OlliOlli world wants to be not only the ultimate successor, but the ultimate OlliOlli game. It features character customization, more complex stage design, side missions, a cast of quirky characters, a new art style, 3D visuals, asynchronous multiplayer, a variety of new mechanics, levels that generate procedurally, and, of course, a dingy, business-minded seed, which all equate to a title that is objectively greater than its two predecessors. Although bigger is not always better, especially in an age of aggressively padded open-world games, finding the right kind of bigger was a careful balancing act.
“In the first nine months, we tried a lot of things,” said creative director John Ribbins. “If this game was delivered with all the things we tried in the first nine months, it would just be terribly bloated, but it would have lots of things, such as quests that pop up on a daily basis or like all these other things.”
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Roll7 was already well aware of what one OlliOlli games were; the studio had already built two of them. Instead of resting on its laurels, Roll7 tried to experiment by spending months making prototypes to see what else could be added in the name of doing the best OlliOlli. But not all ideas were a winner. Ribbins and the team realized this and came to that conclusion as the project was evolving into a “big inflated project.” And when there is too much fat, the only way to get rid of it is to start trimming.
“We said, ‘Which of them actually highlights the experience? Which things actually make it better?'” Ribbins said. “And then made a huge descope and really focused on polishing those pieces. And I think it was the right way to go, but I’m glad we did not do many of the other things we tried in the first nine months because some of them were cool, but they just felt extra for the experience. “
Grippers and shavings are part of the ways in which the game expands its core foundation without degrading it. The former amplifies tricks and is something that skilled players can use to add to their multiplier if their brain can keep track of turning another plate. It’s just on the right stick, so it’s easily accessible, but the challenge comes from doing it in the middle of trying to safely land or grind and do other tricks. Certain avenues will also only open up if players grab their boards, which also gives it a useful, non-score-based purpose.
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Firecrackers are not really festive explosives, but a skateboard concept used to slide down stairs while the back of the board rattles against the stairs. Since wiping is harder in OlliOlli world (and part of the game’s attempt to appeal to more people), stairs add a bit more danger to the levels as it takes time to land on them. By comparison, landing without pressing a button no longer slows down the player, so this move adds a bit of that timing back without requiring it for every single landing. Co-CEO Simon Bennett generally talked about adding things like this to the game, saying these changes should be “meaningful” and work with “the feeling and the flow.”
“With grips, we add a really exciting mechanic to help you cross later in the game,” Bennett said. “There are fireworks that help you expand your combination by literally hitting down a series of steps. By adding them, the crucial part is that they are mechanically concise and compatible with the idea of crossing, and they feel just not glued on. A lot of time was spent during prototyping to make sure what we had was coherent. “
OlliOlli worlds many additions feel cohesive as no one detracts from the experience and only adds to it. Apart from the aforementioned grips and fireworks, World introduces a more powerful speed-boosting boost and wallrides that open up the traversal a little more, but all of these new options are stronger in the context of the improved level design that towers over the previous two games.
Roll7 has shown its ability to create OlliOlli levels, as the stages in this third item are significantly more complicated. Trails can branch off with optional (and thankfully tagged) Gnarly routes, allowing hardcore skaters to earn more points, complete challenges, or find side missions. Some crumble or even change the first time, allowing skilled players to go back around the same path, but with more dangers. Not only does it provide an exciting set-piece, but is an ingenious way to reuse the same section with a new twist that rewards those who want an extra challenge.
“When we were in early prototyping and I got to mess around with level design,” Ribbins explained, “[looping levels were] the exciting things as a designer to be able to play with. It’s like you can get around and come back the other way. And I know it’s given designers so much more opportunity to build interesting levels. “
Branch levels and intuitive movements are just part of what does OlliOlli world the ultimate OlliOlli world game. Side missions fill the world and use the same mechanics in a different context. Players can race with bears down a river, be tasked with specific objectives in a looping level, or grab hard-to-reach collectibles. Narrowing down a specific part of the game is a good enough change of pace and adds to the hefty list of unlockable, players can chase.
Customization is another great, albeit cosmetic addition that also serves as the centerpiece of its unlocking system. There are hundreds of items that can lead to a wide range of unique skaters and range from normal to downright silly, like an alien costume or an ice lolly skateboard. The dizzying list of equipment can be found in the menu and clearly indicates how many things are to be found. The range of possibilities is even more clear under the short loading screens, as they randomly cycle in other players’ silly avatars. And while it was not something that fundamentally changed the game, Ribbins was quite proud to see this feature in the game and was something he had been dreaming of since the first title.
“I waste so much time on customization, just pressing X and looking at all the different random combinations, even though I know everything there is in there,” he admitted. “I still get a kick out of making a new look for my character. I found the other day a really early prototype of similar adaptation to the first OlliOlli with the pixel art character. And it was always out of our reach for what we could do in the first two games, but it was something that was on our wish list since the first game. And then to get it in and get it in to the extent that we’ve got it in, with all the things you can unlock and customize, I’m really happy about that. “
With remarkably fluid controls, useful mechanical additions, stylish images, a long list of unlockable and more, players have many reasons to be happy with OlliOlli world. Few sequels tend to aim this much higher than their previous passes. And that feeling of happiness is not only on the player’s side either. Ribbins and Bennett happily looked back on creating this ambitious game, something that does not always happen at the end of video game development.
“It’s clear to end this [game] is fantastic, but we thought all the way back when it was a prototype, ”Ribbins revealed. “We joked that the first game was a year of quarrels, while we not only found out how to make the game, but also how to make video games in general. It has been great to make the most ambitious thing we have made, “And probably the best we’ve done. But it was also fantastic that this process this time was not a three-year argument. It has actually been a really enjoyable journey.”
Bennett was just as happy.
“Every time I pick it up and play it, I smile,” Bennett said. “I certainly can not say that at the end of any other project we’ve had. I usually reach the end of the project and I’m tired. We’ve been crunching. I’m picking it up and I just want to see everyone. And all I see with this is that we made the game we wanted to make, and you have to thank Private Division, our publisher, for helping us have the time, resources, and confidence to actually make that game. And I think it’s the first time we’ve had it too, which’s great. “
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