Not only has the studio changed engine, but it's been a full service for Milestone over the past five years. Develop sent Sean Cleaver to check out one of the biggest, and perhaps riskiest, evolutions in racing games development.
Where the older, historical part of Milan gives way to the newer, modern buildings and offices, you’ll find the offices of Milestone. On the street of Via Olona, you can turn one way and see the walls and buildings of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, the terracotta roof tiles and the spires of the Duomo di Milano. Turn the other, and you’ll find the newer tenement blocks, the offices and the science museum that has a Cold War submarine, the Enrico Toti, sitting outside it.
Milestone is at a turning point as a studio. Over 20 years, it has established itself as a racing game developer. Heavy investment in technology and expansion of licences and IPs are seen as the next step. Just as the studio sits between the old and the new in Milan, it hovers between its history and its future and the team is ready for the risks ahead.
Milestone is at a turning point as a studio. Over twenty years, it has established itself as a racing game developer
The studio is renowned for its experience in racing game development. However, beyond its notable game releases and the notoriety such experience brings, not much is known about the studio outside of its native Italy.
Now Milestone is expanding, trying to build new IPs on top of its established licensed franchise entries, and looking to future proof its technology with Epic Games' Unreal Engine. Milestone wants the world to know who they are.
The studio isn't just looking to show off the improvements that come with a new engine, but a whole new ethos. One of the things you'll hear a lot if you speak to anyone from Milestone is that the company has undergone a reinvention that was like starting from scratch. A change in upper management has seen a switch from relative comfort and satisfactory returns, to greater risk and even higher reward.
20 years is a long time in the games industry. In order to appreciate Milestone's plans for the future, we must first look to its past.