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7 Things We'd Like to See in Monster Energy Supercross: The Video Game

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What a time to be alive. There are two, yes two, motocross video games coming out early next year: MX vs ATV All Out, and Monster Energy Supercross: The Video Game. But today, I'm going to focus solely on Monster Energy Supercross: The Video Game (which I'm going to shorten to just Supercross for the remainder of this article) and talk about what I'd like to see in Milestone's first American-centered motocross video game. Let's dive right in.

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1What's one of the biggest features of most successful racing games these days? An immersive career mode. Milestone has started to do more with this game mode in their MXGP series, but it's still not quite where I'd like it to be. So what would I like to see added and/or changed? Well, first we need to take a look back at Milestone's latest release, MXGP 3, which featured their deepest career mode yet. It gave players the opportunity to start out as a privateer and work their way up to factory status, or they could go the way of running their own team and sign a deal with a title sponsor for certain incentives. It's a good direction to head in, but I think it needs to be refined a bit before it will actually be the career mode motocross gamers have been craving. 

First off, I'd like to see salaries come into play in Supercross. If I'm a hot commodity after my rookie season, I'd like to see what kind of bidding war erupts between GEICO Honda, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, and Star Racing Yamaha. It adds more weight to the player's decision as to where to sign. It becomes more than just "Oh, I'll go to GEICO Honda because I like Honda", as the player will take into account "Oh, GEICO Honda offered me $150k and a $10k  bonus per win, but Star Racing Yamaha offered me $350k and no win bonus." It's fake money (heck, it doesn't even have to be U.S. currency, they can just use their current credits system), but it just adds another layer to the career mode. And it's little details like that help keep a player playing. Furthermore, it'd be cool to have the ability to put the money you earn towards running your own team, which we'll talk about later. 

Next, and I've talked about this before, but require players to sign longer contracts with factory teams. Six-race contracts are not realistic. Players should be required to commit to a factory team for one full race season, so they can't do six races with GEICO Honda, and then jump ship to race for Star Racing Yamaha. It's a video game, I get it, but if you want a realistic career mode then it's best to follow the real-life trends of the sport. It'd be cool to sign actual gear deals as well, but I think that is a bit of a stretch. 

Now this next one is a big one for me, but I don't think it's a huge priority for Milestone (not that it has to be a huge priority...it's a fairly simple feature). Anyway, it's the ability to run the #1 plate after winning a championship and electing to defend it. This has driven me crazy in the MXGP series. If I win the 250 West Supercross title, you can bet your butt I'm gonna defend it, and my bike should have a nice, shiny #1 red plate on it when I roll into A1. Believe it or not, something like this will keep players playing. Players like the red plate, but they love the #1 plate. It makes you actually feel like you're the one to beat. Running the #24 while defending a title is just...not very exciting, but running the #1 is. Of course, giving the players the ability to run the #1 means they also need to add in a feature that takes the #1 away from whomever was running it at the time (I'm looking at you, Mr. Dungey). For one to work as it's intended the other has gotta be implemented as well. Hopefully Supercross finally does what MXGP has failed to do up to this point. 

And to further the subject of numbers, what numbers will players actually get to choose from? The MXGP series has made a point to only allow players to take numbers that aren't used by real life riders. Will this same logic be applied to Supercross? Because if it is, it's gonna be slim pickings for two-digit numbers due to most of the notable riders being included. Hopefully Milestone thought of a way to deal with this, because otherwise I guess each of us better fancy up a three-digit number we won't mind running for the entire time we play the game. 

What's next on the wish list? A page with all of your career (and season) stats on it. A big reason to play is to build up an impressive list of stats, so let us examine our impressive list of stats season by season, or by overall career. I'm talking main event wins, main event podiums, main event top 5s, championships won, heat race wins, and everything else they can think of. It gives players a certain level of satisfaction for all of the time they put in, and potentially sets goals to achieve.

Finally, add in some DLC after the game is released to bring players back to the game mode. Whether it's off season races, new graphics for team bikes, or new gear, it doesn't really matter. Just add something that encourages players to revisit the game mode. 

Needless to say, all of these suggestions are meant to keep the players playing the career mode. The biggest problem with the career mode of the MXGP series is the lack of re-playability. After two or three seasons (one or two in MX2, and one or two in MXGP), the career mode has run its course. There's no incentive to keep playing. So working towards making the career mode of Supercross more re-playable is the direction Milestone needs to go.

