I can’t ride a bike. I’ve tried to learn on numerous occasions but I just don’t have the balance. Due to this it’s fairly easy to draw the assumption that I wouldn’t be any good on a motorbike. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them though. So when GameByte were invited to check out Ride 3 at the Ducati Museum in Italy I could hardly say no. Especially as it provided me with the chance to pick the brain of Milestone’s Marketing Manager, Andrea Loiudice.
The Ride franchise debuted in 2015 and Ride 3 sees it making some big changes from its predecessors. It’s not just a case of new maps and new bikes either… although there is plenty of that. 230 different motorcycles grace the games 30 tracks and 12 of those tracks are brand new. Bikes can be customised mechanically too in the livery editor, with over 500 parts to play about with to make your dream bike.
The biggest change though is the use of Unreal Engine 4, which helps make the franchise look better than ever. Drones have been used to help capture the real life locations and each of them look superb. You can even drive them at night, which is another thing new for the series.
When I ask Andrea what he thinks people will notice when jumping into the game for the first time he has a few things to tell me.
“I think the jump in the technology behind it is huge. If you take Ride 2 and you see this one, I think that really you’ll see that this is a game where we’ve been able to explore the power of Unreal.”
“It’s not just in the visuals, which is of course the first thing you notice. The gameplay, the physics and everything around the game is smoother, better, richer.”
“Then we have this great livery editor, which is the biggest addition in terms of work for us. We had to make it from scratch as we didn’t have anything similar.”
Stepping away from Ride briefly I ask Andrea about what else Milestone have planned, hoping to get some hot gossip.
“The project for the next couple of years is probably to focus more on the two wheels, and really own this niche genre.” A genre that Milestone already dominate.
“We have our big yearly franchises, MotoGP, MXGP and Supercross. Supercross is the next one in February and it’s very important to us.”
“We’re already thinking about the next Ride and another big project we have in mind. More for 2020 and 2021.”
I tried to push for more on the big project but my speech must’ve not been at 100, because Andrea wouldn’t tell me more.
Ride 3 may only have just come out but it’s rare that companies don’t have ideas for their next entry in a series. I’m keen to find out if Milestone are already planning for the next Ride and get a much more interesting insight than I expected.
“We are in an initial phase for Ride 4. Also because we need to understand the feedback coming from the community.”
“It’s not always easy to understand which is the right thing to pick from the community. But we definitely spend a lot of time hearing what they say.”
It’s a nice thing to hear, especially as many companies don’t seem to listen to feedback.
“We’re already thinking of some new ways of playing Ride but I can’t tell you any more than that.”
Obviously I feel this is the right time to ask if Ride 3 could come to VR. Despite playing about with it in the past it’s not something they’re looking to do with Ride 3. Stating that nausea is still a problem when trying to make motorcycle games work in VR.
So if VR is out of the question for the “new ways of playing Ride” how about the Switch?
“It’s not powerful enough and the cartridge has some limitations. We have 300 bikes in the game and a lot of DLCs, which isn’t something that works very well with the Switch.”
Motorbike fans on the Switch can still hold on to a glimmer of hope that the series may appear in the future.
“We definitely like it. Our games probably are not completely in line with the style of Switch as it’s very photo realistic stuff and it’s very different to the typical Switch game. We need a lot of time to adapt the assets to the Switch and keeping it to a good quality level. We’ve chosen, which are according to us, the best franchises to bring out on Switch. We have released already Supercross and MotoGP. We will keep investing in them.”
Ride 3 has obviously been made with a lot of passion and a lot of care. Milestone clearly loves bikes, of all kinds, and wanted to create something special for bike enthusiasts.
When I got hands on with the game it took me a few goes to make sure I wasn’t flying off my bike on every turn, but once I got it, it felt great. Swerving through a pack of racers on a tight turn to move up the rankings is extremely rewarding. The map and bike variety is impressive, with the addition of night mode adding another layer to races that really makes some locations pop.
Ride 3 is impressive and available to pick up now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. It’s not perfect by any means but it has an appeal to it, even if you’re not a diehard racing fan. I still don’t think I’ll ever be able to ride a bike in real life… but I’m starting to think I could become pretty good on a digital one.