MX vs. ATV: Untamed Developer Diary #3: Pocketbikes and Customization

Real men ride pocketbikes, as we find out in our latest developer diary for Untamed.


Everyone knows MX bikes and ATV quad runners are a big part of THQ's MX vs. ATV series--after all, they're in the name. But in the next entry in the series--the upcoming MX vs. ATV: Untamed--they'll be far from the only mode of transportation you'll be zipping along through the mud and dust. In this developer diary, Brian Coonce, principal game designer on Untamed, gives us the scoop on vehicle customization in the game, as well as a few details on a new vehicle type that makes up in fun what it lacks in stature.

MiniMotos and Customization

By Brian Coonce
Principal Game Designer, Rainbow Studios

When most people imagine the life of a game developer, they think of people who need to get outside more often and drink less soda. While this may hit uncomfortably close to home for many of us, the crew at Rainbow Studios has also always held a great passion for the outdoors. Ten years ago when we started making our first off-road games, our development team consisted of weekend warriors and insights from pro riders to help ensure we were making the most accurate off-road games in the market. Fast forward to today, and you'll still find that racing heritage throughout the MX vs. ATV development group: Six of our team members ride competitively, even more own their own quads and bikes, and every year the team attends the World Supercross GP when it stops in the Phoenix desert. Heck, we even own a sandrail.

Frankly, pocketbikes seem like a better fit for video games than real life.
Frankly, pocketbikes seem like a better fit for video games than real life.

So when the design team sat down to create MX vs. ATV: Untamed, customization of vehicles and riders was high on our list. In MX vs. ATV: Untamed, we wanted to ride the same bikes and quads that we ride in real life. As a result, we've blown out the customization ability to give you ultimate control over what you ride. Paint your plastic to match what you take out on the weekends, or color the chrome to match what you've always wanted. Tweak your suspension and handling to match your own riding style. You're even allowed to mix up the machines by choosing new grills, tires, and suspension sets. And make sure you're decked out in the same gear you ride in; with more than 100 of the top racing brands included in the game, you'll be able to look like the pros do. Still not close enough to the real thing? Choose from 20 of the top MX and ATV riders including Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, Grant Langston, and Ryan Villipoto.

Another perfect example of our passion for motorsports is our inclusion of 50cc pocketbikes in MX vs. ATV: Untamed. For the casual off-road racer out there, a MiniMoto bike is essentially a two-wheeled go-cart. Imagine a miniaturized MX bike with a lawnmower for a motor and you'll get some idea of what it's actually like to ride one of these things. While obviously lacking in power compared to their larger counterparts, MiniMoto bikes are a blast to ride because of their quick-turning ability and low profile. You might not hit the top speeds of a typical MX bike, but because you are so low to the ground the sense of speed can be just as thrilling. Out on the track, you don't even need to see a pocketbike to know when one is around; a pack of MiniMotos sounds more like a swarm of bees than the roar of a 250cc or 450cc bike.

We're such fans of pocketbikes that when we moved into our new offices, we had to have the carpet replaced because team members had left streaks and tears while riding around the empty hallways. Management was obviously not thrilled, but how can you resist 25,000 square feet of wide-open office space? In MX vs. ATV: Untamed, we took advantage of the unique physics of these bikes to create custom courses that cater to their speed and agility. You'll notice special animations, too, as the riders kick to maintain balance in turns and shift to maintain position. So before you write off the big dude on the tiny bike, make sure you try one out for yourself first, either in real life or in MX vs. ATV: Untamed.

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