Ubisoft Q&A: “Just Dance 2014” and the Power of a New Generation

 “Just Dance 2014,” the latest edition of the world’s #1 selling dance game, brings all new moves, features and over 40 of the hottest tracks. Check out the Xbox Wire exclusive interview below with Sean Crooks, Producer from Ubisoft on the Xbox One version of “Just Dance 2014” and stay tuned for more news and insights from other renowned developers of the hottest and most anticipated games coming to Xbox.

Xbox Wire: What are you most excited about for developing “Just Dance 2014” on new generation hardware?
Sean Crooks: The new Kinect on Xbox One is actually what’s excited us the most. The new Kinect has better tracking of players and an improved camera, so we can track dance moves more accurately. It also allows up to track up to 6 players, which is more players than we have ever been able to track previously.

XW: How does next generation hardware allow developers of the “Just Dance” franchise to innovate for Xbox One?
SC: The higher definition and greater power of the new platform has allowed us to deliver a full HD Just Dance on Xbox One. The dances are clearer and very vibrant; we think people will love how the game looks this year. It’s also allowed us to play further with the AutoDance feature to even more fun music videos of your Just Dance experience. Of course all these can be shared online to the likes of Facebook via Just Dance TV.

XW: What has Kinect on Xbox One enabled you to do for the franchise that you were not able to do on previous iterations?
SC: The 6 player support has allowed us to innovate with some fantastic acrobatic choreography (like Human Pyramids!) only available on Xbox One.

XW: What are your favorite new Kinect features coming to the franchise on Xbox One?
SC: I’d have to say, besides the 6 player choreography, a great new feature this year is the inclusion of Karaoke. Also, the On Stage Mode asks players to participate in full performances with one player taking center stage with backup dancers.  

XW: Can you tell us a bit about how SmartGlass will be used to improve the in game experience?
SC: SmartGlass has enabled us to bring the some non-dancers into Just Dance. For the first time on Xbox, people watching on their sofas can now control the dancing.

XW: Outside of improved navigation, what are the benefits players will receive with “Just Dance 2014’s” SmartGlass integration?
SC: From their smart phones, tablets or even PCs, players can queue up playlists of songs, adding and removing tracks as they please without interrupting the game. Not only this, but we also have Party Master mode through SmartGlass so the player holding the device can pick dance moves and mix things up for the dancing players.

XW: “Just Dance 2014” features six-dancer multiplayer for the very first time in the series on Xbox One. Why did you choose to expand to six players?
SC: We know that Just Dance is a popular game in large groups with whole living rooms full of people joining in. We wanted to allow more of those people to join in and get scored in the game as well. It’s all about friendly completion! It’s important to note that each of the six players have unique choreography so no two players are always doing the same move at the same time.  

XW: Can you explain how the online multiplayer mode is structured and how players can compete against one another through it?
SC: World Dance Floors is a big feature as it’s the first time we’ve brought online gaming to Just Dance. As the name suggests, there really is one World Dance Floor, with one rolling playlist that people can join in groups of 8 players. Players can browse the world for other players to dance with or select from friends. What’s really different about World Dance Floor is that players are all working together against one global challenge (for example “Boys vs. Girls”) so the global score is based on all the players around the world participating.

XW: What new experiences will players receive with the ability to switch Song and Move coaches mid-song?
SC: With Party Master mode on SmartGlass, we can allow non-dancing players remote control over the dancing players, literally making them the Master of the Party! With a full selection of funny moves, tricky moves or embarrassing moves for everyone’s enjoyment, this mode really brings a different gameplay dynamic to Just Dance 2014.

XW: What are some of your favorite announced songs that are included in “Just Dance 2014?” Of the song-list, are there any personal favorites that you are hoping to be included?
SC: Just Dance 2014 has such a fantastic range, from modern hits such as “Kiss You” from One Direction and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke to the fun and silly songs like “Ghostbusters.” However “Starships” by Nicki Minaj seems to have become an unofficial anthem for the dev team this year! We love the upbeat music.

XW: Amongst the developers working on “Just Dance 2014,” who is the best dancer and what is their signature move? Will it be included in “Just Dance 2014?”
SC: Not taking into consideration the amazing choreographers we work with, the best dancers have to be our scoring design teams who work hard at deciding how tough a song should score. As for the rest of the development team… lets be thankful that most of their moves never see the light of day, although it would make one of the craziest DLC’s ever…