Today, we have a very special guest. The "father" of TrackMania, founder of Nadeo studio, Florent "Hylis" de Castelnerac answered our questions.
- Hey! Welcome to the Team expert homepage. First of all, may we have a short introduction about yourself, your course and the studio you lead?
I began to work in the video game industry in 1997. Nadeo as a studio was founded in 2000 with people I met in IT school, and 16 years later the studio still evolves and new guys bring in new ideas about video games.
- You launched TrackMania Turbo a few months ago. This game has been pretty well received. Unfortunately a lot of people think that it has divided the community between arcade players and more eSport oriented players who stayed on ManiaPlanet. What do you think of this observation?
I think that all games split players if they decide to play here or there, whether it be our games or games made by other studios. To me, TrackMania Turbo brings another way to invite players to discover TrackMania, besides Forever and Maniaplanet.
For the eSport, there is so many more ways to discover it and to appreciate it. Take a look at the various tournaments on the ManiaCalendar! Should a new player, discovering TrackMania via Turbo, be on the same game as the players challenging in Stadium Team Championship 12? I think that there are more chances for them to watch what’s happening on TrackMania as they play one of the available TrackManias.
Furthermore, we have the same gameplay which makes the possibility to switch between games so much easier. That being said, the feeling of scatter is real and we think we have an excellent solution that we will unveil with the ManiaPlanet 4 Beta.
- TrackMania 2: Stadium won’t be at ESWC 2016. Instead Nadeo will host a ManiaPlanet World Cup. There will be a great loss of visibility of TrackMania in eSport, don’t you find that damageable for the game?
Everything has pros and cons, just like this fact does. I suppose the absence of TrackMania at this year's ESWC is just linked to the cons. So yes, I think it is a pity because I love the ESWC. I rarely hear of someone who has seen as many ESWC as I have. I was there for the first one in 2006.
It is damaging to believe that the key of the future of TrackMania is the visibility. In my opinion, TrackMania's benefits are bigger and we must rely on those. The ZeratoR cup is a great example where TrackMania is shining better than other games. It is our responsibility, us the players and media, to ensure that TrackMania is less compared to other games but highlighted for what it is.
On TrackMania, champions can easily incorporate the training with the rest of their life, spectators can understand, kids can watch, gameplays are stable. Some of them are playing the game for more than 10 years now.
- We have the ManiaGala at Gamers Assembly 2012 in mind which was a great success back then. Will this ManiaPlanet World Cup be on the same path?
The ManiaPlanet Cup is a modest answer to the loss of the ESWC. It is here to bring the best players together and to allow them to duke it out in the most efficient framework we can do. The ManiaGala was really nice and I meet people who wish something like this would return all the time. I think it is something we can do later, in a more “festival” spirit, at a moment when ManiaPlanet will have more players and content creators.
What is TrackMania’s future?
From 2003 to 2006, TrackMania has seen a lot of avant-garde innovation. Whether around players' creations or eSport. For eSport, championships began even before the game was released. In the demo there was the spectator mode, regional ladder, a free game, dedicated servers and relay (TV) servers, the opportunity to add the sponsors into the track signs and many more things.
Since then, it is more difficult for us to identify the strong and determinant elements that Nadeo could bring. There are plenty of reasons for that. Some could have been avoided, some others could not. Some of them could also displease a lot of the players if we had been more radical in the changes.
The studio had known a change which allows it to ask those critical questions again, assuming our modern ambition like we had back in time. In my opinion this is how we will get the future of TrackMania because TrackMania means, for me, the most modern racing game in creation and competition.
- Thanks for answering our questions, we let you have the final word.
With the end of Dignitas, I have seen some players saying thank you for the great moments they had, I think it was really kind of them. Meanwhile, Nadeo is often pointed, in contrary, for a lot of misadventures. I think it is a biased view and it is also thanks to our efforts that a lot of great things happened and are still happening.
Since our support of the ZeratoR cup, and with the creation of the ManiaPlanet World Cup which is made to answer the absence of the ESWC and the fact that we are following the community activities concerning the game and are answering these kind of interviews, this is what we do to support competition.
There is a huge competition in multiplayer games in every genre, some of them know some cycles (like StarCraft or Counter-Strike) and we intend to keep going into the eSports direction. Those who will follow us in the adventure, without getting stuck in the past, will probably be those who will get the best from it.
We are starting with a lot of experience, and it would be bad if we are getting hampered by it. Together we must take the challenge to succeed. I listed advantages of TrackMania. It is a game with a great history and I think it's time to stop comparing with other games and whether they are better or worse in some criteria, and start being proud of our own game and community.
Because if there is a game players can be proud of, it’s TrackMania, because TrackMania exists only with the contribution of the players. Whatever I say, thanks a lot to them for all their energy that have inspired ManiaPlanet and what we want to do next.