Riders Republic, the Holy Grail of Outdoor Sports Enthusiasts

Riders Republic artwork 23 photos
Photo: Ubisoft
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Ubisoft’s Riders Republic gives a whole new definition to the concept of outdoor sports. Members of the Cult of the Holy Bike will find in Riders Republic the closest thing to the Holy Grail of bike riding. But if you’d rather take it to the skies in a sexy rocket wingsuit and admire the scenery, by all means, you’re invited too. Just know that it will be a very short flight if you’re not inverting your controls.
Jokes aside, in Riders Republic you get to compete in five main activities: mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, wingsuit flying, and rocket wingsuiting. However, the game is not just about competing or racing with your friends. You can just take your bike for a stroll through one of the seven U.S. National Parks included in the game: Bryce Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Sequoia Park, Zion, Canyonlands, Mammoth Mountain, and Grand Teton.

They have been faithfully recreated to meet the needs of outdoor sports enthusiasts and populated with all the tracks, roads and pit stops they would need when adventuring in the wild.

If you’ve already been to all those places, you’ll be able to recognize all the famous points of interests. For that, we started with the satellite imagery to ensure that we have all the data at the right scale and with the good locations. Then, we made our own tool to add cliffs, forests, mountains to be sure that we create believable natural environment to represent correctly what these Natural Parks need,” tells me Yann Fieux, World Designer, Ubisoft Annecy.

Get your doses of fun and adrenaline right here

That means wingsuit fans can head to Grand Teton for their daily dose of adrenaline, while snowboard junkies will find Yosemite Valley the perfect place to show off their tricks or just practice for an important event.

But what I really loved about Riders Republic is how these National Parks with their different ecosystems blend together within the confines of a single, uniform map. There are no visible borders between these ecosystems and it’s quite easy to move from one another. More importantly, you always find some sort of activity to do no matter where you are on the map.

Riders Republic beta screenshot
Photo: autoevolution
It’s very important to understand the geology logic behind it, like I want to be sure that it’s something believable, it’s not too far apart from reality in the logic and that all outdoors regions are blended together. I also want to be sure that whenever and wherever you are, you still have something take pictures from where you’re from, whether you’re on top of cliff, you still see some landmarks around you. Because it’s an open-world game, wherever the player decides to go from a spawning location, we had to be sure they will be able to find activities to attend to,” explains Yann.

Bike riders will find a plethora of bikes at their disposal from a range of famous brands, including Marin, Canyon, BMC, and Devinci. The same goes for those who’d like to go skiing or snowboarding, as Ubisoft includes some official gear from Black Crows, Faction, Burton, and other manufacturers.

When adventuring through these National Parks in real life, the bikes, skis, snowboards, wingsuits, and even the gear that you’re wearing is of outmost importance. In Riders Republic it’s all about fun and mayhem.

Nothing beats a pair of skis made of fence posts. Or is it?

My favorite pair of skis in Riders Republic look like they were previously used as fence posts and go-to all-round vehicle is the Ice Cream Bike. The game is full of goofy stuff like that waiting to be unlocked, including all sorts of funny costumes and pieces of gear that you can wear during your rides.

That being said, you can be serious and try to advance in the Career Mode to the point that you’ll actually be invited to participate in the legendary “Riders Ridge Invitational,” a never-before-seen multi-sport competition featuring all sports in one single event. Just keep in mind that Riders Republic is not a simulation game, as Ubisoft went for accessibility rather than physics accuracy.

Riders Republic beta screenshot
Photo: autoevolution
However, the game is quite authentic for each activity it represents, which is why the bikes and skis in Riders Republic have various stats that try to emulate their behavior in real life. I didn’t notice major differences between the bikes I rode during the first stages since I was too busy having fun. Oh, I forgot to tell you that this is no Carmageddon on two wheels, so don't even think of bumping the other racers from the track because you can't. You'll be racing against other players' "ghosts," so there's really no way to push someone off the road.

Speaking of having fun, there are two competitions in the game that I believe perfectly captures the spirit of the game: Trick Battles and Mass Race. The former is a 6v6 team-based mode where you have to execute the best tricks to win, while the latter is the epitome of mayhem: a 64-player (50-player on next-gen consoles) race where you’ll be bike riding, skiing and wingsuiting through different environments.

Of course, nothing can compare with the “real thing,” but that moment when you switch from a bike flying from a ramp in the mountain to a pair of skis that are just about to land in the snow is quite thrilling.

A tiny breath of fresh air in a storm of chaos

In a world where the pandemic seems to have toppled work and home life structure for everyone, Riders Republic feels like a breath of fresh air. And I’ll take as many of those as possible. So, if you’re an outdoor sports enthusiast missing their favorite activities due to COVID-19, or just looking for something to do to brighten your day, I’d say take a deep breath of Riders Republic.

Riders Republic beta screenshot
Photo: autoevolution
I left the best part at the end because I had to make you understand that Riders Republic is fun, fun, fun: Ubisoft announced Riders Republic beta is now opened to public for the weekend. This means that the game can be played for free until August 28 on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, and you don’t need a key or anything to join the fray.

Riders Republic has been delayed a few times, but the last time Ubisoft announced it needs more time to deliver “the best fun-fueled experience” to its players, it said the game will be ready for prime time on October 28, so fingers crossed.

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