Six competitors looked on as BMX riders caught insane air on a wicked-thin half-pipe enclosed behind a chain-link fence. The constant thump of tires hitting the ramp after riders had whipped their bikes in the air with edge-of-your-seat, borderline insane flairs, tail whips, and 720s was spectacular. The announcer called it the Cage of Doom, and luckily, the announcer was mistaken.
This event wasn’t an extreme sports exhibition, but the thousands of attendees who crowded around the fence would have made you think otherwise as they cheered and clapped when the pros landed a trick. Onlookers stood in silence for that raised hand that meant “I’m alright” when a trick ended up with a rider eating plywood.
If the cheering crowds, lights and insanity of these moments are the end, then let’s take a look back to the beginning, which this article is meant to chronicle: The beginning of the second phase of the Trials Track Jam.
It was April 4, 2014, and I had just finished setup of the Trials Track Jam machines when my phone rang; it was XxGATORMANIAxX, informing me that he had arrived at our hotel. This was the moment when all everything became real. We were going to have six community members go in-depth and hands-on with a game that hadn’t even been released yet! These guys were going to kick the tires on the Trials Fusion track editor and drive it like they stole it.
At 7:30 the next morning, I entered the conference room that would be called home for the next six days. The finalists were scheduled to arrive in a little over an hour. Four of them showed up early. Introductions were made and a special video – filmed at RedLynx headquarters in Helsinki – was played announcing the Super Special Secret Theme. When Creative Director Antti Ilvessuo (ANBA) said big air FMX with robot dinosaur cats working on nuclear reactors and I saw look of bewilderment on everyone’s faces, I knew that Antti had won. I don’t know quite exactly what he had won, but I knew that he had.
Each of the finalists dove straight into single-player tracks for the next few hours. I was very excited to see their reactions, but I was also a bit disappointed that a Finnish pilot strike was keeping Shogun from joining us. These were hard-core Trials fans playing Trials Fusion for the first time!
I wouldn’t say that it was awkward being in a room bathed in silence as five of our finalists donned their ASTRO A30s and concentrated on the task at hand, but, well, it all felt a bit eerie until XxGATORMANIAxX showed Sabre and I the flight simulation he had spent all of 15 minutes creating. It. Was. Rad.
Finally Shogun arrived and I was getting excited. Shogun actually builds tracks in Trials, and they’re good. Shogun’s tracks were nothing like the strange experiments I had used the track editor for. Having Shogun and, by way of email, mutetus, explaining all the new features in the track editor was simply amazing.
With Lukeyy19 and WraaTh pouring over ideas and Loot Monkey and DragonMICKY collaborating on a theme and some animations for their track, something dawned on me: The Trials brand has the most awesome community members of any game. From AAA to indie, I wouldn’t trade this community for anything else!
Then we introduced our finalists to the fans on our live stream. I’m going to give an extra shout-out to DragonMICKY. As French is his primary language, this meant that there was a bit of a barrier, but he pulled through without ever getting annoyed that everyone else was speaking in English. He rolled with the punches and kept on keeping on.
Then vladiiiiiiii arrived. Due to scheduling issues, vladiiiiiiii was unable to join us on April 5 for the start of Trials Track Jam, so he arrived with just two days of remaining build time. The resolution he displayed to create a great track never wavered, and the other finalists were beside him the whole time, offering help whenever he needed it. I’ll say it again, this community is awesome!
Then it happened. ANBA arrived. Little plastic googly eyes were plastered onto everything, including my head, as the tornado that is the RedLynx Creative Director started “helping.” Shogun and I were 100% serious when we kept saying ANBA is on the way, make sure you save…multiple times. ANBA brought years of level design experience with him. He sat down with every finalist, played their track and offered his feedback. The finalists blazed through the final few hours while Shogun and I started working on videos for the voting portal.
The next time the finalists got to see their tracks was after the doors of PAX East had opened. Tens of thousands of PAX East attendees were crowding into the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, many drawn to the Ubisoft booth because of our aforementioned Cage of Doom, where we had all six of our Trials Track Jam finalists’ tracks set up on the dedicated game machines.
After the insanity that is PAX East had ended, and with the launch of Trials Fusion on multiple platforms, we came to the end of the Trials Track Jam voting phase. There could only be a single champion, but all of our finalists were winners. You, the Trials community, voted DragonMICKY as your well-deserved Trials Track Jam champion.
We look forward to hosting more Trials Track Jams and other fun competitions in the future. See you on the leaderboards!