My daughter has a question about OlliOlli World. Simply put: in a game where you die and restart a lot, maybe ten, fifteen, twenty times a level, does it help if it’s funny? Did the team at Roll7 make OlliOlli World funny on purpose, so we wouldn’t all get furious?
Thomas Hegarty, the co-CEO and co-director at Roll7 is surprisingly willing to field a question from an eight-year-old who didn’t even make it onto today’s Zoom call (she’s busy Skyping with Bethesda). “So in my opinion,” he pauses for a second. “It’s not necessarily comedy so much as giving the player something, right? So in this case, we’re giving them a laugh. But in other cases, you can give them something else. And it’s still: ‘I’ve earned something through this death’, rather than, ‘I’ve just stopped, I’ve just failed.’ For me at least it’s about making sure that when the player does have those bad moments, it’s also a good moment.”
He laughs a little wistfully. “Earlier on in development, we actually had a – we had to get rid of this mechanic – but basically, when you slammed you could just fiddle with both sticks, and there wasn’t really any rhyme or reason to what you’re doing. You couldn’t quite tell, but the more you did, or the less, the player just wiggles and worms along the ground. And it was brilliant. We really wanted to keep it in, but then it was just a QA nightmare, because you could slam down about 20 metres from the finish line and then slowly worm your way over the line.”