Interview with a futuristic racing game developer
Redout 2 is here and fans are starting their engines in anticipation of the long-awaited sequel. Paying loving homage to arcade racers of yore, this lightning-fast journey into a colorful dystopian future promises to be an exhilarating outing.
The creators of 34BigThings claim it’s “the fastest racing game in the universe” and it would certainly be hard to argue otherwise. Once players get behind the wheel of one of these futuristic hovercraft, the anti-gravity tracks allow them to reach phenomenal speeds. More than just a spin of the wheel, Redout 2 will give players a chance to take on a significant challenge, as they buckle up and fight their way through a semi-abandoned Earth.
This second installment strikes the right balance between the potential of the high skill cap and the ability for new players to just pick it up and have fun. In addition to an expanded career mode, Redout 2 features competitive online multiplayer, where up to 12 racers can compete in a series of new challenges. For players who like to swerve in style, each hovership is also fully customizable with everything from tech specs to aesthetic adornments.
As with the first game, the stunning soundtrack is part of what sets it apart from others in the genre, with a cleverly responsive algorithm keeping things in pace with the racing itself.
Clearly fans of the genre, from WipeOut to F-Zero, we caught up with producer Filippo Gabello and Lead Sound Designer Paolo Armao to ask how they brought this high-speed runner to life.
Before Redout 2 could be made, the team knew exactly what aspects needed improvement. “It’s the fastest racing game in the universe, not just the world,” remarks Gabello. “And we have this opportunity to come back to the franchise in a bigger and better way. We were able to increase everything – more speed and more style.”
The team was working on the basis that the first game was famous (among other things) for a complicated and highly technical driving system, which a sequel should expand upon. “We didn’t want to deprive ourselves of it,” says Gabello. “We wanted to keep adding options. There’s a whole bunch of actions a player has to do when playing, like steer straight, launch their ship, use hyper boost and keep an eye out for things like heat management and gravity controls.”
Despite its intense driving system, Redout 2 is not just for experienced gamers. “We have six difficulty levels,” says Gabello. “They range from a chill, which is for anyone not used to the game, to Nightmare, which is the opposite of the scale. We wanted to be more accessible to newcomers, so we spent a lot time effort by giving it more variety and implementing more ways to play the game.”
The mentality of the Redout 2 team seems to have been focused on providing more in all areas of the game. “We have more tracks, more events, more ships and we also have ship customization – many ways for players to express themselves in-game,” says Gabello. Along with these significant additions – which total more than the first game and all of its DLC combined – the game now also offers more ways to play.
“We have a massive career mode, consisting of around 250 events where the player can race through modes like arena races, time attacks and last man standing, which is basically an elimination mode” , explains Gabello. “Then we culminate in Boss Mode, which is three tracks of the same environment all tied together in a very long, very difficult race.” Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, each track is also reversible.
After unlocking all the challenges and tracks Career Mode has to offer (or maybe between races), players can also get lost in Arcade Mode and hone their skills. This mode features all racing modes, tracks and environments available in an offline single-player format.
The most impressive thing about all of this content is that Redout 2 was developed during the pandemic, with the team adjusting to a new way of working and ever-growing staff.
“It was difficult not only on a day-to-day basis, but also because in just one year we doubled in size,” says Gabello. “So in addition to managing the calls remotely, the calls on the calls, of course, you also had to onboard a lot of people and get them to start working on the projects, but also trying to make sure they were at comfortable and still able to be part of the family, even from our remote positions.”
Part of what gives Redout 2 its unique, arcade-like feel is how sound is used to enhance the overall experience. Paolo Armao worked on both the sound composition and the music design, and how that contributed to the overall feel of the game. “We had a long selection phase, choosing the genres and the artists we wanted to work with,” he recalls. “Creating the musical universe of Redout was really important. Music is one of the essential tools we have to help the player feel the driving experience.”
Alongside the chosen artists, the team features a selection of its own talented composers and producers who have all worked together to ensure that Redout’s universe reflects the diversity of real-world music. “The original game’s soundtrack was a real hit. We had an orchestra playing some of the tracks all over Europe, but we still wanted to expand a bit, include more genres, more artists and better represent the musical world of Redoute.”
Crucial to building Redout 2’s responsive acoustics was the choice of sounds that accompanied the music and the ships whizzing around the tracks. “Music should be… violent. Up-tempo. But it shouldn’t distract you when you’re in a trance and driving at 1,000 km/h. Music can be very distracting, but it can also help you focus on your driving experience.
Redout 2 is available now on PC, PS4/5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X.