Words by Scott Connor
It’s safe to say that the BMX community has been crying out for a legitimate BMX game for many years now. It’s been well over a decade since the final installments of the Dave Mirra and Matt Hoffman franchises, which some would say were and still are the gold standard in BMX gaming. That’s not to say that there haven't been any attempts at furthering BMX in gaming, however it just seems that for some reason or another the genre has never reached the level of detail and gameplay that has made EA Sports' Skate series so damn good. Could that be about to change?
– Matthew, please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what are you involved in?
"I grew up in a small town named Gibsons in British Columbia, Canada. In Gibsons there was nothing much to do but ride BMX, hang out at the beaches and play video games. I led a fairly average BMX kid's lifestyle of sitting in high school day-dreaming about the next trick to learn and trying to decide if it was going to be a good day to skip class and go hit the skatepark early. Fast forward a little and after high school I had the opportunity to begin an Engineering program in Vancouver.
During that first year I had accidentally signed up for a programming course. I did horribly in the course. Every part about programming seemed like some sort of dark wizardry. But, after that first year there was something about that programming class that left me hungry for more. Programming gave me a feeling of rapid progression and rate of skill improvement that was very similar to learning tricks on a bike. The feeling was amazing, so I had to take things to the next level. I resigned from my Engineering program after the second year and switched into a private school – The Art institute Of Vancouver – to begin my degree for a Bachelors of Science in Video Game Programming. Being a gamer myself, this school was the perfect fit. Literally the whole program is situated around video games.
"I've dedicated my entire life around developing BMX Streets."
Currently, I am finishing the final year of my degree. During my time at university I've dedicated my entire life around developing BMX Streets. There is not very much time to be involved in too many activities when producing a game. I eat, shit and breathe BMX Streets. Though somehow I still manage to find some time get out and ride, here and there."
– Before we dive into the details of the game itself, how did the idea to produce this game come about? Did it stem from a joint passion of gaming and BMX?
"Yeah, totally! It's a combination of a programming background and being a BMX rider since ninth grade. Having played the EA Skate series for many years, I developed a clear idea about what I had to begin to do. I'm sure every BMX kid who enjoys gaming has had a vision about how they would see a modern BMX game laid out...
"I'm sure every BMX kid who enjoys gaming has had a vision about how they would see a modern BMX game laid out..."
The most difficult initial issue was figuring out the programming of physics required the replicate the movement of a BMX bike and rider within a 3D game engine. So, after this initial hurdle was passed I birthed Mash Games and began heavy production on BMX Streets."
– Last year saw the release of BMX Streets: Mobile. A game that was released for mobile platforms, Android and iOS and was also developed by your company Mash Games. What can we expect the differences to be between these two games? Are they two totally separate products?
"The mobile game was intended to be completely separate from the console game’s design. There seems to have been some confusion about the two. I would like to clarify that the console game WILL NOT BE a console version of the mobile game. With the development of BMX Streets: Mobile 2 at the same time as the console game there will be some features and design principles passed from the console game into BMX Streets: Mobile 2. But, in a nutshell, they are two very separate game experiences being made by the same developer."
– What platforms will BMX Streets be available on?
Also, there have also been lots of questions asking if the game will release for PC. At the moment, this has not been confirmed but is being considered. One platform is a heavy enough workload and ultimately the goal is set for a console release. If there is going to be a PC version it will not drop at the same time as the consoles."
– What are some of the core design features we can expect to see in the finished game? Can we expect advanced and intuitive bike control and realistic physics, something akin to the likes of EA Skate?
"The core of the game will be traversing a city scape filled with spots to complete challenges and pull tricks. Of course, considering the last generation of skateboard and BMX games, it is quite obvious what the standard of physics and controls are that people have grown to expect from an action sports game. For example, in shooter games nowadays the trigger on the gamepad is simply known to be the shoot button. It's the natural way to play a shooter game. compared to years ago, when a game would use the “X" or “A" button for shooting. Likewise, In BMX Streets you can expect the hopping and grinding to be very intuitive, giving the player more control.
"Point systems no longer need to be included in realistic action sports gaming, they just lead to mindless button bashing..."
BMX Streets will be focusing on the more technical side of BMX riding. I want to mention that there will not be a point system. I believe that point systems no longer need to be included in realistic action sports gaming. Point systems lead to mindless button mashing in a bid to amass points. The concept of removing a point system was used in the mobile game and the feedback had mixed reviews. However, longer extensive trick combo challenges in place of a point system turned out to be a very exhausting game mechanic for non-hardcore BMX gamers. Instead, BMX Streets will feature a levelling system that rewards progression. I want to make players to think about their tricks and lines, just as you would in real life. BMX Streets will be host to variety of methods of progression throughout the game which will force the player to look at the city's spots from a new perspective.
Mash Games is an Indie start up company, striving to produce solid technical physics that will define our version of a BMX console game... When the game is closer to release I will be able to elaborate more." –Matthew Jensen