Mark McMorris Infinite Air Preview: Untouched Snow Awaits
Preview Prologue: I am in no way, shape, or form a snowboarding enthusiast, so I won’t pretend to be. The following preview is from the perspective of a newcomer to the sport.
Mark McMorris Infinite Air immediately grabbed my attention. I didn’t know what to expect when heading to the booth at E3, but Infinite Air was absolutely captivating to me – someone not already interested in snowboarding. It’s an open-world, physics-based snowboarding game that has the potential to establish an entire community on its own. This feels like uncharted territory for the genre, and developer HB Studios aims to capture the hearts of newbies and veterans alike.
The world you’ll be boarding in is incredibly large and virtually void of loading screens. Each map has the capability to host thousands of procedurally generated courses and lines for your boarding pleasure. At any moment you can pick yourself up in a helicopter and fly around the map until you see a spot you want to ride down, drop yourself off and go. No loading necessary. Even if you wipe out, a simple press of a button will immediately spawn you at your designated drop off location. There is very little distraction, and that characteristic alone intensifies the scale of the mountain and the freedom it offers. You can go anywhere at any time; simply gazing at the gorgeous mountainside feels incredibly liberating.
Infinite Air‘s controls are far from the combo-based mechanic you typically see in games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Physics take the reign as the core gameplay element, and it adds a wide spectrum of depth to the experience. Flips and tricks aren’t necessarily hard, per se, but having an understanding of rhythm and finesse according to the movement of your body will certainly behoove you.
It sounds far more complicated than it is – each player naturally develops their own style of riding just by playing. Peter Garcin, Executive Producer at HB Studios, took the time to show me through Infinite Air at E3. Around the office, he said, they have the the entire team watch two people play the game while the rest of them watch without being distracted by playing. He mentioned that over time people around the office began to develop their own style of riding; eventually, members of the team were able to watch footage of a ride and recognize who among them was playing the game.
Once you get your own style of riding down, you’ll have your own way to go about doing tricks. These stunts are built to feel fulfilling for simply landing one without crashing. Because of this, those who want to pursue the combinations of multiple tricks will feel incredibly satisfied when they pull off a successful series of movements. If it feels gratifying from the beginning, it’ll feel exponentially so the further you go down that rabbit hole. For those looking to bridge the gap between skill levels, Infinite Air features a Challenge mode to help bolster your progress.
Playing the game isn’t the only thing Infinite Air brings to the table. A huge focus of the game’s core identity is focused around creation. HB Studios is giving players access to the very tools they used to craft their own maps, giving full control of construction to the players for their own personalized content. Players can craft courses and lines on each others maps, which can hold a nearly infinite amount of runs to ride and share with one another.
The sheer potential for the amount of community generated content with this set-up is astounding, and it’s not farfetched to imagine a gaming community built around beautiful, player-made landscapes for others to explore and compete. Maps have real-world events, as well as Slopstyle, Big Air, and Halfpipe competitions. Each line of the maps have leaderboards associated with them, giving players a ghost of the player on top to see what they did to get there. Sharing replays is another feature of the game that makes it easier for members of the community to quickly share their highlights and achievements, especially with conveniences like the PS4’s Share button.
Are you gonna aim to rock the leaderboards with speedy style and grace? Or would you rather become known for your creative constructions of beautiful mountains and courses for others to enjoy? The choice is up to you; either way, there’s a place for everyone in Infinite Air.
Even the people who have only gone down the Bunny Hill twice. At most.
Mark McMorris Infinite Air is aiming to be released Fall 2016 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
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