Hey all – I’m Jemima, I’m a writer here at Roll7, and I’ve been asked to share some details about the process of creating our latest OlliOlli World expansion – Finding the Flowzone. So, here’s a brief lowdown on how we developed the setting and characters – and how the city of Radlantis went from an underwater metropolis to a skateboarding paradise in the skies!
Let’s begin at the beginning; when we started working on the second OlliOlli World expansion, the first thing we knew was that it was going to be set underwater. You may notice – based on the prevalence of clouds on the logo, and the flying ship in the cover art – that this did not end up happening! But when we started out, we were working on the concept of an underwater adventure.
The idea of a deep-ocean skate paradise instantly made us think of Atlantis, the mythical city supposedly lost beneath the waves in ancient times. So, in between researching currents, tides, and various sea creatures (we developed a particular fondness for Nudibranchs, also known as Sea Slugs), we did a deep-dive into the lore of Atlantis. I ended up reading a bunch of Plato as a result, since he was the first person to write about the myth of Atlantis – I have to say, when I started writing for an all-ages skating game, I wasn’t anticipating the need to study Ancient Greek philosophy! I’m not complaining, as it was pretty interesting stuff (and possibly the first time that my history degree has ever actually come in handy in my daily life). Anyhow, the Ancient Greek influence is part of what drew us to the idea of a skating competition – the idea was that this adventure would end with a kind of skate Olympics held deep underwater by the people of Radlantis.
With this in mind, we created the Radlantis Three – the skate crew who join the player in the search for Radlantis. Lizz (Lead Narrative Designer, Writer, probably the coolest person ever) worked on Squid and Christopher Licht, and I worked on creating Professor Planks. We liked the idea of a rag-tag team who don’t necessarily always get along but are bound together by a common goal. They’re all explorers in a way, but they bring different things to the table – Squid is a seasoned sea captain, Licht is an astrologer and a mystic, and Planks is doing research for her university… or maybe just avoiding her students! We wanted this new trio to feel different to the companions you have in the base game, so they have a slightly more argumentative energy to them. It’s still very lighthearted and fun, but it’s a bit of a change from the ‘old friends’ dynamic of the original crew.
So, there we were, merrily researching away and planning to create an underwater cityscape, filled with cheery sea creatures and cool new skateboarding buddies – and then, it all changed…
Partway through development, we decided that we needed to change direction, and move the setting to a city in the clouds. Why? Well, it turns out that from a gameplay perspective, skating underwater just isn’t as fun as skating through the sky, propelled by the mighty Windzones toward bigger air, cooler tricks, and higher scores. Also, it worked a lot better from an art style and a map space perspective to take things up into the atmosphere. So, a change of direction was called for – but all was not lost! We loved the idea of a flying ship – the characters we’d been workshopping seemed even cooler up above the clouds. Putting Radlantis up above Radlandia rather than below the sea worked, and we could also keep the skate competition angle.
What we did need was a new Skate god to meet at the end of the expansion – somebody who reflected the new sky-based setting. And so Lizz created Gail Force – a god who controls the wind and skies above Radlandia. Gail Force is super fun, very vibrant and she definitely lives up to her name! She’s a force of nature. We also decided to include B.B. Hopper and some of the main-game Skate Godz in the expansion – with so many fun new characters to meet, it felt important to also include some familiar faces. While this is a separate story to the main plot of OlliOlli World, it’s nice for players to still feel the sense that they’re exploring a cohesive setting that ties into the world.
Once all that worldbuilding and character creation was out of the way, it was just a matter of writing up some suitably silly dialogue and putting it into the game. This actually took ages! We worked very hard on it, but it mostly involved staring at blank pages and cursing at the sky, so it’s not super interesting to read about. We also did a bunch of work with the art team to help bring the environments, characters, and animations to life, and once all that was done we sent it off to be translated so fans all around the world can enjoy the game. And now – many many months later – all of you have the chance to explore the Flowzone, find Radlantis, and maybe even win a trophy in a contest thrown by the Skate Godz themselves…
We hope you enjoy playing this expansion as much as we enjoyed writing it. Bon voyage, good luck, and happy skating!
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