The Tri­als maker is go­ing all in on its big­gest suc­cess story

EDGE - - CREATE - Tero Vir­tala Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor

Founded 2000 Lo­ca­tion Helsinki Em­ploy­ees 110 Key staff Tero Vir­tala (man­ag­ing di­rec­tor), Antti Ilves­suo (cre­ative di­rec­tor) URL www.redl­ Selected soft­og­ra­phy Tri­als HD, DrawRace, Tri­als Evo­lu­tion Cur­rent projects Tri­als Fu­sion (360, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One), Tri­als Fron­tier (iOS, An­droid)

RHave player cre­ations in Tri­als Evo­lu­tion’s track edi­tor sur­prised you?

ovio and Su­per­cell may get the head­lines, but RedL­ynx has grown at re­mark­able pace since its ac­qui­si­tion by Ubisoft in 2011. Then, the stu­dio num­bered 45 people. Last year that rose to 75, and to­day the stu­dio’s head­count stands at 110. It’s been a nec­es­sary ex­pan­sion as RedL­ynx takes on two big new chal­lenges. Tri­als Fu­sion will be its first game to be mul­ti­plat­form at launch. It’s also tak­ing its big­gest suc­cess to mo­bile with the forth­com­ing Tri­als Fron­tier. Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Tero Vir­tala talks us through how those steep chal­lenges are be­ing ap­proached. Def­i­nitely. Some cre­ators are just ar­tis­ti­cally amaz­ing, [mak­ing] mag­nif­i­cent pieces of art. Some have a more en­gi­neer­ing-based mind­set and are think­ing, OK, use these el­e­ments then change the cam­era an­gle and you’re not con­trol­ling the mo­tor­cy­cle but some­thing else en­tirely. People are cre­at­ing en­tirely dif­fer­ent types of minigames than we ever thought pos­si­ble.

Has that as­pect of the game helped in the stu­dio’s re­cruit­ment process at all?

We have about 15 level de­sign­ers across both games. One fifth are the orig­i­nal guys. Forty per cent are from game ed­u­ca­tion schools in Fin­land; we’re co­op­er­at­ing with some of them, teach­ing their stu­dents level de­sign with our tools. The rest are from the com­mu­nity. The most im­por­tant thing is to serve our play­ers in the best pos­si­ble way, but as a side ef­fect it’s be­come a good re­cruit­ment source for us!

How has Ubisoft helped you to ex­pand?

We have much more fi­nan­cial back­ing, and we don’t only have RedL­ynx. Ubisoft has a lot of tal­ented stu­dios who spe­cialise in spe­cific ar­eas. We’re work­ing very closely with Ubisoft Shang­hai; one of their spe­cialty ar­eas is the on­line part. It al­lows us to fo­cus even more on the cre­ative side, the level de­sign, the core el­e­ments. We’re col­lab­o­rat­ing with Ubisoft Kiev, and have QC sup­port from Ubisoft stu­dios too. There are close to 200 people work­ing on Tri­als at the mo­ment. When Fu­sion and Fron­tier come out, people will see that.

How painful has it been to make the move to be­come a mul­ti­plat­form stu­dio?

Of course there are al­ways chal­lenges when you make this kind of jump. Ar­chi­tec­turally the new con­soles are very close to PC, which helps a lot, but what has been a big am­bi­tion for us is that the game has to be ex­cel­lent on Xbox 360. That’s where we come from, where Tri­als re­ally comes from. We’ve paid ex­tra at­ten­tion, not just to have an ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic next-gen game, but also to make sure the game is ex­cel­lent on Xbox 360.

Tri­als Fron­tier will be free to play, which is a chal­leng­ing fit for a se­ries so fa­mous for be­ing dif­fi­cult. How does it work?

We’ve been very con­scious of that from the start. A free game def­i­nitely has the op­por­tu­nity of at­tract­ing the big­gest user­base, but it was one of our big­gest chal­lenges. What is the ap­proach that would at­tract the most users, which at first would most likely be very ca­sual ones, but still of­fer end­less playa­bil­ity for our core fans? That’s the way we’ve tried to de­velop it. The game’s live in Fin­land and Canada and so far it’s re­ally promis­ing. It seems like we’ve cre­ated a model in which play­ers are able to com­pete against each other, and if some­one doesn’t want to pay they’re not forced to. And still people are play­ing it.

RedL­ynx’s spa­cious of­fices feel a lit­tle more crowded these days – lit­tle won­der, given that it has taken on some 40 staff over the past 12 months

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