Interviews

SBK X Superbike World Championship

Game Director Michele Celetti talks about bringing newcomers to superbike racing

With Moto GP failing to wow the world of Superbike racing this year, Tradewest and Black Bean have a real opportunity to pull into first place with SBK X World Superbike Championship.

In an interview with CVG, Milestone Studios Game Director Michele Celetti talks about how the fourth SBK will grab a wider audience by offering the finely tuned racing experience that hardcore fans are used to as well as no-nonesense, pick up and play thrills for newcomers to the sport.

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You've said that SBK X has been your end goal for along time, that you've been working towards this game for the past four years.
We started working on the new SBK license in 2007 so it's the fourth game instalment but it's the biggest leap of the series. We always have many ideas ready for the next edition.

If you have to put out a complete game, finished, tweaked every year, you can't put in everything you're thinking about every year. So you start planning with a broader cycle and SBK X is the most complete result we have achieved up to now.

Moto GP has to be considered your biggest competitor and the reviews were perhaps a little disappointing for that game this year. Is beating Moto GP always in the back of your mind? How do you think you can capitalise this year? What will put SBK X ahead of Moto GP.
Of course we wanted to make a better game this year. We have two worlds in one game, with the arcade and full simulation mode of SBK X.

They are very different modes with different physics and different experiences. We also have all of the championships and official libraries, riders and so on, we've got the legendary roster and that is really really important for us because, although you might not know the current champions or follow current superbike racing, who doesn't know Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss and so on.

So it's one of our great weapons when it comes to standing out.

Tell us about the weather system and the 'Evolving Track' feature in the game.
It works in different weather in different ways. On a dry track, when you start riding, you start laying down rubber on the track. This means a darker strip on the asphalt visually and physically it means more grip when you ride there. So as long as this increases, your performances will be affected.

On a wet track, which starts drying after the rain, what happens is that it gets dry on the ideal line sooner than on the outside. So again, sticking there, you're going to have an advantage and it helps you to follow the line because you can see an opening line of dry tarmac.

Again when you're in career mode and there are sessions over several days of alternating rain and sun, you can see the interaction between both because when you get dry and you get rubber on the track then it rains down, it washes partially away and the more it rains the more it washes away. When the sun comes out you start laying down rubber again so it's the real thing, what happens in reality is taken into the game. It's very important because it's a dynamic vision of the track.

A superbike racing game will naturally have a smaller audience than a rally game or a Formula 1 game for example simply because of the sport itself. Has that been a challenge when you're making the game? Do you focus on that narrower audience or are you trying to draw new comers in as well?
This year we felt that it was important to bring in some new audiences. We could have continued making a very targeted simulation game with a fully fleshed out simulation mode only, but it doesn't take you anywhere.

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