While some prefer more traditional racing, many gamers prefer something much more brutal and challenging. As a sub-genre, off-road racing has gathered a dedicated following over the years and THQ’s MX vs ATV is the leadng franchise for catering to this audience.
For the long-running series’ latest instalment, the publisher has focused on bringing an enhanced experience to the more powerful consoles and the handheld platforms.
The console editions of Reflex deliver realistic off-road racing thrills, while the handheld editions recreate its key features for gamers on the go.
“The MX vs ATV franchise has sold over seven million units to date and we fully expect MX vs ATV Reflex to significantly add to that figure,” says product manager Mark Fisher.
“The game has always been well received amongst the hardcore MX fans, especially in America and we can see the sport starting to gain mainstream awareness in the UK. The Red Bull X Fighters event hosted in London in the summer is a good example of how the sport is reaching new consumers and gaining mainstream awareness.”
TEST YOUR REFLEXES
The key addition is the Rider Reflex mechanic, which uses the dual analog sticks to control the rider more directly, beyond simply steering left and right. Players can now make their driver lean in to help their vehicle make tighter turns.
They will need to use this to physically wrestle their vehicle across the track to avoid potential hazards and more difficult areas of terrain. This is important enough given the rough, dangerous environments MX vs ATV fans will be used to, but becomes even more crucial thanks to the new real-time track deformation.
The circuit beneath gamers’ tires will now change realistically according to how vehicles pass over it. Too many buggies or bikes tearing up a particularly muddy spot will make that area more difficult to traverse on the next lap.
Other environmental hazards will make things even more challenging, with players forced to race across raging rivers and swampy everglades. Thanks to the new terrain engine ticking away beneath the game’s bonnet, these driving surfaces boast a level of detail never before seen in the series before.
The handheld versions have also been enhanced since the previous iteration of MX vs ATV, boasting their own versions of the Rider Reflex system and enhanced physics mechanics.
“The game itself is a huge improvement on the previous MX vs ATV title and the first true foray onto the current generation of consoles,” says Fisher.
“We are confident that Reflex will appeal to a broad range of consumers, from hardcore to mainstream racing fans, as it has true universal appeal.
“The game has already launched in America to critical acclaim amongst media and consumers alike and we fully expect the game to be just as well received in the UK and across Europe.”
With a fanbase already established by previous MX vs ATV releases, THQ plans to maintain awareness of the newest entry among this audience through its promotional efforts.
A marketing campaign has been running for weeks, calling out to loyal followers and newcomers alike across a range of media.
“Marketing has been focused on engaging hardcore and mainstream off-road racing fans while also raising awareness amongst the grassroots motocross fans,” says Fisher.
“Our research highlighted that sampling is key and as such we made a significant investment publishing the Xbox Live and PSN playable demo over the holiday period.”