In OlliOlli World, you're given the tools to be yourself

“We thought it would be cool if you can make you, whoever you are.”

OlliOlli World, it's been clear since we first laid eyes on Roll7's skateboard sequel, is going to be a bit different from its predecessors. Bigger and bolder, yes - as is the wont of video game sequels - but so much broader too, and with that a new level of inclusivity. In short, OlliOlli World is getting an in-depth character creator, and it looks pretty damn splendid too.

Before getting into any details, though, it's worth remembering why character creators matter. "I did an interview recently," says creative director John Ribbins, "and the person who's doing the interview was so hyped and they were like, one of the characters actually looks like me! There's just no skateboarding games where the characters look like me! They were so excited about it."

A character editor is something that Roll7 has toyed with before - as far back as 2011 a rudimentary one was cobbled together for the very first OlliOlli before finding its way onto the cutting room floor - but the switch to 3D for OlliOlli World made it that much more palatable. There are other reasons, too, why it's something of a core part of this new OlliOlli's make-up.

"One of the key pillars of OlliOlli World is being welcoming," says Ribbins. "We want the game to feel welcoming to a larger number of players - and the reality is, in the previous two games you just played a white dude with no face whatsoever. We thought it would be cool if you can make you, whoever you are."

"Since we made the first OlliOlli, skateboarding has become massively more diverse," says Ribbins. You only have to look at the success of 13-year-old Sky Brown in the Olympics earlier this month to see how the profile of the sport has shifted since its moodier, edgier 90s mode.

OlliOlli World is a bit of a looker.

"So there's that side of it," says Ribbins. "But I also think skateboarding has become way more friendly, incorporating LGBTQ communities as well - Vans did a recent collaboration with Cher Strauberry, who's a trans woman, and there's Leo Baker who's non binary, they started a company called Glue and most of the riders on that are LGBTQ in some flavour. And that's much more of a part of skateboarding now.

"In OlliOlli World you can dress however the heck you want, and be whatever the heck you want. We wanted to be able to be like, what if you watch that clip of Nora Vasconcellos or Jennifer Charlene skating in a bowl in a full-on ball gown? You can do that in OlliOlli World, because that's kind of rad too."

Items are cosmetic only, with no impact on in-game attributes - even animations and stances you can pick yourself slot neatly in, so the purity of the score attack that's at the heart of a game like OlliOlli remains intact.

There's somewhere just over 1000 different items in OlliOlli World - all from fictional brands, with some of them tying into the different biomes on offer in OlliOlli World - all of which can be layered up. I'm not going to do the maths to figure out the number of permutations on offer, but safe to say it'll be a lot, and you'll be encouraged to show off your creations too. Your avatar will be your representative on those all-important leaderboards, as well as being seeded in other player's worlds through other means - your friend's avatars can be pulled in if you're online, subsequently populating loading screens with their loadouts of all they've unlocked and elected to wear.

With items acquired through in-game challenges (and not, you'll be pleased to learn, via microtransactions) it promises a neat new thread through Roll7's vibrant new world beyond the quest for high scores or simple conquest of any given area. Most importantly, though, it allows you to be you, whoever you might be - and that seems like something that's more than worth the effort.

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About the author

Martin Robinson

Martin Robinson

Deputy Editor

Martin is Eurogamer's features and reviews editor. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.


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