Honestly, we were pretty amazed by the reception Lawn Mowing Simulator gathered up at its first announcement. In fact, out of all the sims that we’ve seen make a move to Xbox, this is the one that managed to build its own hype. So when we were given the opportunity to have a little chat with Skyhook Games, in hope of finding out more about the lawn mowing hype, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
Hi, please could you introduce yourself. What has been your role in the development of Lawn Mowing Simulator?
Hi, I’m Rick Payne and I’m the Lead Designer on Lawn Mowing Simulator.
So, sell it to us… why should gamers be excited to go grass cutting?
We feel that Lawn Mowing Simulator is a great addition to the growing sim game space. It’s a very chill and almost zen like gameplay, and we’ve gone to great lengths to recreate the lawn professionals career while also focusing on making the game accessible and fun to play for people who know very little about this world.
How and when did the original idea for Lawn Mowing Simulator come about? Have things changed much since those early ideas?
The idea of a game about lawn mowing first came from the mind of David Harper, Skyhook Games MD, when he was in a local park in the UK watching the grounds team whizz up and down on a ride on. He thought the balance of time management and doing a good job were a perfect fit for a game.
At first though it wasn’t fully decided if this would be a sim game or a more arcade like experience. But as we dived into the world of ride-on mowers and grounds care, we soon realised that this was destined to be a simulation game.
Initial thoughts would point to this being a bit of a niche title, but the enthusiasm we’ve seen since the initial announcement has proven otherwise. How do you think Lawn Mowing Simulator will cater for the casual gamer as well as those more ingrained in the simulator way of life?
We are well aware of this being niche and at first glance a bit of an odd choice for a videogame. But once you play the game, and get out there in the beautiful locations on your mower, it all makes sense. It’s relaxing, and taps into that trait of wanting to do a good job.
We purposefully have made the game to cater for both players that are new to sim games and die hard fans. There are no time limits on completing a contract, so new players or players that just want to relax can take all the time they want. But there is a recommended time for a contract, so the sim veteran can really go for it if they want and try to earn extra money for finishing quickly.
We understand that Lawn Mowing Simulator is set in Great Britain – how much of the isles will we get to see? Will there also be the chance to pack our equipment up and travel the world in hope to prove our grass cutting skills globally?
The game is set in a fictional UK town and the countryside that surrounds it. As a mainly UK based team, it made perfect sense to us to set the game here as we knew we could best capture the beauty of the UK.
We are very open to adding more locations to the game as it grows and develops though, with somewhere in the US being the prime candidate.
Could you talk us through your cutting edge mower roster? How many different types of machines will be available in game?
We have a total of 12 mowers in the game currently and are looking to add more after release. We are really grateful to our partners at SCAG, STIGA and TORO for adding their ride-on mowers to the game. We have numerous types of mowers and decks in the game: Tractors, Out Fronts and Zero Turns. Which in turn can have mulcher, side or rear discharge decks, collectors and even some stripe roller attachments.
And how do those mowers differ from one another?
Each of the different type of mower behaves and handles very differently, some have front wheel steering, articulated steering, rear wheel steering and even zero turn. This means that each one has its own unique feel as you play the game, with some being larger and more powerful, while others smaller and more nimble.
How have you gone about ensuring all equipment is detailed correctly? Have real world manufacturers been involved at any time?
Our real world partners have been incredible with their support throughout development. They would send our artists detailed CAD models of their mowers for us to build from to ensure everything was as accurate as possible.
They also provided us with field days, where we could drive the mowers in real life and record audio to use in game.
And how in-depth can players get? Is there the opportunity to decide on the length of the cut and such like?
Cut height is a major factor in the game, with each contract the player accepts, asking for their grass cut in a certain range. So players have to make sure they set their cut height correctly before cutting.
Managing how much grass a player cuts is also a major factor, with a vehicle’s motor load coming into play. Players can’t just cut at full speed all the time for example. If a location has exceptionally long grass they may have to drive slowly while cutting to avoid overloading, or complete numerous cut passes at different heights until they get down to the required height.
In terms of game modes, you promise a career, free mode and challenge modes. How unique are these from one another?
Career is our main mode where the player starts their own company and starts to complete contracts and build its reputation. As they grow their company more prestigious locations will become available, as well as the chance to hire employees or upgrade their HQ to hold more vehicles.
Free Mow is the game with no pressure at all. You can play any location you have unlocked with any vehicle. Set if you want unlimited fuel, no damage etc.
But Challenge mode is where we turn the pressure up a notch. This mode gives the player a very specific location and mower to use, and either a tight time limit or very limited fuel reserves.
And could you chat us through how the career structure works? Will we have set objective types, missions and the like?
The Career mode is very open to allow the player to build their company and career how they want to. As they complete contracts, the company’s reputation and finances grow, allowing for new contracts to be attempted or different mowers to be purchased.
But how the player runs the company is up to them, they can take out bank loans if they want, hire employees to earn more money per day, or they can just stick to doing everything themselves.
The career has a calendar that runs throughout the main cutting season, and like the real world, contracts will pop up to be completed every few weeks when the grass needs cutting. So players can pick and choose which contracts they want to attempt as they go. But there is no limit on how long the player can play, as they complete one year, the game will transition into the next for them to continue.
What will be present at launch for lawn mowing enthusiasts looking to prove their worth to others around the world? Is this solely a single player affair or are multiplayer and cooperative opportunities on the cards?
At launch the game is solely focused on single player, but we would never rule out the possibility of co-op or multiplayer sometime in the future.
Aside from the mowing action, what is there to keep players busy?
Before the player can even start to mow they need to first complete a ground check. This is where the player has to first survey the location and pick up any objects like dog toys or stones from the cutting area to avoid damaging the vehicle.
We’ve also hidden a number of valuables around the locations that the player can find and hand in to receive a reward, so players should really explore the locations away from the grass as well.
There seems to be some kind of Xbox / PC exclusivity here, have you always planned a launch on just Xbox and PC? Are there plans to take your mowers to other formats too?
From the beginning we always saw Xbox as a home for simulator titles due to Flight Sim, Train Sim and others being prevalent on the platform. As for further platforms, we don’t have anything concrete to share or announce at this moment in time – ultimately this launch is just the beginning for us, and we hope to support the title for years to come.
Do you have plans to expand things with future DLC? If so, what would be on the cards?
Absolutely. We will have news soon about our post release road map. More mowers, more locations, and some other cool new features I can’t mention.
What is there in terms of Xbox achievements and Gamerscore? Will there be some fun cheevos to grab or are they mostly centred on progression through the game?
There will be the full complement of achievements in the game. Some will be based on progression through career and challenge modes, but some will be a little bit more cryptic to figure out.
And finally, if you had to pick just one of the pieces of equipment in Lawn Mowing Simulator to cut your own lawn, what would you use? 😉
For me it would have to be one of the Zero Turn mowers. They are so much fun to drive!
Huge thanks go out to Rick for giving us some of his time during the Lawn Mowing Simulator launch period. You’ll find the game downloadable and playable right this second on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC. The Xbox Store will sort you out.
And if you want to know how it all plays out, our full review of Lawn Mowing Simulator on Xbox Series X|S is available for your perusal.