If there’s one common point which riles people up when it comes to indie games, it’s the pixel art graphics which are so commonplace. Roll7 fell into that trap with OlliOlli, to a certain degree, but as we saw with OlliOlli 2’s reveal last September, they’re keen to break away from that particular look.
There’s no more pixel art, there are more frames to the animations, your skater’s plain white shirt billows as he sails through the air, and plenty of other tiny little details have been changed. The game’s subtitle, Welcome to Olliwood, also hints at more cinematic locations, shall we say, with the following video – a TheSixthAxis exclusive – showing off the game’s third new location: GunMetal Creek.
Welcome to GunMetal Creek, the shimmering desert that brings to mind many a spaghetti western that your dad probably watches on bank holidays.
“It was really important to us to make GunMetal Creek and its time period feel completely different,” explained Lead Artist, Manuel Harari. “We made sure the air felt dryer, and much hotter, the landscape more dusty and dangerous, there are even hints at its steam punk nature if you know where to go.
“GunMetal Creek has a variety of different areas – ghost towns, mine carts, dynamite caverns, water splashes. GMC is all about westerns, the age of outlaws and a bit of steam punk thrown in”.
A big part of giving it that sunbaked feel is the wonderful heat haze that distorts everything in the background and the lens flare which sometimes casts itself across the screen. The lazy beat in the trailer’s music helps too.
“We worked incredibly hard to make sure the heat haze in the background of GunMetal Creek worked properly and looked fantastic!” said Gameplay Designer, Dre.
“Our Wild West isn’t just cowboys and indians. The frontier was at the cutting edge of industrial technology: huge steam-powered machines made of iron and steel. Perfect for grinding on.”
That technology and the setting as a whole might just have a slightly more futuristic twist and inspiration than at first blush though. As Dre revealed, “it even includes a time-travelling steamtrain!”
“It’s no secret that Roll7ers love Marty McFly and his wonderful Trilogy (Universal, please don’t add a fourth!),” added Roll7 co-founder Simon Bennett. “Think Back to the Future 3, but with a better script. We have a stream train, clock tower AND a time machine hidden away in a mineshaft…”
Simon’s probably kidding about the script (unless OlliOlli 2 is really the story of a skater trying to hunt down his father’s murderer in the heart of the film industry) but the above video also does a great job of showing off a lot of the new environment as well as what’s new and different in OlliOlli 2 from a gameplay perspective. There’s a new look to the user interface, for example, level design is more fluid by virtue of the bendier grinding surfaces and the introduction of ramps, there are underground areas where you’ll have to be careful not to bang your head on the ceiling, and so on.
Look closely and you’ll also be able to see the newly introduced manual, allowing you to keep your combo going even without a rail, and there’s more than a few instances of grind switching, that let you change to a different grind without needing to leave the rail. If you’ve played OlliOlli before, you’ll be able to pick up and play OlliOlli 2 without any trouble, but these new tricks will need to be mastered in order to succeed.
And it will still come down to that most important of buttons.