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Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage

Platform(s): Wii
Genre: Sports
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

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'Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage' (Wii) Developer Interview

by Adam Pavlacka on Nov. 9, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Hit the slopes with Shaun White and his crew, but this time the stakes are higher as you pursue the world’s top competitions from a half-pipe in the middle of New York’s Time Square to the most prestigious competitions of France, Canada and Japan.

Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage follows Shaun White and his crew of friends as they go from chasing the best powder to pursuing the world's top competitions. You and Shaun will hit the slopes once again, but this time the stakes are higher; zig- zag across the globe to ride against the best of the best and take your place on the world stage.

WP: Who has the honor to speak with us? State your name, rank and occupation!

I'm Gabe Graziani, and I'm the community developer for Shaun White Snowboarding World Stage.

WP: With the new Shaun White Snowboarding title, you've got a heavy emphasis on competition, especially with the new Boardercross mode. What brought about Boardercross?

GG: Well, the last version of the game was all about fun and hanging out with your friends and really enjoying the experience of snowboarding. Incorporating the Balance Board was a huge part of that. In this version, we really felt like there wasn't much more innovation we could do with the Balance Board, so we went to Shaun, and we asked him, "What is it that you want to see in the game? How can we work closer with you and get this game to be something that is closer to your experience?" His inspiration was to make the game more about being a professional snowboarder, to really get the focus on what it's like to actually be a professional snowboarder and be in his boots, so to speak. That's where the inspiration for Boardercross came from, which is a genuine snowboarding event. In almost any snowboarding competition, there will be a Boardercross at some point. For Shaun, that is a significant event because it involves the most the direct competition, where you're out there, on the slopes, directly in contact with your opponents. Anything can happen, like dirty tricks. We wanted to capture at least a tiny portion of that in the new modes.

WP: Another new feature in the game is you've expanded the friend abilities. Can you tell us a little bit more about some of the new things you can do, like Blind and Confusion? They seem to be a little more aggressive this time around.

GG: It goes along with the theme of competition. Because you're going to be in more direct competition with more opponents at once, we wanted to provide some friend powers that were really going to help you out as far as that was concerned. As you mentioned, Blind and Confusion are probably the most underhanded of those because they definitely impact your direct competition. Blind will keep your competitors from competing for a limited amount of time, as will Confusion. We have more passive ones, like Mass, which makes your boarder heavier, which makes him go faster but also decreases his ability to jump a little bit. We also have one called Mr. Perfect, which increases your chance of landing a perfect trick, even if you weren't quite perfect on it. That can be a big help in trick events, where the goal is to get the most points from tricks.

WP: What about the different arenas? We noticed quite a few countries are appearing in the game, so how many tracks and different arenas will we get to experience?

GG: We have 75 events in the Campaign mode, which is a great improvement over the first game. They're divided into 15 different categories because we found that, while we really appreciated the first game and felt like it made great strides, we wanted to take that further so we added a bunch of new events. There are nine countries in this version, which is a significant wealth. There are eight countries, and then there's Red Bull, which is not really a country, but give it time. We really wanted to increase the amount of content that we delivered across the board, so in addition to all the different countries, you have a bunch of different modes and a bunch of different styles of modes. Overall, it's just a huge increase in content.

WP: Looking at the front-end UI, we noticed a lot of trophies and a lot of things from Shaun's travels, and we noticed what looks like a llama. What does a llama have to do with snowboarding?

GG: It's actually not a llama! It's an alpaca. It's from Chile in the Andes Mountains. That is one of the trophies that you can win, but there are several others. There's a pink poodle balloon that you can win; I think it's from France, but I don't want to be prejudiced or anything. (laughs) There's also a totem pole that you can win from the United States and Alaska. The idea is that we wanted to give people something that would help them customize their experience, so as you proceed through vents, you'll win little doodads and knickknacks that you'll use to decorate the hub, which is an airport gate.

WP: Speaking of customizing your experience, obviously you can go ahead and customize your board and customize the way your character looks, but in the new game, you can also customize your tricks with the Wii MotionPlus. Can you talk a little bit about how that works?

GG: Yeah, well, you pretty much got it in one, honestly. (laughs) If you have a Wii MotionPlus, you can enter the Trick Machine and you'll be able to customize one of your advanced tricks. What it basically does is it overwrites one of the eight advanced tricks, so you have eight slots in total, with a trick that you create using the Wii MotionPlus. It's divided into two steps. Step one, you automatically launch off of a jump, and while you're in the air, you can move the Wii MotionPlus as if there were a mythical tiny snowboarder on it, and the snowboard on the screen will mimic your motions. It's almost one-to-one, but not quite. You can't throw it up in the air and do crazy spins because you also have to land your trick, like you have a limited amount of time in which to land it, but it gets pretty close. Then you add grabs in the second stage with the A or B button, or A and B at the same time. Then you pick an icon for your trick, name it and then that trick replaces one of the advanced tricks. You don't have to completely redo the same motions that you did with the Wii MotionPlus in the actual game. Like I said, it replaces an advanced trick, so the maneuver that you used to do to perform that advanced trick, just do that same maneuver, except now, instead of doing a Backside Misty or something like that, it would do the trick that you created, it'll show that icon, and it'll put up the name that you chose.

WP: If you had to sum it up in two to three sentences, what really makes Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage a game that's worth playing?

GG: Competition, challenge and speed.

WP: Is there anything about the game that we haven't talked about that you wanted to add?

GG: I would just add that we're also introducing achievements into this version. Each race event has a set of achievements, and they are accessible through a menu so you always know what those achievements are. You know what's expected of you to earn those achievements. Those achievements result in certain unlockables and things like that.
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