The CEO of developer Milestone, Luisa Bixio, talks to MCV about the Ride series' performance so far, what the current racing market looks like and the studio's growth
How would you assess the performance of the original Ride?
The game did well commercially. As with every new IP we faced challenges delivering our vision, however the fans and press alike enjoyed the fresh approach to two wheeled racing. Innovation is something Milestone is focussed on and proud of with our recent achievements. Ride was a significant part of this - it was always a gamble and one which happily paid off well. So further evolving to Ride 2 we are delivering in far greater depth the type of game the team at Milestone are passionate about. We listened carefully the community feedback, address all the technical issues we faced in Ride and improved all aspects of the game. So Ride 2 contains significant improvement across all areas of the game play and an equally big expansion in terms of content.
Tell us a bit about Ride 2.
The concept for Ride 2 came from two of our most brilliant developers who felt there was a lack of of these games on the market, combined with a desire to build on the praise from fans of bikes and racing that craved more depth. It's the biggest game Milestone has released in term of content thanks to over 230 bikes, DLC included and extremely detailed customisation – with more than 1,200 customisable parts. We are extremely proud of what we are delivering and the attention to detail.
We have added extra tracks, bikes, modes, a refined engine and physics. We like to think of Ride 2 as the game for speed lovers, not necessarily just bike fans. Senior management at Milestone have all worked in racing games for over a decade and we believe we have , a great combination of old veteran and new passionate developers who enabled us to deliver the right balance.
What are your expectations of Ride 2?
We have high expectations, as if you want to be competitive you have to be ambitious. In first place we want to satisfy the community and market needs and requests on contents and game modes that were missing in the first title. In terms of sales we're expecting to sell around half a million copies in Europe and more in US when the game launches there.
How would you assess the state of the racing market in general?
The racing market is increasingly competitive with some fantastic games being released. While in general racing is dominated by one or two blockbuster productions, it is fair to say that there is an audience for games that try to explore a specific aspect of the racing genre – such as licensed games like Moto GP. We are very conscious of the blockbusters and look to innovate so as to avoid direct competition or seek production excellence in licensed racing IP with passionate fans.
How would you assess the last year for Milestone?
Last year was our 20th anniversary, something we are very proud of in such a competitive environment. We grew from €23m (21m) to €28m (25m) in revenue and we expect an important growth this coming year. Additionally, we've grown from 80 employees just four years ago to almost 200 people today. The number of products has also been increased, with four titles per year now.
Is there any interest in doing non-racing games in the future?
One of the key elements and mantras of Milestone is, as mentioned before, innovation. Our DNA is in racing games and our key focus is on this segment. However we do not exclude exploring other ways to entertain our players.
What are Milestone's plans going forwards?
Our plan is to expand the company in three main areas: quality, thanks to the new powerful Unreal engine. Develop a greater team in numbers and experience to support the high demands of the changing market; then further grow consumer awareness and revenue in countries such as the US and China where we're putting a lot of effort.