|Trials Bike Basic||Web: Java||2003|
|Trials Bike Pro||Java||2003|
|Trials Construction Yard||Java||2004|
|Trials Mountain Heights||Java||2005|
|Trials Dynamite Tumble||Flash||2008|
|Trials 2: Second Edition||PC||2008|
|Trials HD - Big Pack||XBLA||December 23rd, 2009|
|Trials Legends||PC||November XX, 2010|
|Trials HD - Big Thrills||XBLA||December 1st, 2010|
|Trials Evolution||XBLA||April 18, 2012|
|Trials Evolution - Origin of Pain||XBLA||September 2012|
|Trials Evolution - Gold Edition||PC||2013|
The legend that would become Trials began ten years ago, as the answer to a simple question: "We have a great 2D physics engine, so what's the right game idea to use with it?"
The answer was Trials. The key game idea, even back then, was not just a motorbike riding over obstacles, but the unique way in which the player controls the rider to guide the bike through acceleration, braking, and leaning. That simple game mechanic - easy to learn, but difficult to master - would become integral to the appeal of the original games, and after many years of tweaking and polishing to perfection, is still a crucial component to Trials' lasting appeal.
One common comparison the game receives is to Excitebike on the Nintendo Entertainment System, but in fact, many games influenced the evolution of the Trials series, as lead designer Antti Ilvessuo told Gamespy in 2009:
"When it comes to other media and games that might have had an influence on it, there are literally hundreds of different games on many different platforms that have inspired our team members in different ways."
Furthermore, the game clearly draws inspiration from the real world sport of 'Trials' or 'Motorcycle Trials', in which riders ride specialized, lightweight bikes, surmounting various obstacles and performing daring, acrobatic feats without 'faulting' or touching a foot to the ground - much as you experience in the game.
The earliest Trials games were released as freely playable online games, beginning in 2000 and continuing into 2003 with the popular and innovative Trials Bike Basic and Pro versions, which were among some of the earliest and most popular free games of selected Internet Operators in the early years of the 21st century.
An interesting early sign of the potential of Trials came in 2003, when one of the biggest Internet operators in Finland contacted us, saying that they might need to rethink what to do with our Trials game that they were hosting on their game portal.
It turned out that people from all around world were pouring in by the millions, just to play this addictive game, overloading their servers and jamming their connectivity - even though that version was entirely in the Finnish language! Since they were primarily serving the Finnish market, that was something they didn't expect.
Altogether we have estimated from different sources, that there were 20-30 million unique players playing these early versions of Trials. Considering the online games market of 2000-2005, those are exceptionally robust numbers.
So what happened to these early games, these vintage Trials experiences? While many versions can be still found online, we have taken the best experiences of those early days and packaged them into one polished, downloadable PC game and released it for free, which we call Trials Legends, as a way to thank all our fans old and new, with a piece of living history.
This is that game.
Between the years 2003 and 2007, as a multiplatform publisher and developer, RedLynx was focused on mobile and handheld game development, and Trials development took a back seat for a time. At the time, we were focused on developing major handheld properties for other publishers. But when 2007 rolled around, we felt the world was ready for more Trials, and this time, the PC platform with Internet distribution was chosen as the way to go.
The long-awaited sequel - named Trials 2, to distinguish at as a clear sequel from the earlier sequence of Web games - opened a whole new dimension up for Trials fans.
But as successful as Trials 2 was, we knew we could do more. That's why a few months later we released Trials 2: Second Edition, better known as Trials 2 SE to its fans. The first bona fide hit in the Trials series, Trials 2 SE raised the bar for competitive motorcycle games everywhere.
Trials 2 SE introduced automated game updates, achievements, and the beloved quick restart feature. It also added team play, ghost racing, in-game chat, a global player ranking list and all-time and weekly scores filter-able by team and country. With its global all time score list and online profiles, now you could compare your times to those of your friends from across the street or around the world. It also introduced new camera angles, improved sounds and physics, and -- for the first time in Trials history -- the ability to play with a gamepad instead of just a keyboard.
Controversially, limited versions of Trials 2 SE was made available on BitTorrent streams, but we were confident that the appeal of the game's community features would draw in more players than it deterred.
"All our community features, track high scores, replays, ghost racing, global ranking, and downloadable extra tracks are handled by our game server," lead programmer Sebastian Aaltonen explained, in an interview from 2008. "If you do not have a legal license serial key the server doesn't allow the game to log on... You can pirate the game as much as you want, but if you want to be part of the community you have to buy the game."
