Developer interview: OlliOlli World

Releasing for all major platforms when it’s done, OlliOlli World is Roll7’s return to their acclaimed skateboarding series. It’ll be published under the Private Division label and we got in touch with creative director John Ribbins to find out more about what to expect. Read the full interview below.

To those not familiar with the franchise – what does OlliOlli stand for?

OlliOlli is ultimately about entering a state of flow, and improving upon your last run. At first you might fall flat on your face, but next time you’ll cruise through a level, and then you can cruise and start adding in new tricks you’ve learnt along the way. You can then begin to challenge yourself to continue to best your own score (and others) as you master not only our levels, but your ability on the board. You can also just vibe on through the island of Radlandia, and take in the sights and sounds with all that OlliOlli World has to offer.

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The first two OlliOlli games were generally very well received – what were your take aways as a developer?

One of our biggest take aways from the previous games in the series, and something that really helped inform our vision for how we wanted to approach OlliOlli this time came from a sentiment we’d often heard from players in the past – they loved the games, but they were just too punishing! This was something we’d also seen on our side with only a small amount of players ever fully completing the games, and that was kind of heartbreaking after we’d spent so long setting up all these cool challenges later on in the game!

We really wanted to take that sort of feedback onboard this time and create an experience that better captured the spirit of having fun skating – so OlliOlli World was built with that idea at heart, to allow more players than ever to explore the weird and wonderful world we’ve created in its entirety, as an exciting journey for new players and veterans of the series alike!

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OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2 were released in 2014 and 2015 – when did you start thinking about returning to the franchise?

After embarking on our most ambitious game to date in Laser League, we started working on some prototypes for what our next game could be. I think for the most part, it was really important we continued to learn from all of our releases, and specifically with OlliOlli, we started to get the itch to revisit and explore what a new OlliOlli could be. What do people love about OlliOlli? What do players want to see going forward? What can we improve that people are asking for? What can we offer that players might not know they want? Working through our own thoughts, reviews online and player sentiment, we’ve been able to really pick apart what is important for a new OlliOlli. We’ve been cooking away on this for a few years now in one form or another, and I think we realized we had something quite special early on during our prototype phase that we thought was really exciting to put out into the world.

What are some of the bigger changes that longtime OlliOlli fans have to look forward to?

I think players who are looking for a challenge are going to find plenty of opportunity to test their skills in some of the new types of levels that jumps, quarter pipes and wallrides allow for in OlliOlli World, and also grabs! (Those are finally a thing), but perhaps the most exciting is our new split routes – these allow for a lot of exploration and are where the gnarliest areas of the game can be found!

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Game development is often a dynamic process – what have been some of the big milestones and decisions you had to face for OlliOlli World?

I think the most transformational decision for the project was the transition into 3D, a decision that really changed so much about how we were able to explore and expand what OlliOlli meant for us.

Roll7 has always embraced remote working – did Covid-19 affect the studio and its work?

Everyone has been affected by it right? Even as a remote studio since 2015, much of what we’d be able to do before COVID changed; meet-ups with the team, events and unwinding in our normal way outside of work just haven’t been possible physically. We actually just had our first meetup in a longtime in London yesterday and got a chance to meet some of our new team members which was amazing! It’s such a surreal feeling, having worked with someone for so long with the type of collaboration game development brings, and to have never physically met up with them for a drink
or a skate!

Where in its development cycle is OlliOlli World right now?

We’re well on our way to getting everyone on a one-way ticket to Radlandia this winter.

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