So, OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood is out today, and it’s free on PlayStation Plus!
Everyone at Roll7 is hyped that the game is part of this month’s PlayStation Plus lineup. This means that millions of people will be able to get their hands on our little skater. It also means that leaderboards competition will be crazy, with people racing to become King of the Spot, Daily Grind Winners and smash their way up our new Ultimate Spots Leaderboards.
So, for those that have not heard about OlliOlli (where have you been?!!) the original game came out on PS Vita in January 2014, then on PS4, PS3 and PSTV later that summer. The concept is relatively simple: it’s a side scrolling skater in 2D – think Canabalt meets Tony Hawks Pro Skater. However, we cunningly gave the game a control system based around skating ‘movement’ (we are skaters ourselves). In OlliOlli you rotate and flick the left stick then press X to land.
We were blown away with the game’s reception over the last year and how it managed to claw its way into so many people’s lives! It has even been nominated for a BAFTA for best Sports Game – totally beyond our expectations!
So, a sequel you say?
Yes, we started work on the game design doc for the sequel in winter 2013 once we had finished OlliOlli1. We knew that there was a list longer than our arms of things that we wanted to do, including a dramatic change in how you play the game. In fact, OlliOlli2 started life as an infinitely generated runner (or skater!), where obstacles, challenges and worlds all level up as you do. This design doc was fully complete by the time that our new Gameplay Designer – Dre, started in January 2014.
Dre took the design doc and spent three weeks getting to grips with it, questioning various bits, pondering and tweaking, until one Tuesday lunchtime. Tom (Producer), Dre and I headed to Hanoi Pho, a Vietnamese cafe in Deptford (London) to discuss the doc. Dre had serious concerns about changing the core gameplay dynamic to such an extent, this document had been written up before OlliOlli was released… Were we making a massive mistake?
As ‘vision-holder’ for the game, it was tough to hear the truth – and for a few days I resisted the notion but Dre was steadfast (which for someone who had only been with us for under a month was commendable). He was right: the OlliOlli core gameplay loop was solid. People liked it. It was a ‘thing’. Unlocking the next amateur level by making it to the end of a level, then unlocking the corresponding Pro level by completing all of the objectives afforded players a flexible progression model. If it aint broke…
We decided to rip up the doc and start afresh, then Dre and Manuel (our lead artist) really went to town on the vibrant Welcome to Olliwood theme, something that the game really benefits from. Each world and even each level feels unique, which given that there are 50 Career levels and 50 Spots to grind through in the game is no mean feat for our small team.
Gameplay has been massively enhanced with the addition of Ramps, Jumps and Epic Hills allowing for monster air and split level routes. The much praised OlliOlli combo system is way deeper, through the joy of Manuals, Reverts, Revert Manuals and Grind Switching.
The team have even been updating the hallowed ‘Tricktionary’ with new specials including 540 Shovits, Anti-Casper Flips and Darkslides to name but a few.
The end result is a slick, flowing skate experience, which adds meaningfully to the original OlliOlli, something that we promised ourselves at the start of the project, even after days and weeks of testing, the game still has the ability to get its claws into even us. We can wait to see what people make of it.
To show off all the changes, we put together a short five-minute doc highlighting the evolution of the game over on our channel here.
We are still working away on some very final changes to Combo Rush (our epic new mode), which will be patched in free as soon as we are 100% happy with it, so keep an eye out for that bad boy too…
OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood is truly the ultimate Next-Gen Skating Experience, so, go grab it on PS4 and PS Vita starting today.