Roll7’s brilliant debut gets full leaderboard support
OlliOlli almost never happened. It was only a kick under the table from Studio Director Tom Hegarty that pushed Creative Director John Ribbins into taking the iOS Prototype out of his pocket in our first meeting with PlayStation. Shahid Ahmad at Strategic Content signed the game there and then and the rest, as they say, is history. The game has since been a runaway hit on PS Vita, topping the charts, getting a GOTM award and sitting alongside AAA monsters in top game lists for 2014.
However, in hindsight, celebrations on the 21st January were a little more mixed at Roll7 HQ in Deptford, London. As the team sat together on launch of the game, news of a fatal bug that had snuck through submission was already circulating with a handful of journalists – there was a genuine worry that the bug might affect a significant user base.
We kept an eye on NeoGaf, Twitter and other sites from the moment that the game hit on the 21st January and thankfully it appeared that only a few small number of users were affected.
The team was due to start work on an as yet unannounced project, however we never questioned getting the bug fixed at all costs. Possibly it was naivety on our part, possibly it was stupidity – but we put off our new project for six weeks trying to fix a bug which was only effecting about 0.5% of users. Possibly it was seeing the odd tweet or forum post saying that people loved the game, but it just kept crashing – we wanted those guys to get the same experience as everyone else!
We eventually folded and passed the problem over to BlitWorks, who prioritised this when starting their ports to PS3 and PS4. It took them another two months to fix and another six weeks to get through Sony FQA. In a world where AAA studios pass on fixing fatal bugs on major titles in favour of making new DLC, we feel this was a small win for our little team and a big nod to the gamers that have supported us in 2014.
The second major fix to the game was something that was raised by NeoGaf users almost the instant that OlliOlli hit PSN: how could a high score chasing game like OlliOlli NOT have proper leaderboards?
In all honesty, as a small studio we can put our hands up and say “Doh, yeah of course, how did we miss that?” I guess it was an oversight during the somewhat chaotic production process during 2013. Possibly our modesty had lead us to believe that only a handful of people might ever play the game, and therefore proper leaderboards wouldn’t matter. When literally tens of thousands of people grabbed the game within the first month, we saw the error of our ways, and agreed to make amends.
Again, our good friends at BlitWorks jumped in here, adding leaderboards to ALL versions of the game. We have held the PS Vita leaderboards back for technical reasons – but skaters will now be able to see where they place in the world, and more importantly against their friends on ALL Career Levels, Spots and Daily Grind.
It really makes the tough work worthwhile seeing PlayStation gamers react so strongly to the announcements that the bug would be fixed, that we would add leaderboards, that the game would be Cross-Buy and Cross-Save on other PlayStation platforms. It’s what keeps us going on those long, pizza-fuelled days!
OlliOlli is out on PS3 and PS4 in the SCEE region on the 27th August. The game is 10% off (and 20% off for PS Plus users) for the first week, so go get your grind on…