Have you ever wanted to go snowboarding in the French Alps, or even put on a wing suit and jump off the side of a mountain? I’m sure all of us have at some point, but without the necessary skill set or yearn for adrenaline, we pass on these opportunities. Lucky for us, Ubisoft is getting ready to launch a new experience: Steep. While a lot of us think SSX: Tricky when someone brings up a snowboarding game (all of those ridiculous tricks done in completely unrealistic situations set some strange expectations for my first time snowboarding), Steep takes a completely different approach.
While Steep’s ultimate goal is to captivate the player with the various winter sports in the gorgeous Alps, it also gives you the freedom to do, well, dumb shit. If you don’t crash into a bunch of trees and rocks upon throwing on the wing suit for the first time, you’re seriously missing out. Upon your character dying, a random animal with Xses for eyes pops up along with comically sad music. As dark as it sounds, watching your character’s limp body fall down a mountain is pretty amusing. The controls are very easy to pick up, but I do recommend reading all the information in the tutorial – I skimmed through it and didn’t grasp the idea around base jumping in a wing suit, and had a good fifteen minutes of comical deaths.
“Steep is a tool of escape,” game director Arnaud Ragot said in a presentation at the GoPro Campus in San Mateo, California. “Creativity is a key aspect of the game. No loading time, no rules preventing you from exploring the world.” Ragot also stressed that the visual aspects of the game were most important – immersing the player into the environment. Although my recorded demo shows a male character, Ragot confirmed you can pick either gender and fully customize your character upon release. Being immersed into the environment is honestly an understatement, and I very often forgot where I was. Steep was surprisingly fun, and oddly relaxing.
Playing Steep really had me thinking: When was the last time we saw a good winter sports game? And why now? “It’s our passion for the mountain and the French Alps. It’s what we really enjoy on the weekend, when we’re all together. We have been inspired and we have seen what the general audience wants – it’s all about X-Games and the Olympics [which is slightly different].” Ragot told me. The French Alps are pretty much their backyard at the studio. People who live in this region of France are very passionate and involved with winter sports – how could you not be with all that beautiful terrain and snow around you all the time?
The game also utilizes a lot of GoPro technology, such as drones to record your trial runs, and binoculars to see new locations. “With GoPro it’s about creating content, you sharing stories with your friends. We want to embrace the sharing dynamic with this generation,” Ragot strongly emphasized. Steep wants its players to share all of their favorite moments with their friends, and their trial times to spark competition. It keeps things interesting! I honestly went into Steep not thinking I would enjoy it, but I found myself having a lot of fun just goofing off in the Alps and playing around with the different sports. If you want a game that isn’t stressful, and has a lot to offer, I highly recommend picking up Steep this Friday.
Steep will be available this Friday, December 2nd on XBox One, PS4 and PC. Standard Edition is $59.99, and the Gold Edition with the season pass is $79.99.