Steep (video game)
|Release||2 December 2016|
Steep is an extreme sports video game developed by Ubisoft Annecy and published by Ubisoft. It was released worldwide on 2 December 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A version for the Nintendo Switch was originally in development prior to the console's launch, but it was confirmed that development ceased for the platform in August 2018. The game places a great emphasis on online multiplayer, focusing on competing in various winter sporting challenges with other players online.
Steep is an extreme sports game set in an open world environment of the Alps and Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley), which can be explored freely by the players. The game can be played from either a first-person or third-person perspective, which can be switched instantly at players' will. The game also utilizes the GoPro camera during races. The four main activities available in the game include skiing, wingsuit flying, snowboarding and paragliding. Players can switch between these activities by using the game's menu wheel.
Steep is a very online-focused game, in which all players share the same game world, engaging in various sports activities simultaneously. Players can also collide with each other if they enable the "collide feature". To navigate the world quickly, players can use the "mountain view" mode, which shows different "drop zones" in the game. These drop zones serve as fast travel points that allow players to reach different parts of the game's world without having to actually interactively move that distance. There are various hidden races and challenges and secret areas, which can be discovered and unlocked through exploring the world. Players are also equipped with a pair of binoculars, which can be used to discover new locations.
The game also has a trick system, which allows players to perform special techniques such as spinning and grabbing while they are skiing or snowboarding. Players receive points if they perform tricks. If the player performs excellently in a race, they will receive a medal as an award. When the player crashes during a challenge, they have the ability to retry it immediately and view the amount of g-Force the player's character endured during the crash. When players are participating in these extreme sport activities, a trail will be recorded automatically, which can be viewed through entering the mountain mode, Players can use the pause, rewind, and replay features to capture screenshots and view their own performance data and other players' experience. These replays can be shared to the game's community and various social networking sites. Players can also set and share their trail as a challenge for other players.
According to Ubisoft, there are four types of play style. The Explorer style tasks players to explore the world to discover new challenges and locations, while the Freestyler style focuses on tricks' precision and accuracy. The Bone Collector playstyle rewards players for performing ridiculous stunts and crashing. The last playstyle, Freerider, is described as a mix of all the three playstyles, in which players would be rewarded if they explore the world, perform accurate tricks and take risks to perform dangerous stunts.
The game was developed by Ubisoft Annecy, a French studio which had previously worked on the multiplayer modes of the Assassin's Creed franchise and the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell franchise as well as assisting in the development of Tom Clancy's The Division. The game was co-developed by Ubisoft studios in Kiev and Montpellier. Steep became the first original game created by them. Development of the game was started in late 2013. The concept was inspired by the developer's close proximity to the Alps, and another Ubisoft game, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, whose large open world forced developer Ubisoft Paris to implement transport methods such as paragliding. The Trials series also influenced the game's design. Ubisoft originally was not convinced by the development team, but they later greenlit the project's development, mainly due to the huge popularity of extreme sporting videos on the video sharing website YouTube. The developers were also inspired by the renewed interest in the skateboarding game Skate 3 after it was re-popularized through Let's Play streaming events performed by YouTubers and others. According to Igor Manceau, the game's director, the team pitched the project to Ubisoft as they believed that the game's online structure and open world are elements that are new to the sports genre.
Manceau claimed that the game was a "passion project" and a "natural progression" for the studio, and that it was designed to be accessible for newcomers and complex for fans of the genre. The team collaborated with the action sport industry and consulted several professional skiers and extreme sports athletes and experts, such as Louis Aikins, Kevin Rolland, Sammy Luebke, and Horacio Llorens. However, one of the professional skiers, Matilda Rapaport, died while shooting a promotion video for the game in Farellones, Chile due to a sudden avalanche accident.
In February 2016, Ubisoft announced that their games lineup in their fiscal year 2017 will be "multiplayer-centric", and described the IP as a "high-potential" project with a heavy online emphasis. The game was revealed at the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo as the closing act to Ubisoft's press conference. The showing included a trailer and playable demo. An open beta was set to be released prior to the game's official launch. Steep was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 2 December 2016. A new region, Alaska, was introduced into the game as a free update soon after the game's release.
On 12 January 2017, a version of the game for Nintendo Switch was announced. In June, at E3 2017, Ubisoft announced that a Winter Olympics expansion, Steep: Road to the Olympics, would be released on 5 December 2017. The Switch version is still without a release date, though Ubisoft reaffirmed the game's release on the platform in October 2017, while conceding that the company's priority for 2017 was to finish and release the Road to the Olympics expansion on other platforms first. Despite reaffirmation, on August 9, 2018, the official Steep Twitter announced that development ceased on the Nintendo Switch port of the game to focus on bringing new content to the other platforms.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2017)
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- Feb 2017, p.116