Ubisoft’s new sports sim Steep is one of the most hotly anticipated titles of 2016, with wingsuiting, snowboarding and paragliding to get to grips with and an entire mountain range to traverse on one plank, two or none at all.
It’s hitting the shops 2 December, so we caught up with game director Arnaud Ragot, to find out how to play like a Red Bull athlete.
Mastering the wingsuit
Let’s be clear. This isn’t just a snow sports sim – you don’t have to stick to terra firma to get to the bottom. “The mountain is a perfect fit for the wingsuit’s gameplay opportunities,” says Ragot. “The world of Steep is a playground dedicated to wingsuiting, skiing, snowboarding and paragliding. You have so many spots and corridors to enjoy, and you can even find your own lines and share them with your friends.”
If you want to master the wingsuit, scout your line first. “Perform a first flight, check the opportunities and the different paths, but do not take risks immediately. A carefully planned wingsuit ride is always helpful. Then, when it comes to performance, remember that you can use the right stick to perform dodge moves, and using it extensively will increase your scoring for sure.”
Get to grips with different disciplines
You won’t conquer Steep in one ski season, but getting to grips with the basics and exploring the mountain is something that everybody can do straight away. One thing Ubisoft thankfully haven’t tried to simulate is the lengthy queue for the funicular. Ragot explains:
“We really want to put an emphasis on navigation. With the left stick you can navigate and explore the world easily using any of the disciplines. Having an enjoyable and accessible riding experience was one of our key focus points.”
“Then, for each sport, we added layers of advanced moves to give you depth to master. With snowboard and skis, the right stick will help you to manage your speed, but combined with the left stick, you will drift and slash.”
“For paragliding, the triggers will give you the possibility to do stunts and control your flight more accurately. With the wingsuit, you can perform dodge moves to avoid obstacle with the right stick.”
Scour the slopes for the best trick spots
With sports including base jumping, snowboarding, skiing and paragliding, freestyle is a big part of the game along. Ragot says that the limit to what you can achieve is basically your own imagination:
“We consider the trick system to be a creative tool, either to recreate the tricks you know and love, or to create your own. But the key for tricks is timing. Time up your jump to make sure you get the perfect impulsion; don’t jump at the end of a bump, but instead start jumping a bit before the top to maximize your impulsion.
“Then, as soon as you jump by releasing the left trigger, you define a rotation axis with the left stick or the right stick up and down. This provides you with plenty to do: flips, barrel rolls, rodeo, corks and other off-axis rotations. And you can improve your trick by adding grabs in the air using the triggers, and even tweak it by using the right stick once your grab is set. You can really be creative with the tricks system, but it requires timing and skills!”
Perhaps even more important is the location. “Finding the perfect spot is key in tricks, too, and mountains have a lot to offer: snowparks, bumps fields, ice fields, cliffs, roofs, ramps…”
Switch for ski tricks
Most people have a preference for either snowboards or skis, but aside from style, Ragot points out that there’s not actually too much difference between the two disciplines – in the game.
“We wanted skis and snowboards to be rather close in term of controls to make sure players can enjoy them without having too much to learn and to master. So I would say the difference is in the style and in your own preferences.”
There are bigger differences between the two when it comes to tricks, however. “When it comes to performing the trick you want, where you want, it requires a lot of skills. The switch stance with skis adds a lot to the style too.”
Slow things down in the sky
Wingsuiting may be the ultimate adrenaline rush, but you won’t be able to stop to admire the view. There but for the grace of the mountain gods goes the paraglider. “We designed the paraglide option to offer something really different, another way to enjoy the mountain,” says Ragot. “We gave it a major benefit: upwind lifts! It’s the only way to really reach remote summits and go up, and it’s the perfect tool for exploration. But it’s not only about that; some will love the peaceful feeling of escapism it offers, other will find great sensations slaloming in forests and canyons. This requires a lot of skills too.”
The toughest trick to master
Think you’ve got it sussed? If you want something a little trickier, Ragot highlights location as an extra element to add to the mix.:
“The toughest is when you want to pull off a really special move in a specific place. Push your limits, that’s one of the motto of the game. I remember spending a whole afternoon trying to pull off a back flip over the top of a tree while having my head hit the top during the flip. And once I nailed it, I shared it to the whole team, I was so proud! This type of specific trick requires exploration to find the right spot, anticipation for the best approach, and execution skills to nail it. It’s not only about trick mastery.” Challenge accepted.
Want to try and tame the mountain? Steep is out 2 December on PS4, Xbox One and PC.