Hello. I’m John. I’m the game designer at Roll7! We started in 2008, when I teamed up with two entrepreneurs Simon and Tom. The company’s initial mission was to try and combine Simon and Tom’s passion for training disengaged youth in video game design, with my love of making games.
The dream from day one was to make our own games, but as a business it seemed impossible to make it work, so for the next four years we worked for various clients, making everything from websites, to apps, to games controlled by your brain.
In the meantime I spent countless hours in the evenings making the games we really wanted to make, while Simon and Tom looked for viable ways to transition from an agency to an actual game developer.
By early 2012 we’d scraped enough cash together to take some time off from client work and we set about making a game for iOS called Gets to the Exit.
We got some nice reviews (an 8/10 in Edge), but not everyone liked it (Slide to Play: “We hope you have insurance for your iPhone, because Gets to the Exit may cause it to accidentally get ‘dropped’. Against a wall. Repeatedly”).
While I was at Develop conference showing off Gets to the Exit I met James Marsden from FuturLab. I had this super early build of a skateboarding game called OlliOlli that I’d mocked up in Multi Media Fusion and had running on my iPhone. He gave it a go and suggested I show it to Shahid Ahmad at SCEE.
Fast forward a few weeks and we’re sitting in the SCEE staff café in Soho, with sweaty palms and no idea what to expect. While we can’t discuss the content of the meeting as it’s under NDA, we can say that they have teleporters instead of lifts, everyone wears clothes woven from pure awesome and they loved OlliOlli.
Shahid and his team have been behind us all the way and it’s been a total departure from client work. In terms of OlliOlli, SCEE has given us a really wide space to be creative with what we’re doing. You hear horror stories about big companies, but I think they’ve got it down. There’s a consensus that we all want to make the best game possible.
I don’t want to talk too much about the actual details of the game, other than to say that it leans closer to skater than infinite runner and that there is a lot more emphasis on tricks, combos and score than there is on distance!
You can check out a VERY EARLY video of the first playable build here and see progress on our Facebook page. We’re working on our E3 build at the moment so you will see some serious progress over the next few weeks!