Game director Alex Zucca speaks with GamingBolt about Milestone’s newest bike racing sim.
Italian studio Milestone has become synonymous with motorcycle racing sims over the years, and so, too, has seeing its name attached to a game become a guarantee of sorts- that the game you’re going to play will be, at the very least, an authentic, mechanically deep racing sim. The studio’s latest in a long and steady line of releases is Monster Energy Supercross 4 (you can read our review of the game through here), which promises to build on the solid foundations of its predecessor by introducing continued improvements to deliver an even more refined experience. We recently got in touch with the game’s developers to learn more about what some of those improvements will be. You can read our conversation with game director Alex Zucca below.
NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the game’s launch.
"The SX4 career is the biggest innovation of the series. The game mode has been largely revised and deepened and now the player must improve the skills of the rider in order to improve their performance."
Milestone is of course a very prolific developer in the bike racing sim space. Each of Milestone’s different series cater to different styles of gameplay, however, has there ever been cross-pollination of ideas and learnings among the various different games and IPs that you develop?
It’s natural that in a development studio where you work on different IPs there is some cross-pollination of ideas: this is not only true for the design, but also for technological features. Just think about the similarities between the motocross world and the supercross world. However, we try to share only the best experiences in different ways. We want to give a distinct and recognizable identity to each series.
What can you tell us about Monster Energy Supercross 4’s career mode? What sort of improvements over the previous game can fans expect?
The SX4 career is the biggest innovation of the series. The game mode has been largely revised and deepened and now the player must improve the skills of the rider in order to improve their performance. To do this we have created a skill tree system where the player is free to spend the points (earned through, competitions, training and Journal challenges) to increase the skill levels.
What changes and improvements have you made to Monster Energy Supercross 4’s track editor? Can players expect more options and more control over what sort of tracks they’re creating?
The track editor returns with more options: first of all we have reviewed the usability and added new modules as well as the ability to choose some aesthetic elements such as tuff blox, as well as customizable starting structures and finish lines to make your creations unique.
Monster Energy Supercross 3’s Compound was very well received by players. How have you ensured to build on that and deliver something better and more refined with the next game?
The compound has always had the goal of being an area where the player can have fun and train freely. SX4 features a new area, inspired by the islands of Maine, and players can explore it alone or with friends; at the same time it is also possible to challenge each other in special races created in the compound or go in search of collectibles.
"The compound has always had the goal of being an area where the player can have fun and train freely. SX4 features a new area, inspired by the islands of Maine, and players can explore it alone or with friends; at the same time it is also possible to challenge each other in special races created in the compound or go in search of collectibles."
How extensive can players expect the customization options in the game to be?
Players have hundreds of customization parts from official brands at their disposal to customize their rider and bike.
What are your post-launch plans for Monster Energy Supercross 4?
A series of additional content is already planned and will be purchased in the store and published in the weeks following its release that will make all fans of the discipline happy. In addition, for the first time ever, e-sports are coming to this IP and they will catapult players into the competitive universe to prove who is the best in the world! There is also a juicy news regarding the Track Editor… but for now I can’t tell you more!
Since the reveal of the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s specs, a lot of comparisons have been made between the clock speeds of the two consoles’ GPUs, with the PS5 at 10.28 TFLOPS and the Xbox Series X at 12 TFLOPS)- but how much of an impact on development do you think that difference will have?
For the SX4 development, this difference is irrelevant as our developers have worked hard to make the version identical on each platform, making the most of the available hardware. Therefore the speed and quality of SX4 is identical for both Microsoft’s and Sony’s next gen.
The PS5 features an incredibly fast SSD with 5.5GB/s raw bandwidth. How can developers take advantage of this? How does this compare to Series X’s 2.4GB/s raw bandwidth?
The hard disk is certainly the component that really manages to make a big leap in quality to the gaming experience and development, with the possibility of being able to afford more graphic details without compromising too much around the resolution and framerate. A faster hard disk also means faster uploads so this will mean that we have to rethink the design functionality of the loading pages which, inevitably, will find a completely different role from the past… and this is just an example!
There is a difference in the Zen 2 CPUs of the two consoles. The Xbox Series X features 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz, whereas the PS5 features 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz. Your thoughts on this difference?
The difference is so small that I honestly wouldn’t even call it a difference. As usual it is not always just about raw power to use, but about exploiting it in a clever and optimized way. Only time will allow us to understand, in terms of development, what advantages can be obtained from both CPUs: we are very excited to see the bright future unfolding before our eyes.
"A series of additional content is already planned and will be purchased in the store and published in the weeks following its release that will make all fans of the discipline happy. In addition, for the first time ever, e-sports are coming to this IP and they will catapult players into the competitive universe to prove who is the best in the world."
The Xbox Series S features lesser hardware compared to Xbox Series and Microsoft is pushing it as a 1440p/60fps console. Do you think it will be hold up for the graphically intensive next-gen games?
If Microsoft wanted to bring this type of console to the market, there will be a reason. At the moment it is not known how much it becomes a bottleneck for the most demanding games of power and resources, but honestly, I think it can hold up for the next gen without needing many compromises (as already happened with the mid-gen versions of PS4 and Xbox One).
What resolution and frame rate is the game targeting on PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S? Furthermore, will the game have multiple graphical modes?
For all next gen platforms, the game will go in native 4k with a dynamic framerate.