MX vs. ATV: Untamed Developer Diary #2: Freestyle and Open Worlds

Bigger world and cooler stunts combine in THQ's upcoming off-road racer.


Rocketing off the lip of a huge jump in a supercross track is one thing--nailing tricks off the side of a cliff wall? Now you're talking extreme. The upcoming MX vs. ATV: Untamed from THQ and developer Rainbow Studios is looking to improve your off-road life with a big, open world for you to explore. Bigger environments mean more opportunities for huge tricks, so the combo and stunt system has been revamped in Untamed, which is due for release early next month. For more on the changes, let's hear from Rainbow Studios' principal game designer, Brian Coonce.

Freestyle and Open Worlds

By Brian Coonce
Principal Game Designer, Rainbow Studios

Longtime rhythm racers know that some of the best moments playing the MX vs. ATV series come not just from the intense racing competition, but from exploring the massive open worlds and carving up their own trail. While designing MX vs. ATV: Untamed, we wanted to take this interaction with the environment to the next level, so gone are the sloping terrains and foggy skies, and in their place are towering canyons, jagged rock spires, and flowing streams. Pulling off freestyle stunts in a crowd-filled arena is always a challenge, but landing a double backflip off a 100-foot cliff drop leads to the ultimate pulse-pounding off-road experience. With these massive new environments in mind, we sought to revamp our freestyle mechanics from the ground up to take advantage of these natural outdoor launching pads.

Big environments + big jumps = big opportunities for huge stunt combos in Untamed.
Big environments + big jumps = big opportunities for huge stunt combos in Untamed.

One of the biggest gripes of gamers in the past was the inability to rack up massive stunt combos. This was largely because players were limited by the biggest jump they could find to execute their most intense combo. In MX vs. ATV: Untamed, gone are the days of single-jump stunt combinations. A sequence of jumps and stunts can now be chained together through a new linking mechanism that allows players a short period of time to execute their next backflip or 360. Is the next ramp still too far away? There's still time to keep your combo alive by executing one of our all-new ground stunts including no-handers and side-saddles. Your stunt score is limited only by your creativity and ability to nail that next line of jumps.

Of course, the biggest single-jump combos can still only be executed by hitting the outdoors hard. Next-gen hardware has allowed our level designers to create massive changes in elevation, unlike anything seen in previous MX titles. Not only does this change in elevation allow for major air time, but keeping your wheels on the ground while tearing through a downhill trail leads to speeds bordering on the verge of insanity. The result is terrain that leaves zero room for error on the biggest jumps and downhills, but also has the biggest potential payoffs.

When you're not stringing together six-stunt combos, we've also made sure you have plenty to keep you occupied as you begin to explore the off-road. Take in the scenery of ocean views, lakeside villas, and desert buttes, or begin conquering the outdoors by jumping streams and scaling rock archways. We're particularly proud of the work we've done on our water simulation. You'll feel the full effect as the tug on your vehicle churns out huge water sprays. Leaping over a water hazard can mean the difference between beating the competition and winding up in last place with only soaked gear to show for your efforts.

The best part is that the waiting to conquer the terrain in MX vs. ATV: Untamed has finally come to an end. Download the demo today on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network to experience the Untamed world for yourself, and check out the full version in stores December 17.

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