During this year’s ParisGameWeek, France’s biggest game event, developer of Nadeo were present to showcase their newest games at their ManiaPlanet conference. The French studio that was acquired in 2009 by Ubisoft is responsible for the development of the TrackMania series. For those who are not familiar with the series, TrackMania is a racing game that essentially allows players to create and develop their own tracks, then share and compete with other players around the world. Nadeo is already 10 years old, but it seems like the studio is a success-story that has only just begun. With their soon to be released FPS game ShootMania Storm, and the announcement of TrackMania Valley and TrackMania Stadium, the studio is busy on a variety of projects. While we were there for the conference, we had a quick chance to speak with Florent Castelnérac, founder of Nadeo.
ShootMania Storm is a fast-paced online multiplayer first person shooter where players can quickly run and jump across the map, eliminating their opponents using rocket launcher-style weapons. A normal match features two teams: one defending a point on the map while the attacking team has to knock-out the defending team before the time runs out. The gameplay might seem relatively simple at first sight, but ShootMania looks extremely fun and challenging.
We were asked to look at ShootMania like being a playground for FPS-players as Calstelnérac showed us how players can quickly manoeuvre across the map. By hooking himself to white pads plastered on walls, he would neatly swing himself with a hook under a bridge’s archway and to the other side of the map. He’d repeat the motion again, but this time turning round at the end of the swing and hooking himself back to the pad in order to come back to where he started, and finally hauling himself on top of the bridge. Other possibilities involved performing wall jumps, sliding down slippery ramps and being launched across the map by launch pads.
It was impressive to say the least.
Pixelsforbreakfast: Can you tell us what ShootMania Storm is? How does it distinguish itself from the rest?
Shootmania is like, I like to say, the FPS of FPS players. I mean, take Call of Duty, Counter-strike, Quake or whatever, you can only play it one way. ShootMania is a FPS where you can make things in it, share things, create, play online and compete, so it’s really like a FPS operating system.
Before Shootmania, you mostly focused on racing games, like TrackMania. What gave you the idea to start an FPS game?
I understood at the time that TrackMania can be compared to a sport. There are a lot of sports where you have to race, and you need to make a good performance, whether it is with time or points, but there are also many sports where you battle, like 1 versus 1 or n versus n. ShootMania represents that point. So this game completes the picture, TrackMania is the skill of the performance, and ShootMania is the skill of battle.
At the Electronic Games World Cup here we’ve already witnessed a professional match between two teams. How is this game involved in the e-sports and other competitions?
ShootMania is not only about world competitions, like the Electronic Games World Cup here, in one month the IPL at Las Vegas, it’s more like everybody’s having fun to compete, at low level, high level, with friends; this is what we intended to do. A multiplayer is asked to think: Hey, it’s a sport!
So ShootMania is accessible to a large group, basically any player can play it.
Oh yeah, any players should be able to practice it and enjoy it, at any level. There will be cups at low level, in your region, maybe in Australia with people of the same level, and there’s an automatic cup system so everybody can play together, simply to have fun competitions.
You showed us in the conference a panel where you could scroll and select the Mania games you want to play, and you call it Maniaplanet. Can you explain to us a bit more about what Maniaplanet is?
Say we play a performance game like TrackMania and a battle game like ShootMania; if they are separated, it is less efficient. When we combine them it makes Maniaplanet. So Maniaplanet is kind of a multiplayer operating system. You go into it; you’ll have creation modes, dedicated servers, competition tools that are really usable for all the genres and creations of the players. So Maniaplanet is really for the community; by having one single program it’s much more efficient.
I’m excited to try this game out. When will ShootMania be available for the players?
We have announced today that ShootMania will be available on the 23rd of January 2013, so it will be the real start of Maniaplanet and some of its principal titles.
Let’s not forget, the fun does not stop at ShootMania! Shortly after the presentation of ShootMania, Castelnérac followed up with the announcement of his newest project: TrackMania Valley. This beautiful looking game is Nadeo’s next racing iteration. Races will take place in varying environments ranging from dense forests to cityscapes where players will need to search in depth for shortcuts and game elements.
Finally, Nadeo proudly announced that it would be going back to its roots with TrackMania Stadium 2, where players will race in classic formula 1 cars. Its predecessor Stadium will be integrated into the ManiaPlanet system, enjoying the benefits of its many services as well as having an improved graphics engine. Both games are poised for a TBA 2013 release.