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Interview with the Roll7 Creative Director John Ribbins about OlliOlli World Interview

At the beginning of June we had the opportunity to talk to one of the developers behind the upcoming game OlliOlli World. Roll7 Creative Director John Ribbins told us about his first games, OlliOlli World itself, the challenges Roll7 had to face during the pandemic as well as his skateboarding experiences. There is also a German translation of this interview, which can be found by following the Link at the end of this text.


In the thirteen minutes long event video Simon Bennett revealed that you once were a pro skater. Is that correct?


John Ribbins: Not quite (laughs). I was sponsored by my local skate shop when I was like 15. But there are people on our scene, which were pro. (Picks a specific one) When we say "pro", he's like "I'm not pro, I just got a deck crafted". But he had a deck on a major brand.


How did you get into gaming or creating games?


John Ribbins: I had an Atari ST. My dad was a teacher. I think he "borrowed" it from their school. Obviously I had a bunch of games on it. But there was also one disk that had BASIC on it. I had an old comic compendium and in each back were two pages of BASIC. You type all of that, press "run" and it wouldn't work basically. And although it didn't work for me, but make rubbish text adventures in BASIC, where you'd be like "Do you wanna do this or this?" and then you'd say "yes" or "no" or "I go here" and "I do that". But that's how I started making games. But then many years later at school somebody had Klik & Play, which was like a drag & drop game making thing. And he was like "Klik & Play is shit, you can't make games with it. You can have it." And he gave it to me and I was like "I'm gonna make games with this." Actually as a young teenager I tried to make OlliOlli in Klik & Play. I wasn't good enough and it was rubbish, but I tried to make it.


OlliOlli World features a story for the very first time. Where did the idea came from?


John Ribbins: We did OlliOlli, OlliOlli 2 and in similar time we did Not A Hero. Not A Hero is a side scrolling shooter, but it has a bit of a story to it. And that was a lot of fun, right? Coming up with these weird characters and the world having a reason to exsist. And we had a really good time doing that. And I think one of the criticisms regarding OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2 was like "Gameplay is amazing. Feels a bit cold." Like it's just a game, right? Your character doesn't even have a face. And cutting back to the series we wanted to make the best version of OlliOlli. A big element of that would be building a world. We want the game to exsist in his world and to be it's own world not just L. A. or Barcelona. We still gonna have challenges and we still gonna have highscores that you need to beat and stuff like that. But instead of being just a number in the corner screen we want someone to give you the challenges. Basically everything should have a face.


Was it challenging to transfer the original gameplay into the third dimension?


John Ribbins: The viewpoint is still 2D. If I say "no", it would sound like it was easy (laughs), which it wasn't. The bit that was difficult about it was to still make it feel like OlliOlli. We've got a lot of new stuff that you can do. It's obviously a game that's not just a platformer going from left to right anymore. Now you can sometimes go right to left, back and fourth, you can move back in the scene, you can come towards the camera... There are a lot more directions that we didn't have in the previous games. Getting a flow into them was much easier than it's the case with OlliOlli World. Balancing that was the more difficult part than the 3D.


Will we see more games playing in and around Radlandia?


John Ribbins: I'd love to be one of those creators who's, in like ten years, "All the games that we did share the same universe". Drop the mic. But who know's if that's gonna happen.


One of the game character hints that he's got a skate shop. Does this mean our character is going to be customizable for the very first time?


John Ribbins: It does and we will definitely talk about that more in the future (laughs).


Does OlliOlli World have multiplayer options like the previous games or are there any plans to add it later via update?


John Ribbins: The previous games were super leaderboard based. Obviously we still have that. We also have this rival system. Instead of just beat the person which is number one, the rival system picks someone who's much closer to you in terms of score and this person becomes your rival. So it's a more achievable target to beat. We've actually got a lot of new asynchronous multiplayer stuff, but more of that follows later like the customizable stuff (laughs).


After I've played some of the side quests, which send you in some kind of loop, I wondered if there will be any training or endless levels in the final game?


John Ribbins: Not as such. But the looping thing is a fundamental element that we use a lot more later on. Part of where the complexity of the later game comes from is being able to loop through parts more than once, being able to make a much higher score. The side quests are more of a break from what you're doing in the rest of the game. A lot of those are mostly kind of a refresher.


Did the pandemic affect the developement of OlliOlli World?


John Ribbins: That's an interesting one, because we've been a remote office since 2015 and we weren't like "oh my god, we can't have an office. How does everyone work at home?!" I don't wanna sit there and say "no, it didn't affect none of us", because I know a lot of people had a difficult time for the last months. It definitely had an effect on everyone, for sure. I guess I'm just also really proud of all people at the studio working on the game and still manage to make something out of it. That's really cool in probably the weirdest 18 months in anyones memory.


Can you tell us something about how OlliOlli World performs on the Nintendo Switch?


John Ribbins: This is where I have to be really careful, because it's like walking through a mine field. Our goal is to make it the same experience on Nintendo Switch as on any other platform. I can't tell the exact framerate or screen resolution, mainly because I'll probably get it wrong (laughs).


Peter Langhofer: I want to add that we revealed the game with Nintendo back in April. And the early footage that was shown was running on Nintendo Switch.


John Ribbins: I want to apologize in advance to all the Nintendo Switch players, who'll miss their train station, because they're playing the game.


When will we get a release date?


Peter Langhofer: Not to far out we will announce a release date. Probably fallish.


John Ribbins: What Peter said.


One last question: What's your favourit skateboard trick? It doesn't have to be in the game.


John Ribbins: At the moment I like manual tricks, weird manual combos and no complys, because I only learned them recently. It's where you pop the board, but you keep one foot on. Body varials as well and messing around with all of it.


The German version of the interview can be found here!

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  • OlliOlli World

    Systeme: Nintendo Switch

    Vertrieb: Private Division

    Genre: Skateboarding, Sport

    Cover von OlliOlli World