews from both players and reviewers. Batty emphasizes that the game was designed to accommodate a variety of players, aiming to provide something for everyone. While some may prefer certain aspects over others, the team strived to offer a wide range of content to cater to different preferences. The game features various difficulty levels and unlocks, ensuring that players of all skill levels can find enjoyment.

The Future of SSX

Batty firmly believes that the future of SSX should be determined by the community. The development team values the input of players and their role in shaping the game’s direction. They are actively engaged with the community, observing what players enjoy and listening to their suggestions. Whether it involves reevaluating or fine-tuning the Survive It mode or exploring entirely new ideas, the team is committed to delivering a SSX experience that resonates with the players’ desires.

FAQs

Q: Will there be traditional multiplayer with friends or split-screen mode?

A: The decision to remove split-screen multiplayer was a challenging one for the team. The focus on creating a visually stunning game with smooth performance made it difficult to allocate resources to split-screen functionality. However, Batty expresses a strong desire to explore the possibility of bringing back split-screen multiplayer in the future. He acknowledges the value of the couch gaming experience and understands the preferences of players who enjoy playing with friends in the same room.

Q: Why did you choose an asynchronous multiplayer approach?

A: The asynchronous multiplayer model was chosen to align with the nature of SSX as a trick-centric game. The team aimed to capture the essence of passing the controller and competing for high scores. By incorporating Global Events, players can participate in turn-based multiplayer and strive to set the highest scores. Batty emphasizes that the multiplayer approach was carefully considered and tailored to fit the game, allowing for a more meaningful and engaging online experience.

Conclusion

The revival of the SSX franchise brings with it a renewed focus on providing an exhilarating, innovative, and accessible experience for players. While the Survive It mode initially divided fans, the development team actively listened to feedback and responded by showcasing the elements that make SSX so beloved. With a commitment to community engagement and a desire to evolve the franchise, the future of SSX promises to be shaped by the players themselves.