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2I'd like to see even more user customization options. It's very good right now, with the ability to change almost every part on each bike including the bike's graphics, and the various gear brands that players can choose to wear, but I think there are a couple of small things that would make a big difference. The biggest improvement I'd like to see is more options for the number/name font that appears on the back of the player's gear and on the player's bike's number plates. Because right now, if we're being completely honest, the font options are rather atrocious. It would also be nice if the numbers would actually fill-up the number plates and the back of the jersey (or maybe even let the player adjust the dimensions/placement of the numbers/name), because in the MXGPgame they appear extremely small on the bike and jersey, and it's not a pretty sight. If we want to get into dream territory for the PC version of the game, add in a graphics creator that allows players to create their own bike graphics. That'd be awesome. 

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3Let's boost the online capability. The online servers for Milestone's games have been mediocre at best for the past few years. MXGP 3's servers were the best they've been so far, but plenty of players (including myself, on multiple occasions) had problems with lobbies lagging out, game-breaking glitches, and lobbies booting players out for no reason. So I'd say that Milestone needs to place a high priority on maintaining stable online services this time around, or the online community for the game won't be very large. 

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4What's the forecast? The weather feature was introduced in MXGP 3, and it was a good first step, but it still has a ways to go. Basically, if it was raining or if the track was muddy in MXGP 3, you'd just slide around a bit and your bike would be a bit slower. That was the main difference in actual gameplay. They've got the visual part of it down, but maybe they should add in some deep ruts or at least make it more difficult to clear large jumps. For example: if it's pouring rain at A1, I shouldn't be able to clear a Supercross triple with relative ease. The whole point behind having variant weather is to make the player play differently and adopt a different type of riding style depending on what the weather does, and that's what Milestone needs to work towards. 

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5It sounds like Supercross will have two different physics options: regular and pro. Now, I believe that all we have seen so far is gameplay using the regular physics. So what would I like to see in the pro physics? Well, a big thing for a lot of people is more freedom in the air. I agree with that, and I sincerely hope that we get more control of the bike in the air over the jumps in Supercross. But it is important to remember that this game has primarily been built using assets that were used in MXGP 3, so I wouldn't expect the pro physics to be completely different from the regular physics. I'm expecting more freedom in the air, less assistance in the corners, and maybe more consequences when you case a large jump. However, I do not expect for the pro physics to do away with the animated whip. I think if that disappears it'll be in the next set of Milestone games. 

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6The ability to create and run your own team is an awesome feature that Milestone has brought to their MXGP series, and it was great to hear that it will be coming to Supercross as well–but doesn't it seem like it could be improved upon? In MXGP 3, you can be the owner/rider of a team, but all you are responsible for is signing a title sponsor that gives you a certain amount of credits if you hit the goals they give you. That's it. It's just like the normal career mode otherwise. It is also nice to run the graphics your sponsor provides for you and have the ability to wear whatever gear you want, but this idea could go so much deeper. 

It'd be awesome if I actually had to distribute funding for my team. I am the owner, after all. I think it'd work well; you could either ride for teams for a few seasons and save up enough money to kickstart your own team, or operate the first season of your team solely based off of the budget your sponsors give you. Once you find out how much money you have to spend, you'd allocate the money to different areas: bike development, pit visibility, travel, team members, and maybe a second rider. The amount of money you allocate to each area would impact how good your bike is, what level of travel accommodations you'll have, what kind of pit setup you'll have, how many team members you'll have, and whether or not you'll have a second rider on your team. 

I also think that it's time for us to have the ability to sign deals with more than one sponsor. Let us sell a certain amount of spots on the bike to sponsors for varying amounts of money. Furthermore, allow us to sign team deals with gear companies, with each company offering different amounts depending on the level of the team and the level of the company. 

The main point here is that we're supposed to own a race team, and there's way more to it than just picking a title sponsor. Adding in more choices and opportunities will keep the players playing. 

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7Now for the single biggest improvement I think that Supercross needs over MXGP 3: a more difficult AI. Bottom line is the AI is way, way too easy in MXGP 3. You can have the AI set to the hardest difficulty, start last, crash a time or two, and still come back to win the race or at least get second in a three-lap race. I don't want to be able to do that. I want to have to fight hard for the win and slice and dice with other riders for the majority of the race, and I think most other players feel the same way. Give us a challenge. Make us frustrated, Milestone. We won't get angry with you...we promise. 

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So, yeah, those are seven things I'd like to see in Milestone's new game. The bottom line here is that they're close to a winning formula; it just needs a little more complexity. Let's be honest, though. The game comes out in February, so it's fairly safe to assume that the game is pretty much finished besides bug fixes since they should be starting the submission process soon (if they haven't already). So if any–or most–of these suggestions are not already in the game, they're not going to get added in now. Thus, I guess you could also look at this as an early suggestion list for Monster Energy Supercross: The Video Game 2? Works for me, although I bet I'll have plenty more suggestions after getting my hands on Supercross. It comes out on February 13th, 2018.

Do you want to discuss Milestone's new game? You can do so in the forum here

Words by Grant Dawson
Screenshots by Milestone