MX vs. ATV: Untamed -- Developer Diary #1 X-Cross Tournament

Rainbow Studios' Elliot Olson gives us a peek at one of the newest modes in THQ's upcoming off-road racer.


The MX vs. ATV series isn't about subtlety. Forget worrying about gear ratios and brake bias; in this game, it's all about hopping in some rip-roaring, smoke-spewing off-road beast and tackling the dirt, mud, and sand with reckless abandon. And, you know, that's okay. That's what the game is there for. Nevertheless, as we work up to the game's release, it couldn't hurt to know a little bit more about what the game will have to offer when it's released in mid-December. In the first of our series of developer diaries for Untamed, we hear from Rainbow Studios' lead technical game designer Elliot Olson on the subject of one of MX vs. ATV: Untamed's new game modes: X-Cross tournament.

Tackling the X-Cross Tournament

By Elliot Olson
Lead Technical Game Designer, Rainbow Studios

When the design team at Rainbow Studios sat down to create our first concepts for MX vs. ATV: Untamed, we knew Untamed was going to continue to evolve the tradition of our previous MX titles with massive open worlds, a huge variety of vehicles, and diverse event series. We wanted to raise the bar by pulling all of these gameplay elements into one championship series, though; [this] has always been a design challenge for the team. Previous single-player career modes always focused on our outdoor nationals and supercross events, which we still have as part of our championship mode. As a result, however, our fans never got to prove their skills in modes like freestyle or our long waypoint races. High scores and fast lap times are great, but it lacked that bada** championship mode to pull all of the elements together and determine an off-road warrior. The main question that remained was, "How can we combine eight event series and still allow the user to select the game modes that they prefer to play the most?"

Enter the X-Cross tournament. This isn't your typical linear championship series. X-Cross is all about mastering vehicles and the environment, and doing it on your terms. MX has never been about supergrueling twitch gameplay. It's about rhythm racing, setting up for a series of jumps, finding the right line, and destroying the competition. X-Cross also lets players discover and experience everything the game has to offer.

When you first dive into the X-Cross tournament, you're not going to be forced directly into one race. Instead, you'll see options, three of them in fact: supercross, nationals, and an all-new gameplay mode, opencross. Are you a hardcore SX fan? You'll want to jump into the supercross series, where you can race against the top pro riders in chaotic 12-player races. Learn the lines and scrub over jumps to shave off precious seconds on your lap times. Do you just like tearing up the terrain in the outdoors? National tracks are where you can display your off-road dominance in 10 massive, open worlds. Want to dive directly into a machine race? Opencross gives you the ability to master the machines and compete in long-form off-road races. Having trouble with a particular event mode? Keep your progress and jump right into one of the other brackets because you can always come back later to master that specific series.

As you work your way through the early brackets, you'll find similar events have been clustered around your chosen path. Paired up with supercross is a revamped freestyle mode. We've added all the latest freestyle tricks, the ability to link stunts together, and all-new ground stunts to create the ultimate stunt combos. As you work through the national series, you'll also find supermoto events. Supermoto combines the best of on-pavement street racing with off-road edge-of-control racing to create an amazing sense of speed. Finally, with opencross we've pitted all vehicle types together in one race to determine the true off-road champion.

Towards the end of the brackets you'll also find our minimoto series and our all-new endurocross mode. While it may be easy to laugh at a big dude riding on a tiny 50cc bike, these bikes pack a lot of punch and result in some of the most chaotic crash sequences in the game. Endurocross is a brand-new event mode we've added based off of a real-life racing series. In endurocross, all of the elements of the off-road (water, mud, logs, rocks) are brought indoors to create an intense new technical racing experience.

While the path you've chosen to the final race series can vary, all roads lead to the X-Cross championship series. This is the mother of all events, and will challenge you on all the racing and freestyle abilities you've learned in the earlier brackets. If you've made it this far, you've got the chops to compete, but the competition is tough and will have no problem with kicking up dirt in your face. Prove your worth and the championship is yours for the taking.

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