One of the interesting things at GDC is the presence of international developers. Massive studios and independent developers alike converge in San Francisco to learn new techniques in order to better improve their craft. One of the more notable booths at the show highlighted multiple Italian-based developers, which included Milan-based Milestone, known for the MotoGP and World Rally Championship games. At the show, the studio showed us an upcoming project, the third installment in its MXGP series called MXGP3.
Motocross racing games have yet to garner an especially wide audience, but Milestone is banking on the upcoming MXGP3 to break through. The goal as always, according to lead designer Andrea Basilio, is to create the most authentic motocross racing game ever. The partnership with the International Motorcycling Federation allowed the studio to use licensed assets from the real world, but the game also needed a facelift in terms of graphics. Basilio mentioned that the third game would use Unreal Engine 4. In addition, he mentioned that the game would have more emphasis on the overall physics, weather, and terrain in order to make it even more realistic.
For the demo, I chose a random bike and driver and started the race. Due to my inexperience with motorcycle-based games, I didn’t know the intricacies of going around a corner or managing the many crests throughout the track at first, but Basilio walked me through the process. Turning a corner involves the brakes on the bike as well as the rider’s own body. Prior to the turn, I had to lean my rider’s body towards the corner and then firmly activate the brakes. This resulted in a quick and speedy turn that kept me in contention for first place.
However, it’s not as simple as you think. The right brake pressure and speed took a few laps (and corners) to perfect. Not enough brake power and I launched off the track. Too much turn on the body, and my rider would fall off of the bike. The continuing toll on the dirt terrain didn’t help either. Because of the many bikes that roared through that specific turn, the terrain was slippery and deep. One wrong move, and my rider could fall off, even if the turn was executed perfectly. By contrast, the many jumps throughout the track were easier to maneuver. So long as both tires touched the ground at the same time and avoided other riders or smaller crests when I landed, I could easily bypass straggling opponents.
The constant need to perfect each and every turn was a challenge that eventually led to me coming in dead last after three laps. However, I wanted to try again as I was eager to not just win, but to make every turn as smooth as possible. With Basilio’s advice in my head, I tried again. It still took me a full lap to get used to the turning mechanic, but I managed to finished three spots ahead of last place. It doesn’t seem like it’s something to be proud of, but I was happy with the results.
In addition to the quick race mode I played, the game will include a career mode that will have you rise from a rookie racer to a professional motocross champion across multiple championships. You’ll have the opportunity to customize your rider’s clothing and helmet, but more importantly, you can customize the parts you use for your bike to give yourself performance advantages. Basilio said that between the rider and bike customizations, there are a total of more than 300 parts.
MXGP3 will also be the first game in the series to have 125CC and 250CC bikes, which allows for a wider selection. Those who want to compete online can participate in quick, single races or an entire championship run. There’s also an opportunity to represent your country in the Motocross of Nations event, where you’ll compete with international players for a shot at bragging rights as the best rider in the world.
The constant need for perfection combined with the overall pressure of winning is something I enjoyed with other racing games like the Gran Turismo series and Project Cars. I’m glad Milestone took the time to show me MXGP3 before its May 30 release because I now have a new racing game to try out this summer.