After numerous delays and a recent beta, Riders Republic will be rolling out to Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC and Google Stadia on October 28th worldwide. Developed by Ubisoft Annecy of Steep fame, it’s looking to combine all kinds of extreme sports into one giant smorgasbord of fun. Let’s take a look at 15 things you should know before jumping in.
7 National Parks, One World
Riders Republic takes place in an open world, which isn’t a surprise for Ubisoft titles. However, it’s actually based off of seven American national parks that have been combined together. You have the amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon, the granite summits of Yosemite Valley and the diversity of Zion National Park alongside Sequoia Park, Canyonlands, Grand Teton and Mammoth Mountain. The result is a world that’s defined by its natural beauty more than anything else (with GPS data used to create terrain to ensure the right amount of authenticity).
In essence though, Riders Republic is a massively multiplayer-style game. You’ll gather in a social hub with other players, and then group together for different activities. Of course, the hub is also where much of the socializing goes on as you show off different outfits, emotes and more while also practicing your tricks. One can also purchase new cosmetics from a shop using in-game currency called Bucks, which further feeds into the customization aspect.
Just like with Steep, you’re not confined to a single extreme sport. There are five in total – wingsuit flying, rocket wingsuiting, snowboarding, mountain biking and skiing – and each has their own unique mechanics and tricks. As you progress through different aspects of the game, various disciplines of each also open up like freestyle biking or ski racing along with different rewards. Earning XP also unlocks new Gear with different rarities with Elite items presumably offering the best stats.
This is best highlighted in Career Mode, which offers six activities from Bike and Ski Freestyle to Bike and Ski Racing, Wingsuit and Rocket Wingsuit. Each has their own progression path and you’ll partake in different events and challenges to unlock new cosmetics and gear. Eventually, you’ll be invited to bigger competitions like the X Games and UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. And if you’re getting bored with a particular sport or want to try something else, then you can seamlessly switch to another.
Riders Ridge Invitational
Career Mode isn’t just about completing random events, unlocking outfits, garnering support from sponsors, and so on – it’s all leading up to the Riders Ridge Invitational. Game director Arnaud Ragot described it to IGN last year as “a never seen before multi-sport competition” which combines all of the different sports into one single event. This seems to indicate a gauntlet of races across the world but how it all actually plays out remains to be seen.
Upon starting the game, you’ll be tasked with creating your very own avatar. There are two body types available with numerous skin tones, hair, hair colors and more to customize. You can also don a variety of clothes, from separate items to full outfits. Everything can be mixed and matched accordingly so if you want to wear a bunny head to go with your t-shirt and jeans, have at it. Along with Bucks, you can also spend real money to purchase Republic Coins and acquire a few “super unique” outfits. Outfits and gear can also be unlocked from completing weekly challenges with more cosmetics to be added over time.
Aside from completing events and spending Bucks in the store, you can also sign with a real-world sponsor to unlock rewards. For example, when signing when Santa Cruz, a player receives three Daily Contracts to complete, from winning three Big or Boss bike events to completing three different stunts. Ranking up will earn items like caps, pants, jerseys and bikes.
Not a Simulation Game
Watch any trailer for the game and it’s clear that hardcore realism isn’t the main goal here. Speaking to Red Bull last year, creative director Igor Manceau noted that it’s “not a simulation” and the focus is on being “accessible to all levels of player.” That being said, different bikes will offer different performances based on their real-world models and thanks to numerous sponsors, you’ll spot a number of real-world gear as well.
Multiplayer and Mass Races
Multiplayer is an important part of the experience and there are quite a number of different avenues to play. You could explore the world freely with other players; partake in races, trick challenges and Online Cups (which serve as the ranked part of the experience); and play in 6v6 matches. The Mass Races are the biggest hook though with 64 players participating in one large chaotic race. Based on the recent beta, hitting certain checkpoints will transition to a different sport, seamlessly jumping from skiing to biking at a moment’s notice. Perhaps the Riders Ridge Invitational will do this on a larger scale?
20 Player Mass Races on Previous-Gen
Unfortunately, the 64 player number is only applicable for Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC. On Xbox One and PS4, there will be more than 20 players displayed at once. Granted, this seems to be the only feature gimped by previous-gen hardware – there seems to be feature parity for the rest of the experience (aside from differences in the frame rate and resolution, of course).
Tricks Battle Arena
One of the 6v6 modes that players can participate in is Tricks Battle Arena. This sees two teams competing to perform tricks and rack up as many points as possible to determine a winner. It serves as a good way to partake in the game’s Freestyle system which allows for mixing tricks, rotations, grinds and more into combos. There are 72 unique tricks in total to try out with Auto and Manual modes for grinds and fully remappable controls.
When you’re out exploring the open world and a friend wants to group up, they can seamlessly teleport to your sport. Speaking to Red Bull, Manceau noted that matchmaking would “seamlessly connect other players based on proximity and sport choice” when in free roam. There is traditional matchmaking as well for different modes and it’s all built on dedicated server tech for “high-quality connectivity between players.”
Riders Republic will be receiving post-launch updates with the Year 1 Pass including eight “exotic kits.” These are a unique addition as they “modify your gameplay experience in the form of gear upgrades to revisit the map with a new perspective.” Players can use these to free roam the map and some activities – Rocket Skis and the Rocket Bike are the first batch, being available on day one. The other exotic kits will be released throughout the year along with two exclusive cosmetic packs. A new sport – BMX – will also be added at the end of Year 1 and includes its own career and progression. Year 1 Pass holders will gain seven days early access to this along with the other exotic kits (which seems to indicate that they’ll be free for all players).
Crossplay and Free Next-Gen Upgrades
Cross-platform play has been confirmed, allowing players across Xbox and PlayStation platforms along with PC and Google Stadia to match together. How this will work in Mass Races is still unknown but there is cross-gen play as well, which could mean no separate matchmaking pools for previous and current gen platforms. On top of this, Xbox One and PS4 players can also upgrade to the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 versions for free.
4K/60 FPS on Xbox Series X and PS5
Along with Mass Races supporting up to 64 players, Xbox Series X and PS5 players can enjoy the game in 4K resolution and 60 FPS. Based on the recent beta, it seems that it’s fairly good at maintaining its frame rate in Mass Races. Whether this is due to a dynamic resolution in such scenarios requires more analysis but so far, it’s looking good.