Hardcore Gamer was recently invited out to attend the Monster Energy Pit Party in Las Vegas. During this event, Square Enix and developer Milestone unveiled the first officially licensed Supercross game in a very long time. Simply called Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame, it will feature the riders, bikes, circuits, stadiums and even parts from the 2017 season. Due for release on February 13, 2018, we spent some time with an early build of the game. This build featured two circuits: Las Vegas (outdoor) and Minneapolis (indoor).
The goal that Milestone has in mind is to encompass the feel of a Monster Energy Supercross event. In a recent interview we conducted with Marketing Manager Andrea Loiudice, he focused on the premise that these events aren’t just races, but rather shows. “We wanted to re-create the whole experience. We know it’s a big show and not just a race. Ralph Sheheen will also command the race. The visuals and sounds in the race will be very similar to a television broadcast. We will have on-screen graphics and the race command so everything will draw you into the action.” This is genuinely recreated as the broadcast begins with fireworks and cut scenes prior to the race. The experience also concludes with a podium celebration.
The build we played was visually stunning thanks to the lighting effects. Being able to experience both an indoor and outdoor track, we were able to see the scope of the visual capabilities of the game. Being able to completely utilize the Unreal Engine for MES, it looks like a completely different game in comparison to Milestone’s previous MXGP 3. Loiudice mentioned that the previous game partially implemented the capabilities of the Unreal Engine, but the team was able to really tap into the engine with this game. The engine isn’t normally used for racing games, so there was a transition period there for proper optimization. The results look to be extremely realistic (especially in its rain effects to this) and begins to feather the line between realism and gaming.
Besides the visuals, the gameplay is being overhauled to invite a broader audience. The hardcore fans of the MXGP series will have a “Pro” option for controls, but there is a lot of focus going into a casual handling category to get fans more involved. “There will be two different levels of physics in the game,” said Loiudice. “One will be the one we are focusing on, the entry level. The other is a more pro-physics for the hardcore fans, which will be more realistic. The standard level for everyone will be the one where players will have fun and be enjoyable by everyone.” So far, the entry level allows for good competition with the A.I. while there is still some skill needed for the feel of the race. Meanwhile, the Pro is still challenging and hardcore fans of the MXGP franchise will be able to adapt to this.
There were some excellent licensed Supercross games in the late 1990s on the PlayStation. While there have been solid titles over the years, the lack of a licensed game has made the sport less approachable. Gone are the days of a Jeremy McGrath or Ricky Carmichael dominated sport and more of a youth movement with a deep roster of talented riders. Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame should help spread the word to fans that may have lost touch.