Cool Boaders 2001 Q&A

We had a chat with John Koller, producer of Cool Boarders 2001, to discuss the progress of the title. Check out what we found!

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GameSpot: What are the biggest improvements Cool Boarders 2001 makes on the previous installments in the series?

John Koller: Cool Boarders 2001 is really the closest experience to stepping onto the slopes yourself - the game is extremely realistic. From that perspective, Cool Boarders 2001 takes the franchise to new heights with 20-plus courses in six events, wider, branching tracks, top pro riders (including motion capture and consultation), "create a rider" with authentic boards and gear, and an all new mode called the pro challenge where gamers take on a pro snowboarder in each of his or her special events. If the gamer defeats the pro, he or she will get bonuses such as new and improved boards, apparel, special tricks, and attributes.

GS: Has the recent explosion of skateboarding as a legitimate gaming genre influenced the development of Cool Boarders 2001?

JK: Skateboarding and other extreme sports have seen a fast rise in popularity among even mainstream sports fans. It is crucial to communicate the edgy feel that sports such as skateboarding and snowboarding have to the consumer, so to that end, we are striving to push the extreme sports feel through the top pro riders, realistic board sponsors, authentic apparel, and even music that we have placed in-game.

GS: What have games like ESPN X-Boarder and MTV Snowboarding taught Sony about making a successful snowboarding game?

JK: Although many of the Cool Boarders franchise's direct competitors may not have been huge sellers at the retail level, they still have some key features that the Cool Boarders team has reviewed for possible inclusion in this game. ESPN X-Boarder was seen by many as a fairly realistic game, and our team has taken notes from the game's failures and successes to capitalize on this realism. MTV Snowboarding really captured the edgy flavor of the sport, and although it didn't sell well and had some gameplay drawbacks, gamers could play amidst licensed music and sounds. Our team has licensed some top music tracks for Cool Boarders 2001. We believe that the game will be able to combine X-Boarder's and MTV Snowboarding's strengths and then take it to another level with top-notch gameplay and unbelievable graphics, controls, and tricks.

GS: What significant secrets, such as hidden levels or characters, will Cool Boarders 2001 hold?

JK: We are still working on the secrets in the game, but rest assured that Cool Boarders 2001 will have plenty of hidden areas to uncover. The depth of the game is really tremendous.

GS: Many companies, most notably Acclaim and Neversoft, have consulted with professional athletes during the development of their extreme sports games. Has Sony benefited from a similar relationship?

JK: We have included ten top pro snowboarders in Cool Boarders 2001, including three-time North American champion Todd Richards, Big Air World Champion Kevin Jones, and two-time Female Freestyle Rider of the Year Tara Dakides. The athletes are playing a central role in the development of the game, as we have brought several of the riders in for motion capture sessions to get the exact moves, grabs, and tricks that the pros actually pull on the slopes. We also have received gameplay consultation from the pros as well. They all have a definite interest in seeing the game created as realistically as possible and have really helped us out a great deal with several important areas of game design. Consulting with these riders has allowed us to pull in even more of the edgy feel and flavor that is so important to the overall gameplay.

GS:Gamers seem to favor Cool Boarders 2's control scheme, which inspired part 4's. Will Cool Boarders 2001 incorporate that scheme or anything resembling it?

JK: Cool Boarders 2001 will utilize a very similar control scheme, and even at this early stage in development, the turns are very crisp and the tricks are extremely impressive. As a snowboarding fan, I can tell you that gamers will be thrilled with this latest addition to the Cool Boarders family.

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