Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad Developer Interview
We got a hold of Robb Rinard, Creative Director of Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad (review here) developer 2XL Games, to give us some insight into the development of their latest title.
Metal Arcade: Was making a game with one of supercross’ biggest names a daunting task for you guys?
Robb Rinard: Somewhat, but most of all, we were excited. We knew the game would be better for it. His insight is crucial to making a game that is both authentic and fun. We’ve known Jeremy for years going back to the days of Microsoft Motocross Madness. He’s always been a big supporter of our work, and we’re a huge fan of his and wish him continued success.
Metal Arcade: As a fellow Phoenix dweller, I was able to greatly appreciate what your studio did with environmental design since the area is quite familiar to me. Did you closely study the landscape (take pictures, etc.) for Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad?
Robb Rinard: Our lead track designer, Dave Dwire, is an avid photographer and spends lots of time traveling and shooting nature photography. The tracks in the game are really Dave’s vision brought to life.
Metal Arcade: 2XL has worked exclusively on racing games, such as 2008’s Baja: Edge Of Control. Have you incorporated elements from previous titles into Offroad? Or is the game engine built from the ground up?
Robb Rinard: We’ve been internally developing our XL Engine technology for the past few years. It allows us to develop games for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, iOS and Android all seamlessly. We have several different physics models in the code that scale up and down features, depending on the power of the target platform for a particular game. But it’s all one unified engine. Not a lot of independent developers in the world have the level of technical expertise found at 2XL Games.
Metal Arcade: What game(s), if any, were your studio’s main inspiration in making this game?
Robb Rinard: When I was a kid growing up, I loved a couple of arcade games called Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart’s Super Off Road and Super Sprint. In the 90’s my producer Travis Riffle handed me a copy of a video called Crusty Demons of Dirt. It set us on a path that resulted in creating the top selling off-road games of all-time including Microsoft Motocross Madness and Sony’s ATV Off-Road Fury. After THQ bought our old company, Rainbow Studios, we went on to create the MX Unleashed and MX vs ATV series.
Metal Arcade: Is there anything you could have done differently or improved with the game that you released? Or rather, are you completely satisfied with your work?
Robb Rinard: We set a rather lofty goal for JMO in terms of frame rate and resolution. We wanted the game to run at both 60 fps and at a display resolution of 1920×1080. On the PS3 in particular, these are hard challenges. In the end we had to sacrifice a few things, like the great deformable body panel simulation we had running in Baja: Edge of Control. But the sense of “liquid motion” that you get in a 60 fps title really feels great. High speed action games like off-road racing really benefit from the high frame rate.
Metal Arcade: What were some of the biggest obstacles (no pun intended) you faced while developing this game?
Robb Rinard: As it turns out, getting a title published on Microsoft’s XBLA platform is quite challenging. They have a very antiquated view of the gaming world. They still largely look at the boxed product retail model as a way of doing business. As a small developer (around 60 people strong) Microsoft has tons of insurmountable obstacles to clear before being allowed to publish your game on Xbox Live. Sony, on the other hand, was a pleasure to work with.
Metal Arcade: If Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad becomes successful, what does your studio plan to possibly do next? I would certainly be interested in what you have in mind, since I enjoyed this game.
Robb Rinard: I have some thoughts surrounding creating a new flight combat game for XBLA and PSN. Again, we see the ten dollar price point as a great place for future titles. Just like most players, we’re tired of paying 60 dollars for quality games.
Metal Arcade: Just out of curiosity, what are generally your favorite games around the studio?
Robb Rinard: I’m still actually enjoying Battlefield 2 (not Bad Company, the original PC Battlefield 2). I think Battlefield 3 went south on a bunch of levels. I spent countless hours in the past year playing Red Dead Redemption. On mobile I can’t stop playing Zombie Gunship. That game is a blast! I’m really looking forward to the new Forza Horizons game coming out.