Moving from strength to strength, we soon brought Trials 2 SE to Steam's digital distribution network, cementing RedLynx's growing reputation as an up and coming player in the world of high-quality, downloadable digital games. Along with steady sales, solid reviews, the game developed a fanatical base of players, who have in total played the game more than nine million times since its release - and are still playing today.
That soon led to another door opening...
"It's wonderfully designed, justifies the price, and may end up being the best thing on Xbox Live Arcade all year."
- Eurogamer, 9/10
When it came to create Trials HD, we started over almost from scratch. Only the basic game ideas and playability was carried over from Trials 2. The 2D bike collision engine of Trials 2 was replaced with a proper 3D physics engine. Tuning the bike alone took six months. The bike itself required hundreds of iterations, with hundreds of parts and thousands of parameters, until we finally reached a polished state that just felt right.
All this took much longer and required a bigger team than the Trials 2 games, but we were able to focus on one clear platform and take full advantage of the Xbox's capabilities and polish the game specifically for that platform. All told, a team of ten people worked hard for twelve months to create the product we all know and love today.
Trials HD hit the Xbox LIVE Arcade on August 20, 2009, and was immediately embraced by fans. A month later, we were happy to report it had surpassed 300,000 sales. Within little more than a year, it achieved the remarkable milestone of one million sold.
"Anyone that's been looking for a modern day Excitebike need look no further. Trials HD is packed with arcade thrills and inventive tests of skill."
- IGN, 8.3/10
Critics also embraced the game, and it has maintained a Metacritic score of 86 since its release, and an even higher 92 rating from independent gamers. Fans in the Xbox LIVE community also voted it the Best Downloadable Game. The industry responded too, heaping awards on Trials HD, including Best Finnish Game, Best Nordic Game, and a nomination for Best Downloadable Game by the Xbox LIVE Arcade community.
Regarding this success, RedLynx CEO Tero Virtala said, "To put it mildly, we are thrilled! We knew the game was going to be good, and we did expect a good response too. But, to be honest, none of us really dared to expect this sort of boom.”
"Both as developers and gamers, we feel at the same time humble in front of this sort of praise – and on the hand really proud 'cause it has been systematic hard work that has resulted in Trials HD."
The first DLC, released in December 2009, Big Pack, was also a hit. For the second DLC, Big Thrills, we wanted to showcase some of the amazing work the community has done with the level editor. We put our heads together with our partners at Microsoft and came up with the Big Thrills Track Creator Challenge. Along with the usual great, RedLynx created tracks, users were invited to submit their own creations to this special contest, with the top ten tracks being selected for inclusion in the add-on.
Big Thrills will be released on December 1, 2010.
In mid-2011, we announced Trials Evolution during E3. The new game promised all new outdoor environments, curved driving lines, unlimited track sharing, and for the first time ever in the Trials series, multiplayer gaming, whether online or side-by-side. That first E3 teaser hinted at a whole new world for Trials, and the public responded, clamoring for more information and bombarding us with questions and requests.
Between the game's announcement and release, Trials Evolution was featured in a number of magazine and online previews, featured at several special press events, and was showcased at a number of videogame conferences and trade shows. Along the way, there were changes for RedLynx too, as the studio was acquired by the major European game publisher Ubisoft in November, 2011.
Finally, Trials Evolution was released on April 18, 2012. The game garnered almost universal acclaim from game critics, with a 90 score on Metacritic, and legions of new and returning fans. It smashed sales records on Xbox LIVE Arcade, breaking all previous one-day sale records and gaining 500,000 players in its first month on the service.
In September 2012, RedLynx was at it again, announcing two new Trials projects at Ubisoft's Digital Days event in Paris. The first, Origin of Pain, is the first DLC for the world renowned hit, Trials Evolution. Featuring 36 new tracks, 100 new editor objects, and introducing a new BMX bike for the first time in the Trials series, the Origin of Pain promises to deliver more of what gamers are clamoring for.
While a DLC was expected, the next announcement was totally unexpected. The Trials series was born on the PC, and with 'Trials Evolution - Gold Edition', the series is coming home to the PC. Featuring all the content of Trials Evolution, including multiplayer, user-generated content, and a world class level editor, the Gold Edition is enhanced and optimized for the PC. But that's not all. The Gold Edition will also include all of the content from Trials HD, making Trials Evolution - Gold Edition the largest Trials game ever attempted, featuring more than 120 tracks in all.
The Gold Edition is expected in early 2012.
What does the future hold for Trials beyond that? That remains to be seen, but one thing we can say for certain, there will definitely be more games from RedLynx named 'Trials' - games that will build on the foundation of the legendary history of Trials while breaking new ground into 2013 and beyond.
Ride on, riders!