After spending several hours ogling lycra-clad grid girls at last week's Milan Bike Show, we caught up with Italian developer Milestone and their newly-announced Superbike 2007 bike racing sim.
The game's producer Simone Bechine was on hand to answer our Superbike 2007 questions, with reigning SBK World Champion Troy Bayliss making a surprise appearance towards the end. Read on...
Hi, Simone, pleased to meet you. Tell us a bit about the game.
Bechine: Superbike 2007 is the official World Superbike Championship simulation, so it's going to feature all the 2007 season tracks, bikes, teams and riders. Of course Milestone has a track record with these kinds of games as developer of the Superbike series from 1991 to 2001, so it's nice to have the opportunity to develop the game for 2007. Right now we are focusing on PS2 and PSP versions; this will be the first PSP title for Milestone to that is exciting for us.
Will the game be coming to any other platforms?
Bechine: Yes, there are going to be PC and Xbox 360 versions coming later on next year, I think around November.
What sort of enhancements are you hoping to bring to the game for these two versions?
Bechine: That's something I cannot answer at the moment since we are focusing on PS2 and PSP right now. We are still working on the PC and Xbox 360 development frameworks so we are not quite there, but of course we hope to make the most of each platform.
Tell us a bit more about the mechanics of the game.
Bechine: Ok so the aim of the game is to be as real as possible, and we can say that we are starting from the physics engine of Super-Bikes Riding Challenge which was the last title for Milestone. We took this engine and adapted it to the World Superbike racing environment which is something a little different, something more extreme. SBRC mostly featured road bikes whereas in Superbikes 2007 we have full-on racing machines. The engine, the cornering, the braking is all much more enhanced.
How easy do you think it will be for casual gamers who maybe have never ridden a bike before to pick this game up?
Bechine: I would say it's the goal of the project, to allow every single fan of the SBK series to come in and ride the bikes even if they have not played this type of game before. We've put a lot of effort in to making the game customisable in terms of riding experience: we have assists with braking, throttle or help choosing the right line. This is all in order to provide a riding experience not just realistic but also customisable for every level of skill.
And the hardcore bike nuts, can we switch all of that off?
Bechine: Sure, of course. We are going to have three basic levels of realism: novice, intermediate and professional. Besides this you can also customise every single option to suit your own needs. If you want the ultimate riding experience you got it, you can turn off everything and you've got separate front/rear braking controls, you have to control body position of the rider, manage very carefully the throttle and braking - because too much of either you can crash the bike quite easily, you know. You have to behave very gently with the bike if you are looking for the ultimate level of difficulty.
How does the top level of realism compare with Super-Bikes Riding challenge?
Bechine: I would say the max would be something a little more than SBRC because you will also be able to customise the bike's settings like suspension, tyres, stuff like that. So that's something extra that wasn't included in the last game which you can use to change the handling of the bike. The racing itself is also very fierce, it's quite different because this time you're racing against 27 other riders, whereas in SBRC there were just 7 other bikes.