Rollerdrome by Roll7 has made strides among the gaming audience. Receiving positive reception from every corner of the internet, the skating-shooter has managed to leave its mark. While the title looks beautiful and plays like a beast, many things went into making it a reality. Especially when you take pandemic into account.
Also Read: Rollerdrome (PC) Review: Skate and Gun
I sat down with Paul Rabbitte, Creative Director at Roll7, to ask many questions. Most of these were regarding the team and the game, for this interview on behalf of GGTalks.
1. First of all, congratulations on the successful launch! How does it feel that Rollerdrome is finally available for everyone to skate in style on their choice of platforms?
It feels great! It’s so exciting to see so many people playing the game and loving it – we’ve seen amazing responses from players online, and that really is what matters most. We’ve also had an overwhelmingly positive response from critics, which again just feels really good and validates all the hard work that the team here at Roll7 have been doing for the past couple of years.
2. Tell us a bit about the ideas and inspirations for the game. While the studio is mostly known for creating the skateboarding series OlliOlli (Which I adore), how did the idea of mixing shooting along with Rollerskating come together?
So I had been wanting to develop a movement-based shooter for a while, and I ended up taking part in a game jam which was focused on dual-purpose design – design where one mechanic serves two purposes.
That gave me the idea for a shooter where doing skate tricks would allow you to reload your ammo, and it just all came together after that. It felt really natural, and from that idea, I ended up creating the initial 3D prototype! From an aesthetic perspective, the inspiration was my love of 70’s sci-fi movies – I wanted to make a world through that lens.
3. During an interview for OlliOlli World, John Ribbins told me that Roll7 has worked as a remote studio since 2015. Seeing that your team released two games this year, with OlliOlli World coming out in February and Rollerdrome in August, how was the process of simultaneously working on these two games like?
We actually had two separate teams working on OlliOlli World and Rollerdrome, so nobody was
working on both games at the same time – but the two teams did work in parallel, and were able
to share expertise and tech.
The NoComply Renderer, for example, was developed in-house, and both games use it, so we could share advice and tips with each other. However, they are two separate teams, so we actually ended up creating quite a distinct visual style in Rollerdrome even though we used the same renderer. I guess it was the best of both worlds, in a lot of ways.
4. Additionally, was it a challenge to create the game during the pandemic? How much did the lockdowns and the timeframe influence the development process as a whole?
Yeah, it was certainly a challenge. We’re really lucky in that Roll7 was already a remote studio prior to the pandemic, so we were set up for remote work and had systems in place already that made that side of things a pretty smooth process.
In that sense, the workflow wasn’t adversely affected, which was great. But obviously, people have lives outside of work and the pandemic definitely impacted us all in that sense – I think that’s sort of a universal experience, really.
5. Rollerdrome has fluid, third-person perspective gameplay, which is a first for Roll7 if we look at past projects made by the studio. Was it challenging for the studio to create a game set in a complete 3D space?
Yeah, there are a lot of unique challenges when you’re making a 3D game – there are a lot more edge cases, nooks and crannies a player can stumble their way into, and in general designing levels gets complex pretty fast. On top of that, making skate games, in general, can be pretty tough – but it’s all a case of iterating and slowly figuring things out.
Every level needs to be laid out in a way that flows no matter what angle the player is coming at it from, and the controls need to help facilitate that. Everything needs to work in a 3D space, and with a lot of iteration, I think we did a really good job of that – I’m very happy with the end result.
6. Has Roll7 ever considered integrating multiplayer features like co-op during Rollerdrome’s inception? Or was Rollerdrome always focused on a single-player experience?
Rollerdrome was always envisioned as a single-player experience from the very first prototype. I was inspired by single-player games like Tony Hawk and DOOM – and since we were creating a whole new genre hybrid, it felt like a good idea to focus on getting the gameplay right rather than spreading ourselves thin by working on other modes. The big focus was getting the skater and shooter elements balanced in a way that creates a really satisfying single-player gameplay experience.
7. Music plays an equally important role in carrying forward any interactive experience. Rollerdrome features a 1970s retro-futuristic tune, giving the players that kick while playing the game. Was the choice of music always set in stone from the beginning by the team? Or was it decided down the line during the development?
Yeah, the music was something we decided on fairly early in the process – once we were sure
we were going for a 70’s style aesthetically, it felt natural that the music should match. But finding tracks that matched our vision proved pretty tricky – a lot of modern driving synth tracks have too much of an 80’s energy to them. So we reached out to a few artists, thinking about licensing some tracks, and one of those artists was Electric Dragon.
He was really interested in the concept of the game and the unique style of music we were after and ended up sending some samples we really loved. We got chatting as a result and ended up working together to
create the Rollerdrome Original Soundtrack, which was an absolutely amazing experience. We’re super lucky to have found him!
8. Finally, what is next for Roll7 and Rollerdrome? Does Roll7 plan on releasing more content for the game down the line? And does the studio plan on making more 3D gameplay experiences?
We can’t really speak much about any upcoming projects, but we have definitely really enjoyed working in 3D.
The skating-shooter hybrid Rollerdrome by Roll7 is now available to play on PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.