After more than two years of work on RUGBY 18, early in development we decided to try and create gameplay specific to rugby so we could recreate the feeling of controlling a live rugby game The result is something we’re proud of. I would say the main challenge we faced was to bring gameplay that is new, while keeping it consistent between the numerous game phases of a rugby match. And, to bring an innovative gameplay experience. We focused a lot on the players’ first experiences within the game, so they would keep learning match after match. For RUGBY 18, we are working with official data and stats from all the different championships and teams from the last few years, and this allows us to recreate the full experience of a rugby match. For each individual player, we have, for example, their stamina, how well they kick, how powerful they are in a scrum; all the stats that define a rugby player. Of course, we also have real life data such as a rugby player’s size, their weight, body shape, and all of this is processed in the game to offer a depiction of rugby as close as possible to the actual sport. Aside from the gameplay, there have also been a few technical challenges, for example: the audience in the stadiums. In some stadiums, we display more than 25,000 people, including fans with their flags and banners; some of them also wear their team’s jersey. We also have to factor in their reactions during the match, whether they are angry, happy – it all depends on what is happening on the pitch; even doing the Mexican wave after a try! Then there are things that evolve as the game unfolds, like the wearing of the green, which is something you actually see during a real rugby match, and also what happens to the players themselves, they get dirtier during rucks, they sweat as they get more tired and so forth. When you are working on a sports simulation, you have to do motion capture for realistic animations. We went to Oxford, one of rugby’s historical locations in England, where we filmed different players for over a week. To ensure you feel the impact in a rugby simulation animations are really important, so you need to capture them with actual people, actual rugby players, who perform as if they were playing a real rugby game. It is really important to make sure everyone acts naturally, that everyone forgets they are on a motion capture set. Then, once we integrate the animations into the game, there are many elements left to tweak, like the camera’s positioning, the sounds, even details like the controller vibrations that will make the player feel like they are in control of an actual rugby game.