Shaun White once again dominated the halfpipe at the Winter Games. At Vancouver 2010, just like in Torino 2006, White took home the gold medal for the United States. His first run was so impressive that he was able to use his second run to entertain the crowd, pulling off the first-ever double McTwist 1260. When he’s not competing on a snowboard or skateboard, White can be found playing videogames. And these days, he spends almost as much time making games like Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage for Wii with Ubisoft’s Montreal Studio as he does just chilling on his Xbox 360. White talks about his videogame work in this exclusive interview.
What did you learn working on your first snowboarding games that you’ve applied to your latest game?
Ah, nothing. I taught them. (Laughs) Just kidding. I learned a ton. I mean, gosh, just sitting with the programmers there and just talking with the production managers who’s kind of running the show there. It was wild. On the first game, you think it’s game land. You’re like. “Oh, cool, I want a pterodactyl coming in and I want this to happen and I want that to happen” and they’re like, “to get an actual dinosaur will take six months of programming.” I wanted to have water and they explained how the physics of water moves. So now having the second game out has been cool because I know the constraints that we’re working within and can be more precise with the ideas that I come up with. I mean, it’s more legitimate. I’m like, “Okay, well it will save us time by keeping the same character build but you put different clothing on them and do different runs or you take the one run and put different features on it.” Since the first game already hit we were able to take that platform that was already created because you’re going from scratch. It took two years to actually come up with these games and it’s such a long time. I mean, to be sitting there I’m like, “Gosh, two years! Are you kidding me?” And then in game time it just flies by. You’re just sitting there and playing these awful bugged halfway-done things and then you finally see the finished product and it’s amazing. I learned a ton. Especially from my awkward moments in the motion caption studio.
Was that your idea to add competitive four-player multiplayer snowboarding to this game?
Yeah. I think that’s probably the biggest things in this game is that you get to compete with your friends. That’s what I wanted to do. It goes back to classics like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. You’re trying to beat your friends and it was just what you did. You wanted bragging rights, just to talk trash. So what’s fun in our game is we have certain races that are set up and certain competitions where you can literally just meet your friends and compete like that and do the races and do the actual group riding where you meet on the mountain and go ride.
What does the Wii Balance Board add to this game experience?
I think what’s been fun is being able to add the board in there and the new levels and new runs, because you’re heading down and not only are you hitting the jumps but you’re battling with friends and you’re trying to see who gets down first. I like that aspect because that’s what we actually do on the mountain. You know, I’m always racing my friends. It’s called Chinese Downhill. It’s basically anything goes. It’s just that you’ve got to get to the bottom first. We don’t talk much about Chinese Downhill, but it’s pretty funny.
And you basically have a version of that in this videogame?
A version of that. We don’t call it that, but, yeah, it’s basically first one to the bottom sort of thing and you’re cutting people off and pushing people into the trees and it’s super fun.
Would you like to expand to games beyond snowboarding in the future? These days they even have a Tour de France videogame.
Bicycling games? Lance has got a game? He’s just sitting there pedaling. This is not doing good. And I get water. I get water. He’s going to be mad. Don’t play that. (Laughs) I would say, yeah, I mean, I’d love to branch out. The thing that’s been nice is that we’re slowly gaining momentum with the snowboarding game where we have a platform that’s been built from the ground up and now we can actually develop upon that. You know what I mean? You already put two years into it to make it this far, now you get the bonus of three or four years going into it where we can actually take the things that weren’t in the first games and make them really possible on the next one. I mean, there were no hand-plants in the first game. We couldn’t do certain sprays. There are certain things that would really make it more realistic and now we can add those later on. So I’m definitely feeling like we’re gaining momentum, so I’m going to stick to snowboarding, but we’ll see.
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