© Bongfish


Bongfish: Skating in the Fast Lane

"Crashed Ice should be done in the winter, in time for the start of the season," said Michael Putz, head of the Graz game studio Bongfish (Harms Way, Stoked). The latest release from the game studio is an adaptation of Red Bull`s extreme sport, in which contestants race around an ice obstacle course on skates.

is being released for the Xbox360 on December 1, and is the first co-production between the Graz company and the Salzburg beverage and media giant.

Extreme sports
Putz said that the collaboration with Red Bull was intensive and good. Because of Red Bull`s commitment to extreme sports, Putz sees a great deal of potential in games for the Salzburg company. Putz of course feels that Crashed Ice is the best game from Red Bull to date. For Bongfish, it was the most ambitious project it has ever completed. The game was not only completed but also the required Kinect expertise also developed in just one year.


Disproving Kinect skeptics
"No one thought that it could work, and they all declined the project. We proved that it is possible, and are now very proud." He was even unsure that Kinect was the right platform for this high-action sport. But the initial reservation soon gave way to enthusiasm for Microsoft`s motion sensor. It was clear for Putz that he had to prove that the control system was suited to a fast, reaction based racing game despite all the claims to the contrary. The game was developed from the ground up in twelve months, and completed on schedule.

Reality show about Bongfish on ServusTV
Bongfish was at the PAX (Penny Aracde Expo) in Seattle with the game this year, and received very good feedback for it from fans and the gaming media. A television documentary that was produced by Red Bull and that shows the development of a game in eight episodes could also generate further publicity. Game Quest, as the series is called, will run on ServusTV at the end of 2012. We can assume that Bongfish will be in the show.


The right course on the track
According to Putz, Crashed Ice is not the only game that involved overcoming major obstacles. A great deal of sweat also went into

. "The pressure was extreme from all sides. Microsoft was very cautious with the license," Putz said. And the fans have high expectations. It was quite a balancing act. "It took a long time to find the right focus," said Putz. The hardest part was adapting the concept from back then to current gamer needs.

"The old game play method does not work with young players anymore," Putz said. Games need to be more accessible, and have to be fun right away. Depth has to come later. Because of this, the arcade style was the focus of Avatar Motocross Madness, though Putz stresses that the simulation aspect of the original game is still there. You just have to take the time for it.

Rosy future
The game itself is virtually finished, and will be published on the Xbox at the beginning of 2013 at the latest. After that, Putz says anything is possible. But he said that his company will not be getting a break. Various projects are being planned, and Putz is optimistic. Developing for the Kinect platform has made them hungry to work with new, different technologies.


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Benjamin Sterbenz

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Benjamin Sterbenz