Destineer is a well-known publisher of some unusual games, and has primarally focused on the Nintendo DS and Wii platforms. As such, many of their prior games have not pushed the graphics envelope, or been very large in scope. A visit to the Destineer booth at PAX 2008 made me believe that this trend may soon change.
Desineer is publishing a new Snowboarding sim; simply called ‘Stoked’. This is Destineer’s first game on the Xbox 360 platform, and was easily the best-looking game on display at their booth.
The gameplay from what I saw was very open-ended. There are five expansive snowboarding areas, and all are based on real geographical data. The environments look very realistic, and camera movement appears very smooth with no slowdown. The snowboarder carves a nice path in the snow, so you can see where you (or others) have been.
The game also features dynamic weather, so snow can accumulate or melt, which can change the riding experience.
The gamplay I saw only showed a single-player scenario, and appeared to be a “sandbox” style game. You gain access to a helicopter in the normal game, which allows you to drop off at any point in any of the available levels. You can even drop off your friends (in multiplayer) to areas they haven’t been yet.
The game looks beautiful, the camera seems well-behaved, and controls look pretty easy, but it remains to be seen if Destineer can break out of the “rental” recommendation with the gameplay. This game has good potential for snowboarding fans, but we’ll see how it stacks up once we can review it for ourselves.
Developed in conjunction with world-renowned snowboarding movie creator Absinthe Films, Stoked captures the pioneering spirit of professional back country riders. Exhilarating snowboarding experiences are born from dynamic backcountry conditions. The riders who brave and master these conditions are the stuff of legend in Absinthe videos and on the pages of snowboarding magazines. The look and style of these riders are emulated across the world. In Stoked, it’s your turn to become a legendary rider and wow the world on the Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network by becoming an absolute snowboarding phenomenon.
Five Gigantic Real-World Mountains: Leave worn-out resorts behind and travel the world in search of the ultimate back country location. Explore five world-renowned summits. Discover new drop points by helicopter, bail out and experience more than 45 square-miles of open terrain on each peak.
Dynamic Weather and Environments: Every day the snow and weather conditions change on each of the mountains featured in the game thanks to a dynamic weather and time of day system. Snow accumulates on mountain surfaces, changing the riding experience, opening new paths, and building new trickable features and challenges. Different weather conditions offer different experiences and riding challenges. Choose where, when, and in what
conditions you’d like to ride!
Seamless Multiplayer: Invite your friends to ride with you in instant drop-in multiplayer! While riding together you can select custom helicopter drop points, create competitive or cooperative challenges, or call out tricks for members of your posse to pull off as you snap their photos. When you’re ready to get serious, go up against other boarders on Xbox LIVE in sponsored events to build your fame.
Style Crafting: As you develop your style, the animation system will adapt to how you play, and the other riders on the mountain will emulate your moves! But doing tricks isn’t the only way to convey a sense of style. Thirty of the industry’s top gear manufacturers, clothing brands, and international magazines have joined forces with Destineer and Absinthe to help you build your career. As your legend grows so will your stylistic choices.
Real Riders, Real Pros, Real Sponsors: Stoked features some of the most influential professional riders and names in the sport: Travis Rice, Nicolas Mueller, Wolle Nyvelt, Annie Boulanger, Romain de Marchi, Tadashi Fuse, Gigi Ruef, and Bjorn Leines. An impressive line up of 30 authentic sponsors also appear in Stoked including but not limited to:
Burton, Dragon, Arcus, Von Zipper, Eleven, 686, Billabong, DaKine, Electric, LibTech, Nitro, Northwave, Oakley, Quiksilver, Ride, Hart, Rome, Salomon, TechNine, Vans, Volcom, Anon, Nikita, Raiden, Red, Roxy, Sodalicious and VonZipper!
Stoked is scheduled for release this November from Destineer and developer Bongfish GmbH.