Shaun White Snowboarding Preview
What's going on in the world of snowboarding games? EA's SSX hasn't seen a proper game for years now (the Wii game doesn't count), and until now, no one else seemed to care enough about the sport to give us a virtual version of it. But it looks like Ubisoft has secured the Shaun White namesake (it previously belonged to Activision), and will be bringing us an all new snowboarding game starring the decorated snowboarder.
This time around, Shaun White Snowboarding is actually being developed in close collaboration with the pro snowboarder himself. Much like some of the Tony Hawk games, Shaun White will be your personal friend and mentor, he'll be there to teach you a thing or two and improve your skills, while he's at it. The folks at Ubisoft Montreal will be behind the development process...Hmmm, Canadians working on a snowboarding game? There seems to be potential here. Ubisoft's goal is to redefine the extreme sports genre, and we're curious just how they'll be doing that.
You can expect an open world in the game, with four mountains that are completely open for you to explore, conquer, create your own paths on, and compete against others. You'll create a customized snowboarder and take him through the game's career mode, creating your own experience as you go, by choosing how your boarder rides, what paths he takes, and whom he associates with. Your snowboarder can also be taken online and compete against other customized boarders, like himself.
Non-playable characters will be scattered all throughout the mountains, creating a world that's highly interactive. The engine itself is built on the expansive Assasin's Creed engine, and will be driving the game purely on physics, as opposed to canned animation sequences (a first for the genre). Relying on physics means that how you execute and land your tricks will be more dependent on accuracy and skill.
Ubisoft will be implementing multiplayer features that go beyond just snowboarding. The game will allow gamers to hike in order to discover secret locations, move trees out of the way to create new paths, and even film friends performing stunts, of course uploading of the videos will be allowed. Similar to games like Burnout, Test Drive Unlimited, and Grand Theft Auto IV, Shaun White Snowboarding will boast seamless online and offline transitions. So feel free to freely run around a mountain inhabited by other gamers, or be a loner and isolate yourself. Being online also means you'll be able to setup quick sessions, as well.
Visually, don't expect to see the same type of over-the-top flare found in SSX games, as Shaun White Snowboarding is aiming for a much more realistic look. So far, the first batch of screenshots shows us enormous landscapes, where everything that we see can be visited. Stay posted for hands-on impressions of the game this coming E3.
Look for Shaun White Snowboarding to arrive this October 2008.
6/26/2008 Arnold Katayev