Interview: How ‘Riders Republic’ is Challenging the Sports Genre

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We spoke to Riders Republic creative director Igor Manceau about how Ubisoft is pushing social and gameplay mechanics with their new action sports title.

At the Ubisoft Forward event this week, the French game publisher announced Riders Republic, a new socially-integrated action sports title which blends the disciplines of bikes, snowboarding, skiing, and wingsuits; and we got the chance to chat to Creative Director Igor Manceau about the upcoming current and next-gen release.

Developed at Ubisoft Annecy, who handled 2016’s Steep, Riders Republic is set to inject a serious dose of social mechanics into the action sports genre; but having so many disciplines in one game has no doubt been a challenge to the team – but one they’ve been happy to take on.

Riders Republic really is all about the social experience,” said Manceau. “It’s a massive social event with up to 50 players on next-gen. but it has been a huge challenge to get all the various disciplines correctly portrayed. While we wanted to improve the snowboarding foundation that we learnt from Steep, we needed to make sure the bikes felt good too, and of course, they come with many physics, especially with the different bike options we have available: road, enduro, downhill, and slope-style, but we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.”

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While snowboarding next to a biker might seem bizarre, how exactly these various disciplines work alongside one another is down to the seamless integration that Ubisoft Annecy has implemented by creating dynamic terrain across the dirt, snow, and forest terrains and environments, which are recreated after some of the most popular National Parks in the United States.

“So, you can switch between board, bikes, skis, or wingsuit on the fly, meaning that you’re not restrained to one sport or the other, but it’s more about picking the right gear for the right terrain,” explained Manceau. “You can use a bike on deep-powder, for example, which may not be the best idea, but there may be a way to use that to your advantage too, so it allows players to get creative. For authenticity reasons, some competitions will restrain the disciplines, but other than that, it really is a free-form experience based on the player’s choice.”

While the tone of Riders Republic may have taken some cues from Far Cry New Dawn‘s neon-splattered aesthetic, Manceau assures that the game will be zany and fun, but also feature true-to-form authenticity in terms of licensed gear, real-world events, and riding and performance strategies that fans of the sports will appreciate.

“In terms of tone, it’s much more fun, energetic, and free-spirited than what we’ve done before”, said Manceau. “If you look at the sports we cover, athletes are doing things that seem impossible all the time, so while the game is insane and crazy, it will appeal to those purists of the sports, because everything that can be done, has likely been done in real life. Furthermore, players can also select the level of assistance they want, so if you want a bit of help with your landing, grinding, or tricks, so that you can trigger really cool tricks with ease, you can do that. Of course, more technical players can opt for no assistance which will really put their abilities to the test to pull off amazing tricks.”

Riders Republic is something that will evolve over time and we will be listening to the community to really make it something that stands apart and provides a unique experience to players”.

Riders Republic launches on Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PS4, PS5, Stadia, and PC on 25 February 2021.

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