Currently scheduled for release on October 18, SSX On Tour is the fourth game in EA Sports Big's popular snowboarding series. The game will add a number of new features to the winning formula established in previous incarnations, including skiers, new gameplay modes, and a different career mode structure--which is the subject of today's interview with producer Steve Anthony.
GameSpot: In SSX3 the game was all about conquering all three parts of the mountain. How is the career mode different in SSX On Tour from the mode in SSX3?
Steve Anthony: What we set out to do this year was to give the player more meaning and purpose to how you progress through the game. In order to do so we needed to move away from the "medal and move on" structure that we have always had and create a new economy for advancing your player through the game. This year you advance your player by gaining "hype," the economy of the career mode. The more hype you have the higher you'll climb on the charts, which track your progress once you become an amateur. You'll start your career by competing in new events called shred events, which are one-on-one challenges from the IP characters and others, or world-based events that challenge you to show off your mountain skills. Once you have become an amateur you'll be invited onto the tour, where you'll compete in both slope-style and race medal events. The ultimate goal is to reach number one on the charts and the top of the SSX world.
GS: Can you explain in detail how the shred and medal events work?
SA: Shred events introduce a whole new variety of events to the player. Everything from skidlet roundup, where the object is to knock down as many ski school kids as you can in a set time, to ski patrol shreds, where the object is to outrun the ski patrol. There are also more world-based events, challenging the player to rail "x" meters on a track or get "x" amount of points in a set period of time. Medal events are the more traditional events from the past where the player competes in closed-track events for either trick points or the fastest time down the track. However, we have added some new structures to the mix so it will feel fresh and new to the player. One such structure has you competing for the best time across four different locations on the mountain and a variety of different terrain, so the player will really need to know the lines to win this one!
GS: Does the game still provide an open, non-event environment? If so, explain. If not, why not?
SA: The mountain is again the star of the game this year and we've made some technological strides that have allowed us to improve upon what we had last time out. Going to a full streaming system has meant that we have the ability to offer the player a seamless top-to-bottom ride. It has really made a huge difference because there is no longer a lull in the action as you tear down the slopes.
GS: What kinds of events, games, and minigames does the career mode offer this time around?
SA: There are too many to list here, but there are over 170 different missions to play in the career mode and another 70-plus through multiplayer, so there is a ton of gameplay.
GS: What kinds of modes are there outside of career mode, and do they tie into career mode in any way?
SA: We have both a quick-play and a multiplayer mode that allows you to either get a quick taste of the game or challenge your friends head-to-head.
GS: Thanks for your time.