Insider Q&A: Asphalt 8’s Thomas Aurick
When Burnout meets mobile, you get Asphalt 8: Airborne, a joyride that’s as stunning as it is thrilling, and a title that’s speeding its way up the top paid iPad, iPhone, and Android charts.
“You can launch you own Lamborghini into a barrel roll, while a space shuttle is taking off right in the middle of track,” says Asphalt 8: Airborne producer Thomas Aurick. “That’s just how crazy the game is.”
Inside Mobile Apps had the opportunity to shoot some question’s Aurick’s way in between shuttle launches and barrel rolls to get his thoughts on the stunts, visuals, and multiplayer that has left digital drivers flipping over his recently-released racer.
Inside Mobile Apps: What do you think it is about your racing series that has stood the test of time?
Thomas Aurick: Asphalt has always been about a unique blend of intense arcade action and real licensed supercars, delivered in a bite-sized format that fits the mobile platform. Whenever a new Asphalt game is released, we try to include the hottest dream cars of the moment, push the current mobile devices to their technical limits, and focus the design on one thing: fun, casual gameplay. What’s not to love?
IMA: What should fans of the series expect to see different with Asphalt 8: Airborne that they didn’t experience in past games?
TA: Incredible stunts, memorable situations. We really went over-the-top with this one, allowing players to perform spins, barrel rolls, and to drive their cars up the walls of some tunnels. This is intended to be pure arcade fun without thinking too much about that small thing called gravity; but at the same time collisions and air time look more “real” than in previous Asphalt games thanks to a completely new physics engine. All these actions are really easy to perform too, so that each race feels like an action movie with a high “stunts per minute” ratio.
IMA: What are some of the ways racers catch air in the new game?
TA: Jumps and stunts are very central to the Asphalt 8 experience, mostly thanks to the amount of ramps included in the tracks design … but not only. The environments are now wider and have more hills, slopes, bridges than ever. This allows for some experimentation on the player’s side to find new locations to jump from or jump to, using environment elements. Each track is a playground that we expect players to explore to find new ways to perform stunts and fill that nitro gauge.
IMA: How has boosting in the game changed?
TA: As usual, driving recklessly, jumping, knocking down opponents and general destruction will fill the nitro gauge. But we added a new layer to this system, when players choose to trigger the nitro: by pressing the screen at the right time, the boost gets stronger, giving them an edge over competition.
IMA: Was there a shift in thinking with this game in regards to the graphics and the need to upgrade the look?
TA: When compared to previous episodes, you’ll notice Asphalt 8 goes for a more organic take on overall visuals, be it on environment materials or particle effects during collisions. This differentiation goes beyond visuals though. For example, while Asphalt 7’s soundtrack was exclusively electro music influenced, Asphalt 8 incorporates more “analog” sounds with rock tracks from bands like Queens of the Stone Age or Kasabian.
IMA: How much will racers see their cars damaged during crashes?
TA: Bumpers and doors can fall off, windows get shattered.
IMA: What should people expect from the game’s multiplayer?
TA: 8-players online multiplayer, varied game modes, a vote system to choose the next track, leaderboards to compare your skills with the world. A lot of fun, essentially. On the technical side, we spent quite a bit of time to ensure smooth gameplay with minimal lag, and we have improved the matchmaking system so that low tier cars don’t end up racing against monsters like the Koenigsegg Agera R.
As for asynchronous multiplayer: we have a ghost system that allows players to compete against their friends’ best time during career events. Even while playing the solo mode, you are not completely alone.
IMA: Describe your favorite moment/favorite race you’ve had with the new game so far.
TA: A truly memorable moment? The day of the release, while playing a few races in our online World Series mode to make sure everything was working good. At some point in the Tokyo track, I knocked down two opponents out of the air in the same jump, while my car was doing a flat spin … that was pure luck, but that felt awesome.