With each new instalment, the RIDE franchise has gone from strength to strength, to the point where it’s safe to say that, in the here and now, Milestone’s series’ is the one to beat when it comes to motorbike racing sims. Its newest instalment, RIDE 5, has been out for roughly a month now, bringing new improvements to the table in a number of areas, from its visuals and presentation to its career mode offerings to how it looks to deliver an even more authentic experience than ever before, and more. To learn more about how the game accomplishes all of that and more, we recently sent across several of our questions about RIDE 5 to its developers at Milestone. Below, you can read our interview with head of game design and associate creative director Andrea Basilio.
"For the RIDE series creating something that looks and feels real is a top priority, and with RIDE 5 we pushed the limit even further on multiple aspects."
The RIDE series has become strongly associated with pushing the envelope for visuals and fidelity with each new entry. What are the biggest steps forward that RIDE 5 is taking on that front?
For the RIDE series creating something that looks and feels real is a top priority, and with RIDE 5 we pushed the limit even further on multiple aspects. Technically speaking, the main one is represented by our new sky system that, thanks to using 3D clouds, allows us to reach a new level of realism, especially when the weather changes and it is possible to see the clouds moving in the sky (also shadowing the track), they start to stick together and become gray, and it may start to rain; we also have a new light system that simulates better the different light “time” during the day. Both features are easy to see when players will play the Endurance mode in which can also accelerate the day “time change”.
RIDE 5 is Milestone’s first current-gen exclusive. With that in mind, what were the biggest ways you’re leveraging the more powerful hardware of current-gen consoles with RIDE 5’s visual and technical aspects?
We took this decision because we don’t want limitations in terms of visuals, but also physics simulation. As I said before, all the weather and the sky simulations are the true big new technologies of this new chapter, but also looking at the past of the series, the bike recreation is something more life-like than ever for a bike game. The physics engine is pushed to the maximum offering a 60FPS simulation on current-gen platforms.
What can you tell us about RIDE 5’s new dynamic weather system? What sort of an impact will it have on the moment-to-moment racing action?
The dynamic and (if the player wants) random weather system transforms the racing into something more interesting and challenging, the unpredictability of the weather can be a key racing factor, especially during the Endurance races in which players can choose the right moment to pit-stop and change the tires. Even if it is not super fun riding in the rain, it is a cool challenge in the game.
Race Creator is a major new feature in RIDE 5. How extensive will the creation and editing tools on offer be? How much flexibility will players be afforced with their creations?
Our community wants to recreate famous racing from the past or have the chance to create in detail races or championships, and this is the kind of situation in which as a developer you have to understand what your audience wants. With this in mind, we created the Race Creator. Inside the Race Creator, it is possible to customize a race, or a championship choosing every little detail from the type of qualification (if you want the qualification) to each bike that can participate in the race and even their liveries – if you like you can personalize the helmet of the participants one by one. It is a big sandbox mode that allows the creativity of our community to recreate famous races from the past (like the Suzuka 8 hours) or funny championships from the present. The creations are sharable UGC, that are also composed of UGC, so this means that you can download a livery that you like using it in your creation and share your race.
"The RIDE series from the very beginning was all about the motorbike culture, in every chapter of the series we worked hard in order to offer players the presence and vibrant feeling of a motorcycle world."
What are the biggest changes and improvements being made in RIDE 5’s Career mode?
The RIDE series from the very beginning was all about the motorbike culture, in every chapter of the series we worked hard in order to offer players the presence and vibrant feeling of a motorcycle world. In RIDE 5’s career mode players start to race with few resources and “near home”, and the final objective is to become the RIDE Champion; in order to achieve that, there is a leaderboard with 500 other riders, something similar to the tennis ATP. Step by step, players start to make a difference in the race, they climb the leaderboard and unlock more prestigious events and challenges.
What will the addition of recurrent rivals bring to the table? How much of an emphasis will the game place on players creating their own stories against their rivals, and how will their different backgrounds affect that?
The Rivals are part of the equation when we speak about the RIDE leaderboard, Rivals are the most difficult to beat and aggressive riders from this world. The cool thing is they are in the ranking like the players, going up and down following their racing results. Every rival has his own story.
What can you tell us about RIDE 5’s new HQ? How much time will players be spending here, and what sort of a framework will it provide for the experience between races?
The HQ is the players’ base, starting with a small garage and one mechanic, players will get bigger crews and spaces progressing during the Career. Inside the HQ it is possible to buy, personalize, and edit bikes and the player avatar. The game features hundreds of licensed bike components such as exhaust, tires, rims etc., and hundreds of helmets, suits, and other gears for the rider. In the HQ is also possible to read the story of every manufacturer and bike of the game.
The RIDE series has always been known for its plainly apparent love for anything and everything to do with bikes, but that level of authenticity and detail has also perhaps acted as a bit of a roadblock for more casual audiences. RIDE 5 is, of course, introducing new onboarding features, but can you tell us how extensive they will be and what level of aid they will provide to those looking for a less hardcore experience?
We have a very hardcore core and lively audience that loves bikes and all the simulation, but we know from some times that we also have some people who follow our titles and like the idea of playing a bike game. Riding a bike and driving a car on the racetrack is completely different, not only because of the different number of wheels but also because the technique is completely different, learning is hard especially because when you make a mistake you fall, so it can be kind of frustrating. We this in mind we have worked on Neural AI (the same that we use for the opponents) based aids that simply guide the player to learn the game and enjoy the journey. With all the aids at max the game is very approachable, in our idea step by step players will reduce the aids following their skill progression until they find the best balance between fun and challenge.
"We were happy about the players’ reception of the game, and we’ve already released our plan for the post-launch."
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S?
We have 60FPS on all platforms, 4K resolution on PS5 and Xbox Series X, full HD on Xbox Series S.
Now that RIDE 5 is out, what are your thoughts on its reception and its post launch support?
We were happy about the players’ reception of the game, and we’ve already released our plan for the post-launch. Rather than DLC and updates, we are keeping an eye on our community to listen to their feedback and bug reportings in order to work on it and fix it.