Riders Republic Preview: Steep Evolved… but not.

Riders Republic was today announced at Ubisoft Forward, a title from Steep’s Ubisoft Annecy that looks to take gameplay beyond the slopes and onto bikes and more.

“I’m going to phrase it that way,” Igor Manceau, Creative Director, told Stevivor when asked if Riders Republic could be considered as Steep Evolved. “Of course, we learned a lot from Steep from a community standpoint, we developed Steep and updated it for more than five years. So there are many things, of course, that we learned through that process and that are at the basis of Riders Republic.”

Manceau stressed that there’s a reason why this new title isn’t part of the Steep franchise, though.

“I do think that both games are really different in many aspects,” Manceau continued. “Riders Republic is about that republic of riders — it’s really a social experience and that is a core focus of the game, while Steep was social in some aspects, but that definitely was not the focus. It was serious and about mountaineering in a sense, and Riders Republic is all about fun.”

Riders Republic’s big social push means that 50 user-controlled players can feature on-screen, in the world at any one time on next-gen consoles, targeting 60 frames-per-second all the while. Specific player-versus-player events will bring those numbers down to two teams of six competing against one another, though. On current-gen devices, that player count drops to around 25 rather than 50, but Manceau was careful to point out that the title will support cross-play, seemingly cross-generation too.

“We’re still elaborating exactly on the details,” Manceau replied when asked if next-gen consoles could go to 120FPS and 1440p rather than 4K at 60FPS. “We want to [provide options], but we want also to support cross-play, and based on that approach we have to make some choices to be sure that everybody can play together.”

With all this multiplayer in mind, Manceau also confirmed there will be a single-player mode of sorts if you’d prefer to race around your world alone.

In addition to taking place in and out of snow-covered mountains, Riders Republic is also drastically different from what was experienced in Steep, with Manceau asserting that “Steep is named Steep because most of the playground is ramping while in Riders Republic, around 50% of the whole playground is actually flat.”

Moreover, while Steep’s wingsuit and snowboard will be found within Riders Republic, an assortment of bikes and a rocket suit – basically a wingsuit on steroids — will be at a player’s disposal as well.

With a map base in the USA, a total of seven regions – locales that Manceau called “macro National Parks” – will be on offer. Included in the mix will be “snowy, peaky mountains to really dirty terrains or really very interesting ground formations; canyons.” Those that want to stay on the slopes and snowboard can focus on just that sport, but Manceau pointed out that Ubisoft Annecy has really designed the title to “favour a multisport approach.”

Seamless switching between sports is possible, with Manceau using the example of using a road bike to get to a specific piece of content, then switching on-the-fly to a different style of bike to tackle rough terrain, then switching to a wingsuit to jump off a cliff.

“That’s experience we want to support, and I think it’s really fluid and seamless,” he said.

Expect more on Riders Republic soon. It heads to Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series S, PS4, PS5 and Stadia where available from 25 February 2021.

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.