Welcome to After the Fact! This is a feature where we will interview a main designer for a game we have reviewed recently. We found this to be a good way for our readers to get in the head of the designer and find out what the overall development company had in mind when setting out to create whatever game the interview is for. It’s also a good way to get some questions the reviewer may have had about the game throughout the review process answered. Below is the first in this series, an interview with 2XL Game’s (developer of Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad’s) Creative Director, Robb Rinard.
1. What compelled you guys to make a downloadable racing game, instead of the typical sixty dollar retail release?
The future of software delivery is all digital. From XBLA and PSN to iTunes and Google Play, small publishers like 2XL Games have the same access to the marketplace and end users as the big publishers like Activision do. It’s great! We’ve been able to self-fund and produce our own games for the past 4 years and grow our company in the process. Smaller cheaper games are the way of the future.
2. How much work did Jeremy McGrath do with the game? Like, perfecting body types of cars, etc.
Jeremy had say in everything we did. We took the opportunity to let him speak to the sport in a way that he knows best so we could recapture what’s so enthralling about offroad racing. It was a pleasure working with him, and the game is better for it.
3. What inspired the excellent controls within Offroad? Did you guys have any hands-on time with actual rally cars?
Going back to our work on Baja: Edge of Control from 2005-2008, we spent years going on trips with some of the top trophy truck guys in the world. We didn’t just go to races, got to spend time both as passengers and behind the wheel of these great machines. That was a fantastic experience I’ll never forget, and definitely had a strong influence on the development of JMO.
4. What were some of the difficulties with making an Arcade game instead of a retail release?
We already had our engine up and running on both Xbox 360 and PS3 at the start of the project, so it was a breeze to develop the title. Don’t get me wrong, making quality is really hard work filled with lots of long days and weeks, but our team knows this space really well and it was a pleasure working with them creating the game. Having Jeremy around the office is always a treat so I can’t really say we had any issues come up that were out of the ordinary. Sometimes, you just have to be thankful things when things work well.
5. Are the tracks in Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad inspired by any real tracks?
No, they are designed by track designer Dave Dwire! Dave is an avid photographer and travels around looking for great scenery that inspires him.
6. What exactly goes into the pricing model? Specifically, does Microsoft and Sony have any decision in the overall price of a game?
We set our own price. First parties may have a recommendation, but it’s ultimately up to decide what’s best. Too high, and people won’t buy, where as too low, and you lose money that you could have been making. We’ll do whatever can get the most people playing, because ultimately, we’re always looking to fund the next exciting project.
7. Was further expanding on the upgrades portion of Offroad ever discussed? Such as earning new parts for cars, etc. IF so, why was it not implemented?
We wanted to keep the game as accessible as possible, yet still have a game that was fully realized. A lot of games these days push to be complicated, and it sometimes comes at the cost of being an inclusive title. Nothing is more fun that playing with friends, and we made sure your friends could jump in and get the hang of the game just fine while still being challenged.us
8. Any possible sequel or DLC in the works?
We’ll continue to expand on the game if it makes sense for our player base. We’re keeping our ears to the ground so that we can support the game as long as it’s being supported by its players.
9. Why were there only two race types within Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad? Was it due simply to budget and deadline issues?
We wanted the game to get straight to the point and be raw fun. Keeping it simple makes it the ultimate pick-up-and-play game.
10. Where does 2XL Games go from here?
We’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline that we’ll be able to speak to soon enough. Keep tuned!