Pumped BMX Pro is gearing up to release on Xbox One, with the game debuting in Xbox Game Pass alongside the usual standard launch. After finding the Pumped BMX series, and Pumped BMX+ in particular, hugely entertaining games, our excitement meters are high for this latest edition. Seems like the perfect time to sit down with the creator of the Pumped series of games, Adam Hunt, to quiz him about not just Pumped BMX Pro, but the series in general. He was only too happy to oblige!
Hi, please could you introduce yourself? What has been your role with Pumped BMX Pro?
Hi! I’m Adam Hunt, I’m the developer of the Pumped BMX series of games, of which Pumped BMX Pro is the 5th title!
So, sell it to us… why should gamers spend time with Pumped BMX Pro?
Wow, straight in there with the hard questions! Well. Personally, and admittedly I’m pretty biased, I think it’s fun. And you’ll have fun playing it. How’s that for a hard sell?!
Pumped BMX Pro starts with a great blend of relaxing, almost rhythm like flow combined with with cool BMX tricks, which slowly ramps up in difficulty until you’re doing huge combos over huge jumps in very technical levels. It’s easy to pick up and play, but there’s a lot to master!
What are the biggest changes you’ve made in Pumped BMX Pro when compared to its’ predecessors?
The two biggest changes are the addition of loads of real life Pro BMXers and a full bike customisation system, not to mention all the awesome new levels and challenges and fancy new graphics!
It’s our understanding Pumped BMX Pro has an improved physics engine over those that have come before it. How has this changed the limitations within the game and how much of a difference has it made to development this time around?
Every game I try to improve the physics over the game before it. So yeah, hopefully the physics in general have improved! For this release we (myself and Curve) updated the game to use the latest tech, which required a little readjustment of some of the level designs but overall has meant that performance and stability is way better.
With Pumped BMX featuring a host of predesigned bikes and as many as 15 riders, are there any particular differences to note when choosing a bike and rider, or are the changes purely cosmetic with each one?
For those who played Pumped BMX+ when it released on Xbox One, many will remember the humorous effects of stacking your bike mid-trick as your rider ragdolled into whatever obstacle was close by. Is that same tongue-in-cheek/slapstick humour present here, or are we alone in finding humour in our riders pain?
Haha, yeah that’s definitely still there. It’s one of the things that kept me smiling through some of the tougher bits of development!
With 60 levels to play through this time around, there is a fair bit of content to get stuck into, especially given each level also comes with a number of challenges attached. Is there a difficulty curve to master along the way or is what you see from the start pretty much what you get?
There’s definitely a difficulty curve! The game starts off nice and easy to allow the player to get used to the controls and the ‘pumping’ mechanic, but pretty quickly you’ll start hitting some challenges that will make you work for them. By the end you’ll be doing stuff you couldn’t even have imagined at the start of the game!
On a similar note, how and why did you decide on the number of levels included? Did many level offerings get binned in the development process?
It’s basically the upper limit of what I can do by myself – there are only so many hours in a day! I didn’t scrap too many levels in the end for this, but there’s a lot of iteration and re-mixing – moving bits of the level around. Also I revisited early level designs a lot to add / change things based on all the subsequent levels I made.
The Pumped BMX series has proved a massive hit on the mobile platform, so what challenges have you faced in bringing the series to a more ‘serious’ gaming platform on Xbox One?
To be honest not too many. As a solo dev I’ve had to get quite good at delegating, so I’m only really solely responsible for the iOS side of things. I’ve got publisher help for Android, and I get a lot of publisher help from Curve for the console stuff. I’ve still got a lot of input, but they deal with all of the nitty-gritty so I can get on with the job of making games.
We were big fans of the last title and spent many hours trying to shave a few seconds off the scores on certain challenges. Are there any plans to take that competitive edge to the game any further in the future with the likes of weekly challenges perhaps? Or a ghost mode in which we can follow the ghost of other riders or leaderboard toppers?
Possibly! There’s loads of scope for further iteration, but I’m not talking about anything yet…
A big part of the fun in the previous games was trying to learn all of the tricks off by heart. Are we seeing anything new in terms of achievable tricks, and if so, what is the hardest trick to pull off?
There’s a whole 8 new tricks, so there’s some pretty wild new trick combos to pull off! ‘Body varials’ are probably my favourite.
…and on that, the series has always felt very outrageous and fun – rather than an intentionally serious and hardcore platform title. The tricks on the other hand, albeit courageous, feel very real. Has this been an intentional design choice or have you toyed with the thought of introducing absolutely wacky tricks too?
Yeah it’s always been a fine line between keeping some authenticity in there and going full arcade craziness. There’s definitely a few more slightly out there tricks included this time around, but I’ve tried to offset them with more stylish, toned down tricks too. The hope is that you can do a cool relaxed stylish run if you want, or something more wild and video game-y, and the game lets you choose that, it doesn’t dictate it to you.
With the bike customisation making a stronger presence this time around, are there any plans to develop that further? Maybe with a track editor to allow us to customise the perfect run to go with our perfect bike?
I’ve been playing with the idea of a track editor for years! It’s a great idea in theory, but it’s just *so* fiddly to get a nicely flowing level that I think it would just frustrate people. I’ve not written it off yet though. It’s just a matter of time really – I can only do so much!
And finally, where does the Pumped BMX series go from here? Any plans for future games?
I’m working on something new at the moment, but that’s all I’m saying right now, so keep your eyes peeled for more in the future
Massive thanks go out to Adam for taking time out of what is no doubt a hugely busy, massively exciting time for him. If you are drawn in by what he has to say – and c’mon, you can’t deny his enthusiasm for bikes and his commitment to the Pumped series – then you should be checking out Pumped BMX Pro on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
We’ll have a full review for you soon too.