Interview | Active Soccer 2023: Gianluca Troiano talks about the game!

Interview | Active Soccer 2023: Gianluca Troiano talks about the game!

Interview | Active Soccer 2023

The video game industry is constantly evolving, also and above all thanks to the many innovations that populate the market every year: products capable of upsetting every standard, and able to satisfy the increasingly particular requests of an audience incredibly diverse. In such a scenario, however, there is also room for experiences of a different nature, which manage to bind themselves to the past without however renouncing their well-defined soul.

Active Soccer 2023 does just that: it takes something from the past to bring it in today's world, winking at longtime enthusiasts without neglecting the new generations of gamers. In a sector where there are few companies working on football titles, The Fox Software has had the courage to try and try again to have its say. And he has always done it in a more than excellent way, with works that follow this conception that has given and has so much to give even to a current of this type. We talked about it with Gianluca Troiano, Senior Game Developer working on Active Soccer 2023: a good chat came out of it, which we want to share with you while waiting for further news on one of the most awaited independent titles of the coming months!

Interview with Gianluca Troiano

Active Soccer is a beautiful project that was born way back in 2012: what has changed over the years in your way of treating such a product?< /h3> The Active Soccer series was born almost as an experiment, at the time mobile devices had a reduced computing capacity for 3D graphics and it was necessary to support the first iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models which only had 256 MB available of RAM, much of which is reserved for the operating system. It was therefore necessary to develop in a dedicated way with respect to the reference hardware. Today, however, game engines are able to scale more easily and at the same time all the various devices (PC, console, mobile) offer a certain standard of specifications. It is thus possible to concentrate on a single version, without making particular compromises.

The various sources of inspiration are evident, but we want you to tell us about them: what are the games that most influenced you in giving life to Active Soccer?

Active Soccer was created to bring back the spirit of 16-bit football games on current (at the time) systems, in a time when there was no alternative (unlike now where there have been quite a few attempts to reproduce an arcade football). The two games that most influenced Active Soccer are Kick Off 2 and Sensible World of Soccer for the Commodore Amiga. With Active Soccer 2023 we want to move the year of inspiration forward, also taking a little something from ISS Pro Deluxe / Winning Eleven and the first FIFA.

A question that many have asked you: what can push a studio to get to work on a football game, net of the "duopoly" that has now established itself in recent decades? It's quite a challenge, isn't it?

The target is completely different, the problem is really making people understand that it's a different game. People want to play with the same keys and be able to do the same actions as in FIFA and PES. The problem is precisely to overcome the initial obstacle, to make it clear that it is deliberately retro and different from FIFA. Only after getting used to it can they rediscover the fun in an entirely manual control, where you direct the player towards the ball or where if you shoot the cross in the corner it's because of you because you misdirected the ball. The greatest challenge is precisely to make it "compatible" with FIFA. I'll give you an example, when the ball comes out, during the Milan Games Week test I noticed that the players press a button on the gamepad to "skip" the animated FIFA sequence; obviously there are no animated sequences in Active Soccer therefore the player immediately hits the ball giving possession to the opponents. Here, it will be necessary to implement a whole series of measures to ensure that the game responds well in the presence of such ingrained automatisms.

Tell us a little about The Fox Software: it is certainly a reality with a lot of experience behind it, where does it all start and how have you evolved over the years?

I'm mainly a single developer, I started programming on the Commodore Amiga, even if the first project that started it all was Throw In, a remake of Kick Off 2 for Windows developed in 2003. From there I was called to develop Nutella Football Game also for PC and Ico Soccer for Nintendo DS, a game in which it was necessary to give tactical indications using the stylus. The greatest success was Active Soccer 1 and especially 2 which introduced the career mode by simulating an entire world of leagues and competitions, first released on mobile and then later on consoles.

We took a close look at Active Soccer 2023 during the last Milan Games Week: where are the works and when should we expect to finally be able to touch it ?

The massive test of MGW was very useful to understand what worked and what didn't. There is still enough to do, the idea is to complete the game during Q1 2023.

In terms of gameplay, what are the biggest news of this new edition?

Technologically it is a remarkable leap forward, it is the first arcade soccer game that features so many animations together with a more serious graphic style. Many parts of the gameplay have been completely rewritten. Also there is always the depth of the career mode which is practically infinite.

Longtime gamers will have noticed the presence of a soundtrack curated by Chris Hülsbeck: how did the collaboration with a name of this caliber come about?

I'm a fan of Chris, at the time I was captured by the music of Turrican 2 on the Amiga. I asked if he was interested in working on a sports title as he had previously worked on Carl Lewis Challenge producing a sensational OST. With the 2023 edition we will have 2 more exclusive tracks that follow the period from which the game is inspired. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to work with him.

I'll close with a purely personal question: what is the highest point ever reached by a football video game for you?

To tell the truth, I don't play modern football games because I find them a bit too scripted for my tastes. So I have to answer you Kick Off 2 from 1990, brought some incredible innovations in football games. Injuries, substitutions, different pitches, referees with their own personalities, recovery time, 2 vs 2 multiplayer game via adapter, aftertouch (the possibility of giving the effect to the ball once it has been shot), and above all ball control where the ball had its own physics independent of the player's movements.

Active Soccer 2023 is therefore about to arrive, and promises to be one of the most interesting titles of the coming months. The word now passes to the players: are you also eager to get your hands on this little big all-Italian project?

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