Exclusive Interview: Alex Zucca Talks Sebastien Loeb Rally EVO
Nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb is the most accomplished rally racer of all-time. That’s what makes Sebastien Loeb Rally EVO, a game in which Loeb gave constant feedback to the development team, so exciting. Italian developer Milestone S.r.l. teamed up with the living legend to make the most realistic simulator yet, and from the looks of it, they’ve succeeded.
To learn more about Loeb’s involvement in the project, We Got This Covered recently spoke with the game’s lead designer Alex Zucca. We touched on their competition in the rally scene, what feedback Loeb gave the team and much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
We Got This Covered: One of the really cool features is that players can play on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb track. Was it important to include this track, where Loeb has one of his best performances, and how happy are you with the virtual version you’ve created?
Alex Zucca: It was very important because the game also celebrates the record and the deeds of the nine time world rally champion in all the disciplines he drove. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb record is still undefeated and I think will remain so for some time and we are extremely happy with the final result of the track.
Also, Loeb congratulated [the team] about the fidelity of reproduction. Just to tell you an interesting history behind the PPHC, the first time Loeb tried it was almost 20 seconds faster than the original time. Then we worked with him to slow down the track and the car a little bit, and now he can have more or less the same time as the record he keeps.
We Got This Covered: The racing genre is filled with hardcore fans who have expensive Thrustmaster racing wheels, and spend days bettering their lap times. How much of your audience is the hardcore racing fan, and is it ever difficult to make sure the game stays accessible, while also providing the depth that your diehard fans want?
AZ: The game began as a simulation and is primarily targeted for hardcore gamers that find all the essence of rally driving in both the physics and the design of the tracks (that are a reproduction of real special stages). But our aim is also to make the game accessible to all the car fans. That’s why we’ve made it fun, enjoyable, and added the possibility to use several driving aids [including] scalable physics.
WGTC: With the game launching on three different platforms, were there any challenges in making the game run well on all of them? Are there any noticeable differences between versions either gameplay wise or visually?
AZ: We worked to have the same game experience over all the platforms without any particular issue. Only the PC version runs with 60fps because it’s more performing.
WGTC: One of the major draws is that the game bears the name of nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb. What kind of input has he had on the game, and how was it working with such a highly regarded rally superstar?
AZ: Loeb was involved since the beginning of the development. His “touch” can be seen in 3 main areas: design, physics and sound. With him we’ve chosen the best moments of his career that we wanted to reproduce into the game, recorded his history that you can see during the whole career progression, and recorded his voice for the voiceover side.
From the physics side, we’ve let him test all the parts of the game in order to understand if the behavior of all the cars was reflecting exactly the reality and his feedback was precious. The same work we’ve made for the physics has been done for the sound, so he analyzed the car sounds in order to tune it and make it as real as possible.
WGTC: Racing games aren’t really known for having story modes, but players get to relive some of the highlights of Sébastien Loeb in the game. What made you want to celebrate his historic career with a story mode?
AZ: The players can relive the entire rally career playing a special game mode called “Loeb Experience”. This game mode is a collection of events introduced by Loeb himself (with exclusive video interviews) where the player has to drive all the cars that made Loeb a legend. This storyline was introduced to make the game enjoyable for all the Loeb fans and for telling the history of a huge champion to the others.