The Trials maker is going all in on its biggest success story
Founded 2000 Location Helsinki Employees 110 Key staff Tero Virtala (managing director), Antti Ilvessuo (creative director) URL www.redlynx.com 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