We are now just one week away from the release of the first official WorldSBK video game in a decade, and ahead of launch, developer Milestone has showcased further gameplay footage.
For the first time, the menus and user interfaces have been revealed, and we must say they look awfully familiar to MotoGP 22’s. But that also makes a lot of sense, as this game is coming from the same studio and uses the same Unreal Engine technology. The fact that the two games look similar shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The same seems to be true of the main ‘managerial’ career mode, with the team personnel system looking near identical to the MotoGP titles as is the mention of winter tests, development programmes, Data Analysts and Engineers.
If you’ve not played a Grand Prix game in a while, however, and you find superbikes are more cup of tea, then this mode does at least deliver significant depth and the ability to oversee your own team, should you choose. There are no support categories in SBK 22, however.
One key differentiator between the two games – aside from the machines being production-based and not out-and-out prototypes – is the calendar. While there are cross-over venues, Most, Magny Cours and San Juan Villicum are not within the most recent MotoGP game. Donington Park is, but part of the 2009 NINE documentary mode.
The Tissot Superpole format from the real world is also present, alongside the official teams, riders and motorcycles from the 2022 season.
The key element, however, will be how the bikes ride and deliver player feedback.
“We have talked directly with real Superbike riders,” said Luca Pellizzer, SBK 22 gameplay Designer at Milestone, during the video presentation.
“We have focussed our work on the tyres, because Pirelli has created some compound to do something specific, like the SCX for the Superpole racing or the SCQ for the Superpole session.
“We have worked a lot to reproduce the same feelings and tyre consumption.“
Another fresh element is not only selecting the right tyre compound or brake disc size, but the correct fuel load to last the race distance.
“We have actually started to teach our artificial intelligence to ride like the real riders’, behaviours so the Toprak [Razgatlıoğlu] one is trying to recreate Toprak’s behaviour on the track,” said Andrea Basilio of the game’s AI system, Head of Games Design and Associate Creative Director.
There are wet races, but it’s not clear if these are changeable – something the MotoGP titles lack. Online multiplayer is touched upon, but again it’s also not confirmed at this point if cross-platform play like MotoGP 22 and Milestone’s Hot Wheels Unleashed is possible.
SBK 22 releases on 15th September for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. So far, there has been no word on a physical release for console.