Snowboarding in a video game is about more than planting a rider in front of the screen and pushing him/her down a snowy mountain. Getting the feel right, from what it's like to carve through the snow to pulling off tricks, must be the foundation of a good experience. HB Studios – creators of The Golf Club – have announced Infinite Air featuring Mark McMorris, a PS4/Xbox One/PC snowboarding title that not only aims to give gamers unparalleled feel when out on the mountain, but also layer on the course-creation tools the developer has become known for.
Infinite Air doesn't automatically propel you down the mountain like some arcadey snow-sports games. Instead, the game focuses on an overall physics model for player movement in the board's edges, carving, and pulling off tricks. How you compress your weight, torque your trunk for spin, move through the air, and grab are all part of the game's movement system, whether you're doing a trick or not. Thus, HB Studios is striving for consistency throughout the game no matter what you're doing. "Unlike a lot of previous games that rely on tricks and are sort of combo driven," says Peter Garcin, executive producer, "this game is not combo driven at all. It is physics driven, and so it's about manipulating your body in space to perform the tricks."
The game might not be based on specific trick inputs, but with different competition modes like slopestyle and halfpipe, the game naturally is filled with opportunities for tricks. In fact, Garcin says, "Any trick you can do in real life you should be able to do in the game." The team is working with McMorris and other boarders to make sure the game's arsenal of tricks is both accurate and up to date. Thanks to the game's physics, Garcin tells us that even the same trick performed off of different terrain and in different situations will look slightly different. "It's definitely a leap in terms of level of expression compared to a lot of previous games."
Players should have no shortage of opportunities to strut their stuff down across various locales thanks to the ability for users to create their own mountains. The developer is included creation tools that Garcin says will be familiar to anyone who's spent time with those in The Golf Club, and estimates that Infinite Air's mountains should be roughly five times the size of The Golf Club's courses. He told me that it depends on how the studio balances the mountain's size with the amount of stuff to do on them. Regardless of their actual size, players should have plenty of activities to partake in, whether they are using the game's helicopter to drop anywhere on the mountain or carving through the backcountry against other user's ghost avatars (more multiplayer details are coming in the future).
Snowboarders have been waiting for a good boarding title on the new home systems, and HB Studios is trying to build off its experience and love of snow sports (the studio is based Nova Scotia, Canada) to deliver something true to the sport as well as the fans. "We definitely felt a need for a title in that space. Even just as gamers ourselves we're like, 'We really want to play a game like this.'"
Infinite Air featuring Mark McMorris comes out this fall simultaneously for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in both boxed retail and digital versions.