Jet, Set, Ready – Riptide GP: Renegade Interview with Matt Small

Feb 16, 2018

We’re joined by top-tier racing developers Vector Unit once again to discuss their multi-platform racer Riptide GP: Renegade Vector’s CEO Matt Small!

Check out our review for Riptide GP: Renegade here!

Appolicious: The Riptide GP series harkens back to Vector Unit’s roots with Blood Wake and Hydro Thunder Hurricane. What is it about racing on the water’s edge that keeps bringing you back? The differences between burning rubber and making waves?

Matt Small: We love the dynamic, always-changing racing surface of water-racers.  With roads it’s always the same, but with water anything can change it, the other racers, or hazards like explosions or water-machinery.  Plus it looks great with reflections and tons of particles flying everywhere.  It just feels very unique compared to a road-racer.

Appolicious: Unlike a lot of racing games, the Riptide series has a real story. There’s this whole storyline around illegal boat racing. Players were even given the opportunity to choose between two differing protagonists. What inspires the narrative of the Riptide universe, and what brought story to the forefront?

MS: There’s always been a kind of unspoken back story to the Riptide series in our minds, about the world being flooded but not completely destroyed.  It’s like an optimistic post-apocalypse where the world is flooded but people just adapt and, hey, since the world is flooded why not race rocket-powered jetskis on it?  But with Renegade we wanted to introduce this idea of racing in places you’re not supposed to, so the idea of getting kicked out of the league came from that.  We also wanted to introduce new characters, and the story sort of blossomed from this idea of racing against a series of bosses.  Of course it turned out to be way more involved than we originally thought it would, but it was really fun to work on it.

Riptide GP Renegade Review | Appolicious

Rev up your engines and catch the wave with Riptide GP: Renegade, where Hydro Thunder meets SSX! Read more:…dle-to-the-metal/

Appolicious: Why tricks, rather than drifting, to build up speed boost?

MS: Tricks work well for the “motocross” style gameplay, and the fact that you have a character sitting there right on top of the hydrojet just cries out for fun animations.

Appolicious: Renegade’s had the chance to see release across multiple platforms. What differences are there, between developing for a handheld gaming machine like the Nintendo Switch, versus a traditional mobile device like a smart phone or tablet?

MS: The Switch and traditional mobile devices are really similar in some ways.  The biggest difference is that the Switch can, well…”switch” between control modes so fluidly.  So you have have it docked, and pull it out and play it handheld, and detach the Joy-Con controllers and play them together or individually sideways.  And you have to just handle all that and make the game fun for every variation.  It’s challenging, but it is also really fun to work with.

Appolicious: What are the key things any level designer should bear in mind when crafting a good race track?

MS: For us, we always try to tell a story with every race track.  It might be something really simple, like you start in a shiny city downtown mall, and then drop through tunnels into an old abandoned flooded city, and then out into the open ocean — there’s a flow there, which sort of tells the story of cities being flooded and destroyed and rebuilt, and it all happens in the background while you’re racing, and it might not even register but it helps create excitement and context for the action.  Of course on top of that you have to try and maintain a variety of interesting turns and straightaways — but assuming you’ve got all of that figured out, you still need to tell a story.

Appolicious: Why do you feel the racing genre has always found a home on mobile, when so many other 3D genres struggle?

MS: I think racing is a good fit for mobile because the experience is short and exciting.  You don’t need to spend an hour leveling up your character or working on your skill tree.  You just jump in, race, and you’re done.  At the same time, the controls work well with mobile touch screen and tilt-accelerometer controls.  [Also], racing games are challenging in the free to play world of mobile gaming — most of the super-successful mobile games are not racers.  That’s why for now at least we’ve kept the Riptide games premium.

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Riptide GP: Renegade
Riptide GP: Renegade
Developer: Vector Unit
Price: $2.99
Riptide GP: Renegade
Riptide GP: Renegade
Developer: Vector Unit
Price: $2.99
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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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