As we take our seats on a bench made out of snowboards, the SSX rep directs our attention to the screen. In place of a standard 2D menu interface, a virtual representation of the globe slowly spins to the right.
The EA rep begins by explaining the team’s drive to create a SSX game that takes the series to a totally new level, outdoing itself in every way with features that push its over the top appeal to higher levels than ever before.
Turning back to the globe, the rep tells us how the team mapped out a near exact replication of the earth using topography data collected from NASA satellites. Using this data, players can explore every major mountain range on Earth. He then zooms in on inactive volcano Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Searching over the mountain range, he selects one of many drop points to begin his descent.
Flying in by helicopter along with two other snowboarders, he jumps off the side and onto the mountain. Speeding down the slope at breakneck speed, he slides to the left to enter one of the dormant volcano’s many tunnel systems, then pops off a ramp, spins 720, and slams down in front of the other riders.
There are a countless number of paths. You can race on and through everything you see. No artificial boundaries or fences keep you on a forced line, opening up an unlimited number of possible tracks. He uses this to his advantage, popping off ramps and steering into areas with the most potential for speed and hazard.
Moving to a drop point in the Himalayas, we were then shown SSX’s trick system. A shockwave rolls down the mountain as the rep smashes into the snow after pulling off a huge grab, filling up a meter below that unlocks an explosive power trick. A heart-pumping rhythm of jump, trick, slam, shockwave follow as he races down the mountainside. Hopping onto a grind, the rep then tells us that players can grind on any sharp surface they see. If it’s got an edge, you can use it.
To end the demo, we’re introduced to what may possibly be SSX’s most intense new mode—Deadly Descents. It’s truly rider vs. mountain, a battle for survival. At first, small bursts of powder spray in the air as the rep pulls tricks and jumps down the mountain, squirrel suit equipped for long drops. The sprays of powder soon transform into billows of rolling snow, then creating a full-blown avalanche. You must reach the bottom of the summit before the avalanche can overtake you. In a frenzy of speed and evasion, the rep got caught with 700 meters left to go.
How far will you make it? Find out when SSX hits stores in January 2012. For more info, head over to EA.com/SSX.