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Big Ant Studios has “fresh” ideas for Rugby 24’s set pieces

Big Ant Studios is taking over development of Nacon's Rugby series and apparently the team already has some "fresh" ideas about rucks, mauls, and more.

Rugby 24 set pieces: Antoine Dupont protects the ball as he makes contact with a New Zealand player in Rugby 22

Out of all the sports, rugby has to be one of the most difficult to translate to videogame form. With big hits, confusing laws, and complex set pieces like rucks, mauls, and scrums, there’s a lot to wrap your head around in a short space of time. But with Rugby 24, Nacon believes its new development team, spearheaded by Big Ant Studios, has cracked the code.

Up until now, Nacon’s rugby games have been met with mixed criticism. While Rugby 22 was definitely a step in the right direction for the modern game, it lacked the intensity of real matches, something which its approach to set pieces certainly contributed to.

However, with Big Ant Studios, the team behind games such as the Cricket, AFL, and Tennis World Tour series, taking over development from Eko Software, Nacon has a chance to start again – something Clément Nicolin, the product manager at Nacon, has been telling The Loadout all about.

“For us, it’s the chance to start a new cycle,” Nicolin says. “The idea with Big Ant Studios was to acquire an expert in sports and that’s really their speciality. They’ve done rugby games in the past, so it was natural to give them this project.”

The rugby games Nicolin is referring to here are the Rugby League Live series, but this is the first time Big Ant Studios is taking on a Rugby Union game – something that comes with its own challenges. However, Nicolin says the Big Ant team has taken that in their stride.

“In terms of pure gameplay, Big Ant has really come in with fresh ideas,” he says. “Making a rugby game is challenging in terms of game design, with a lot of particular phases, like the lineout, the rucks, the mauls, etc. That’s hard to translate into code and ensure that the players will still have fun playing. But they have really nice ideas about that and we can’t wait to be able to show it to the community.”

We don’t know much about those set pieces changes yet since we’re still waiting to get our first glimpse of gameplay, but it certainly sounds promising. And with Rugby 24 shipping with a fully-fledged Rugby World Cup mode, the pressure is on for Nacon and Big Ant to deliver.

You can find out more about the game – and the upcoming Rugby 24 release date – in our full interview posted soon.