For all the racing simulators we’ve seen over the years – whether it’s DriveClub, Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon, Gran Turismo and the upcoming Project CARS – there haven’t been a lot of biking games. Sure, MotoGP may not be the first racing sport to come to one’s mind in video games but it’s still extremely popular (and extremely harrowing). Milestone S.r.l has been filling the vacuum with its MotoGP series and RIDE only looks to solidify that further.
RIDE is an all-motorcycle racing game but one that includes bikes throughout history, from as far back as the 80s. It’s already out in Europe and will release in North America on June 23rd. What can we look forward to in terms of features? GamingBolt spoke to Milestone S.r.l to find out.
"We have a great heritage of bike games here at Milestone – and our staff are devout biking fans. It’s always been our dream to pursue biking games and to improve and develop them to be the best they can be."
Rashid K. Sayed: It goes without saying that there’s a distinct lack of motorcycle racing games, especially good ones. Why do you think this is?
I think it’s because, when most people think about mainstream racing games, they automatically think of cars. It’s a fundamental fact of life that more people drive cars than ride bikes – so for most developers and publishers, cars are the easier or safer option.
We have a great heritage of bike games here at Milestone – and our staff are devout biking fans. It’s always been our dream to pursue biking games and to improve and develop them to be the best they can be. Bike racing games feel inherently different from cars – for us, they are more exciting vehicles, and we want to be able to communicate that feeling to the players.
Rashid K. Sayed: Given your previous experience with MotoGP, was the development process easier than expected?
Development is never easy! But seriously, yes, our work on MotoGP has helped – we already have experience of course in managing the physics and handling. With RIDE however we had so many more bikes and track types that it was a huge undertaking to get the feel of 114 bikes correct – so balance them all against each other so that the experience of racing each one not only felt different but felt right.
So yes, working on Moto GP was a help – but RIDE is a very different kind of game, the scope is that much bigger – so it was still a great challenge of us.
Rashid K. Sayed: Did developing the game for a multi platform release cause any unexpected problems?
We had to carefully manage the consoles’ different architectures, but PS4 and Xbox One are great to work with – and of course we already have a great deal of experience on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
Rashid K. Sayed: The PC gaming community may well be expecting some modding capabilities for Ride, custom decals and the like, can you tell us if that option will be available?
RIDE has a huge range of options for customization – particularly when it comes to the rider and bike, allowing you to change your leathers, boots, helmet, gloves etc – all the elements in RIDE are officially branded products.
You can also customize your bike too, from the liveries to engine, brakes, gearbox etc – many of which will change the physical appearance of the bikes themselves. Again, all these parts are real-world parts from real manufacturers.
"We wanted to get a good mix of real-world locations into the game – not just famous tracks and circuits but also real-world stretches of road that bikers might aspire to ride themselves one day."
Rashid K. Sayed: Over 100 bikes is a lot of machinery, will this all be available out of the gate or will players work to unlock new models?
Yes, there will be 114 bikes in the game, but not all of them will be available to begin with. You’ll have to earn them by competing in the races and increasing your world ranking. When you begin, you will be able to choose from one of three bikes – but it shouldn’t take you too long to start the process of unlocking your favorite riders. We didn’t want this process to feel like a grind.
Rashid K. Sayed: Can you tell us if any of the content will be held back for DLC packs later down the line?
DLC bikes of course- we will allow players to download even more rides – but beyond that we’ve not announced anything yet.
Rashid K. Sayed: Can you tell us any information regarding the locations that racers will visit in the game?
We wanted to get a good mix of real-world locations into the game – not just famous tracks and circuits but also real-world stretches of road that bikers might aspire to ride themselves one day. We have Stelvio in the Alps, with its stunning scenery – the winding roads of Sierra Nevada – the mountains and villages of North Wales which provide some challenging rides – and also cities like Milan and Miami. Of course we also have famous circuits like Donnington Park and Imola – we hope this range will give bike fans a real satisfying collection of challenges.
Rashid K. Sayed: What can you tell us about Ride in regards to multiplayer capability?
On line supports up to 12 players – and you’ll be able to just jump in to quick races or challenge players in mini championships over a number of races.
Rashid K. Sayed: Will Ride be based on a racing simulation model or will it straddle the line or arcade racing and simulation?
We always try to cater for both sides of the coin. It’s in no way an ‘Arcade’ racer – but we do provide a variety of assists, like joint braking, ideal trajectory etc to help players new to bike sims.
We always suggest that players begin easy and then slowly start to turn off the assists as they see fit – and then scaling up the physics and handling models. The upper end of RIDE’s challenge is a Full Simulation – with challenging physics and handling designed to convey the maximum realism in handling some of these incredible bikes.
"Without getting too much in depth or touching aspects covered by NDA, I can tell that the two architectures are vastly similar, with the PS4 favouring raw bandwidth with the GPU and Xbox One relying on more clever use of the eSRAM."
Rashid K. Sayed: Will the game run at 1080p and 60 frames per second on both the PS4 and Xbox One?
The game is locked at 30fps for all consoles. PC will allow for 60fps depending on your set up.
Rashid K. Sayed: This is Milestone’s first game on the Xbox One. Did you face any issues while developing the Xbox One, especially the eSRAM?
Ride is Milestone’s third title on PS4, but the debut one on Xbox One so, yes, we’ve been facing some difficulties. At some point of development the Xbox One build was significantly slower, and we were facing the very common “900p” option, but we were extremely unhappy about it. We’ve got in touch with Microsoft directly and with some hints from them we’ve been able to obtain a significant performance boost, and so Ride will benefit of full 1080p on Xbox One too. It’s not thanks to the eSRAM, a very small but very fast bank of memory, but to the ever-evolving libraries from Microsoft that grant access to the hardware. Version after version, you have to sometimes re-learn and get advantage of the optimizations offered.
Rashid K. Sayed: What is your take on the differences between the GPUs of the PS4 and Xbox One? Are you pushing the game further on the PS4 compared to the X1?
Without getting too much in depth or touching aspects covered by NDA, I can tell that the two architectures are vastly similar, with the PS4 favouring raw bandwidth with the GPU and Xbox One relying on more clever use of the eSRAM. But this is all hardware gossip, let me say, real world games may or not encounter bottlenecks on both machines in different areas.
The real trick is knowing the differences and not basing the whole result on a strong point that might be missing on other platforms. Our PS4 and Xbox One versions are almost identical at a healthy framerate, that’s quite a result in a world of upscaled or letter-boxed games!
Rashid K. Sayed: As someone who has developed quite a few PC games in the past, what is your opinion on DirectX 12? What kind of benefits do you think it could bring to PC and X1 games development?
We haven’t had time to get deep into it yet, but there are some upcoming events we’re going to participate that will show some of the potential of it. Remind that the custom DX11 of Xbox One partly incorporate some future DX12 features already,and they’re mostly performance-related. So what we expect is a slight benefit for Xbox One, and some major performance boosts on PC hardware, making the overall development pipeline more similar and tighter.