Developer 2XL Games has spent the past few years creating mobile racing games, but Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad marks the first console release for the company since 2008′s Baja: Edge of Control. We recently had the opportunity to speak with the studio about the shift from iOS devices to consoles, some of the game’s unique mechanics, and Jeremy McGrath’s involvement in the new project.
GN: Jeremy McGrath is a name synonymous with motorcross/supercross racing. What influenced the decision to take a different approach and focus an entire game around McGrath’s newfound interest in off-road racing?
2XL: It’s very compelling to see someone make a jump from the a sport they dominated to a new sport. We were excited to explore that ourselves. Since our 2008 360/PS3 release of Baja: Edge of Control, we’ve been big fans of four-wheel off-road racing. And it’s awesome anytime we get the chance to work with greats such as Jeremy McGrath.
GN: Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is only the second console release (albeit in downloadable form) credited to the team at 2XL Games. Did the shift from iPhone and iPod Touch titles to a downloadable console offering present a challenge during the development process?
2XL: Not at all. Our game engine technology, called the XL Engine, is at the heart of all of our products. It’s a totally cross-platform game engine we internally developed to run on everything from iOS/Android mobile devices, to PC desktop and all the modern consoles. Our physics engine is fifth generation tech that my partner Rick Baltman is at the heart of. Our tech team is second to none.
GN: Before each race players must choose from different vehicle setups that dictate factors such as speed and traction. Usually that is optional in racing games – were the setups made mandatory in order to flesh that out as an integral game mechanic?
2XL: I like the idea of offering you the faster vehicle that doesn’t handle the bumps perfectly, versus a slightly slower car than can handle the roughest terrain with ease. It makes for a challenging experience and the opportunity to see which style of vehicles fits your personal driving style better.
GN: Competing opponents provide the biggest challenge, but there are also track hazards to look out for in Offroad. I was somewhat surprised to find that in an off-road racing game – what was the reasoning behind such a feature?
2XL: The hazards are just great fun! It’s a difficult design challenge to come up with alternative game mechanics in a straight racing title. The team did a great job coming up with different ways of surprising and challenging players when they least expect it! Adds to the overall experience.
GN: Jeremy McGrath provides some voice over work in the form of hints and tips. What was it like working with the “King of Supercross,” and has he let the team at 2XL Games know what he thinks of the new release?
2XL: It was a great opportunity for us, because he’s a big advocate for authenticity. He allowed us to take our liberties while assuring that we didn’t miss a beat. We’re grateful to have had him work with us.
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is currently available on PSN and XBLA. GamerNode’s review can be read here.