34BigThings discusses future consoles, Redout’s console release and much more.
Anyone looking for a racing simulator these days doesn’t have to look far. Titles like Forza Horizon 3, F1 2016 and Project CARS have fulfilled that craving while Gran Turismo Sport, Forza Motorsport 7, Project CARS 2 and so on will offer a lot more. However, for the arcade racing fans, particularly of games like the recent WipEout HD Collection, it’s fairly slim pickings. Then again, there’s one game that released in September 2016 for PC and coming to consoles this year that stood out with many proclaiming it as the spiritual successor to F-Zero: 34BigThings’ Redout.
Releasing for Xbox One and PS4 as Redout: Lightspeed Edition (with a Switch release happening later), we thought it was a good time to get in touch with the studio. Where is Redout going and what can you expect on consoles? Find out here.
"The main focus for us has been speed and creating the driving sensation. I would say this is obvious for anyone who played any AG racer before and Redout."
How has the reception to Redout been on PC thus far? What motivated the move to release console versions?
We saw an enthusiastic and continuous response to Redout on PC. Probably because PC was clearly lacking a leader in the AG racing space and the community around Redout has been growing and thriving since launch. We hope to see the same response from the console communities and we are definitely expecting so. Players deserve a modern take on the genre and we are trying our best to fulfill the expectations!
While paying tribute to F-Zero and WipEout, what did you do to ensure that Redout wasn’t too similar to the classics? How difficult is the balance between paying tribute and doing something different?
The main focus for us has been speed and creating the driving sensation. I would say this is obvious for anyone who played any AG racer before and Redout. We have been focusing on that vertigo that stands at the core of the arcade racing genre and we pushed a lot on the driving feeling, achieving a believable physical response from the hovering ships drawing specifics from quadcopters and cars physics.
The Career mode seems to offer a much meatier single-player experience than most arcade racers. What can you tell us about its development?
Well, we have so many different game modes and modifications of those that the possible permutations tend to infinite. This allowed us to design a paced progression towards the highest speed possible in the game, where the endgame is the global leaderboard.
Considering the vast variety of modes in Redout, has there ever been any thought towards including ranked multiplayer races?
It has definitely been on our minds (also, huge Overwatch fans here) considering all the heat eSports are gaining lately worldwide and we think there’s an interesting and open spot for a deep and technical racer.
"There’s so much space in the arcade genre we still have to explore it would be a shame to stop now."
What obstacles did you face in bringing Redout to consoles, especially with regards to support from Microsoft and Sony?
Support has been pretty great from both platform holders, actually, and I don’t think we got into any troubles in this regards. Most of the work related to porting our game to consoles has been via optimizations, compliance, age ratings and bureaucracy in general.
After working on both consoles, which do you think best represents what Redout has to offer, both in terms of graphics quality and controls?
Both for different reasons. The Xbox has a great platform and infrastructure that completes the game from the sides: the controller alone could be a good reason to prefer one platform over the other. PlayStation will, on the other hand, offer a better multiplayer experience, considering the wider user base.
What new features will the Redout: Lightspeed Edition have?
The Lightspeed Edition is where our care for the game progression peaked. It includes Europa and Neptune packs, increasing the base game content (tracks, bosses, new ships, a ton of liveries…). These DLCs seamlessly integrate into the game career, adding unique events and a relevant amount of single-player play. And we didn’t announce everything yet!
What’s currently in the pipeline for the next update?
We just shipped our third DLC, the Mars Pack, which adds a new environment, enhances our backstory with all the mars terraformation arc and delivers some of the longest tracks of the game. We are taking some time off from new DLCs during the summer, but we’ll get back to it pretty strongly afterwards. There’s so much space in the arcade genre we still have to explore it would be a shame to stop now.
What does the future look like for Redout, especially given all the features it’s already received?
Our community definitely appreciated the long-term support we are providing. We believe that’s one of the main differences between a true indie studio and bigger corporations. The direction is definitely set on more features to come and balance tweaks, slowly moving towards our next projects.
Have you considered working on a sequel to the game any time soon?
Honestly, yes. We are considering the opportunity to rebuild most of the systems from the ground up, having a much larger architecture and plan in mind. Especially about eSports and some of the features the game is currently missing (IE. Ghost racers, Replay, etc…).
Can you please tell us about the engine that the game is running on? The game looks absolutely spectacular.
It’s Unreal Engine 4. We try to keep it always update to the latest version as Epic is really good at sneaking in improvements and new features we can leverage easily each time. At the moment, we are on 4.15, but we are upgrading to 4.16 for the final consoles release and probably to 4.17 soon enough.
What kind of improvements have you made to the engine in terms of physical based rendering, global illumination and lighting?
Unreal has been very kind to us in terms of features and we didn’t need to make deep changes to the engine to enhance effects or add novel features. We had the chance to focus on the game and tweak the engine for our specific needs in terms of lightmaps, shadow computation and a couple of full screen post-process effects.
Can this possibly run at native 4K and 60fps at all times on the PS4 Pro?
Optimization is an art that takes patience and time. We are trying to make it in time for launch, but we can’t be sure at the moment.
Along with a massive boost to resolution, what other improvements were implemented in the PS4 Pro version?
HDR is there, if your TV supports it. But honestly I would say the huge performance boost is the main reason to play Redout on a Pro.
"I don’t think there can be a console that out-powers PCs in general, for obvious reasons."
In a recent interview, Mark Cerny, the lead engineer of the PlayStation 4 Pro claimed that converting a base PS4 game to PS4 Pro version is just 0.2 Or 0.3% of the overall effort. What is your take on this? Do you think that the extra work required to develop an additional Pro version is actually bigger than the number quoted?
Definitely not, I can agree with him. For us the process has been straightforward and didn’t bring up anything we weren’t expecting already. And loved the performances.
What are your thoughts on Xbox One X and how do you think it compared to modern gaming PCs? Do you think it out-powers most of them?
I don’t think there can be a console that out-powers PCs in general, for obvious reasons. But I can agree the Xbox One X is the most powerful console ever released and probably the one with the smallest gap with the average gaming PC. That being said, it’s an amazing piece of hardware and I’m really looking forward to see Redout running on it.
The Xbox One X has been designed as a native 4K console to begin with. But do you think it’s capable to run your game not only in 4K but at Ultra PC settings and that too at 60fps?
As I said earlier, optimization is an art that takes patience and time. The capability is definitely there, but the devkits aren’t really easy to get and that could have an impact on the timing of the optimization patch for Xbox One X.
What is your take on the differences between the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X from a development perspective?
Both consoles come really strong on the internal hardware and side features (Dolby Atmos, HDR, etc…) and they both are really comfortable to develop games with. We can tell both platform holders put a lot of effort refining the development process, trying to speed up it entirely and solve classical bottlenecks.