GamerZines: For MX vs ATV Alive, THQ want users to effectively build their own game through DLC, but what actually comes on the disc?
Ian Wood, Art Director, MX vs ATV Alive: The disc comes with three event modes, and I think there’s something like 16 tracks as well as 10 different vehicles, so there is enough of an experience on the disc. I think there’s probably about 8-10 hours of a single-player experience on the disc.
GZ: That seems quite cut down compared to MX vs ATV Reflex.
IW: Yes, it is. Reflex offered things like Truck Racing, Buggy Racing and other aspects, but we really wanted to just refine the experience and we felt those really didn’t fall in the range. We see this product as a reboot of the franchise and wanted to get back to that grass roots feel. DLC and other products to come from the start will build it up to the former highline presentation. This one is all about the weekend work and representing the amateur side of racing, and we reflect that in the design. The tracks are a little bit more condensed, you’ll see grass overgrowing onto tracks and even down to the 30 second girls; last time we had her in team colours, but this time we have her in Daisy Dukes. It’s a lot more casual and everything points into that amateur feel of the events.
GZ: Will there be a whole bulk of DLC available on day one or are you staggering content over a certain time period?
IW: It’s going to be staggered, but on day one we have quite a big release. We have James Stewart’s compound as free DLC to people who buy the game because it’s a nice way to introduce people to our strategy and really encourage it. We want to keep the pacing from the beginning all the way through for at least 10 months or a year. There’ll be tracks, different modes and vehicles. I can talk about Suzuki already but expect more to come. That’s a first for our franchise. We’ve always been about the authentic Motocross experience so we’re now filling in all the blanks with manufacturers and riders.
GZ: Are you aiming to release more content overall than you would have in a standard box release, or just stagger out what would have originally been in the box?
IW: If you were to buy all the DLC you’d end up with more content than you would normally. You won’t get some of the modes or other vehicles you would in Reflex, but for MX and ATV experience you’ll end up more than you would have done.
GZ: Are you concerned this strategy could segregate the online community?
IW: We’ll have viewing packs but yes, there’s always going to be that situation with DLC. We are concerned about it but at the same time there are going to be other online playlists out there that’ll reference the original box product. We’re never going to exclude anyone from racing, but for the avid fan who wants a particular course, they’ll be able to race against that other avid fan.
GZ: Have you established price points for the DLC?
IW: No, but I can say that they’re varied. There’ll be pretty cheap items and free DLC. Every now and then we’re going to encourage people to keep on checking in and all the way through we’ll be throwing in some free stuff. I think if you were to buy some of the tracks and all of the bikes you’ll still come in under £50, so we don’t want to blow it out to say like a rail simulator where it’s £2000 worth of gear if you bought anything, but keep it within an affordable range and not exploit the player.
GZ: Will THQ be using this DLC strategy for other games in its line-up?
IW: It’s definitely an experiment. It’s a first for us and we think it’s a first in the industry too. We want to emphasise that the lower price point is not a lower quality game. In fact, we think it’s a much higher quality than the last game in terms of the art and the gameplay experience. But it’s an interesting placement. Moving a franchise that’s usually a boxed product onto a digital market is a bit cold and you’ll probably risk losing a lot of customers by doing that, but by keeping it in a familiar context, ie. Keeping it as a boxed product but introducing the idea of digital, we see ourselves as covering both markets. Right now in video games we see a polarisation of premium £50 games to cheap £2 iPhone games, and we see ourselves as finding a middle ground.
GZ: Are you hoping to appeal to an audience brought up on racers like Pure and MotorStorm, or are you delivering a game focussed on MX fans?
IW: This franchise has always been in a unique space and we term competition as pretty much anything racing. We don’t look at anything specific and say we’re after a particular game; it’s wider ranging. We look at everything from DiRT to MotorStorm and even Gran Turismo. It’s a unique experience because you could say something like Pure is more arcadey and Gran Turismo is more sim. But we don’t want to place ourselves amongst them. We want to represent the authentic Motocross experience and the way we do that is making it more accessible for people new to the franchise but at the same time having that ability to constantly refine yourself to that very professional level and what is expected from some of the hardcore fans.
GZ: Thanks, Ian.
MX vs ATV Alive is scheduled for released in May on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Tags: MX vs ATV Alive
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