June 22, 2023

7 Min Read

just dance

Just Dance 2024 Edition – Creative Director Discusses New Features and Just Dance+ Year 2

Just Dance 2024 Edition is coming to Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S on October 24, with 40 new songs from popular artists including BLACKPINK, Bad Bunny, Miley Cyrus, Whitney Houston, and more. For those who own both Just Dance 2024 Edition and 2023 Edition, content from both games will be displayed together. And on June 23, the live finals of Just Dance are taking place at the Olympic Esports Series 2023 in Singapore.

Ubisoft News spoke with Creative Director Matthew Tomkinson to learn more about the new features in Just Dance 2024 Edition, Year 2 of the Just Dance+ subscription service, and how Just Dance has evolved over the last decade.

Just Dance 2023 Edition ushered in a new era for the franchise, with redesigned UI and the addition of online multiplayer. What were some of the important things from the launch of 2023 Edition that you took with you into developing Just Dance 2024 Edition?

Matthew Tomkinson: For us, the launch of Just Dance 2023 Edition was really the beginning of a new era because we were able to add many more features to the live game throughout the year, and we also added some improvements both in terms of performance and in terms of scoring.

And what we really love about it is the fact that it's built to stay, which means that for Just Dance 2024 Edition, when the players get the new game, they will right away have the same interface with the same high scores, their preferences in general, and it will add to their collection – meaning that the songs from Just Dance 2023 Edition will join up with the songs of Just Dance 2024 Edition. It's the same if you decide to start with 2024; you can also buy 2023 and it will combine into one collection.

When you talk about combining the content of Just Dance 2023 Edition and 2024 Edition, what will this look like? Do you plan to continue this feature with the next installment after 2024?

MT: So, from a player perspective, it will be extremely simple. Newly purchased editions will come with a code to input that will grant access to all new songs from day one- all in the same interface. It will be a much more seamless experience than having to swap out physical games to access the song you want to play.

And in the end, the more choices there are, the better it is for players. We see this as a real win for players, letting them access their entire Just Dance collection all in one place.

Just Dance 2024 Edition players will also be able to play tracks online with friends who have Just Dance 2023 Edition. What motivated this decision?

MT: We’re thrilled that we were able to incorporate this into the game experience as it’s something players have requested for a very long time. People’s online behavior changed during the pandemic, and we saw more folks than ever look for different ways to connect with friends. Bringing this sharable capability to Just Dance seemed like a clear win for our players. So we're really happy that players are able to connect with their friends, and have the same experience as if you were all playing together in the living room.

We met some characters in Just Dance 2023 Edition who had their own storylines – will we see these characters return in 2024 Edition or will we meet a new cast of characters?

MT: There's definitely some clues in the key art for Just Dance 2024 Edition! The five new characters that we introduced in last year’s story playlist will be back. And you might have also noticed that the antagonist character from last year, Night Swan, will be back too and I think players will be excited to discover how this new story unfolds. And what I can say for now is that it will take a darker tone, which may be quite surprising for Just Dance players, but it’s really a continuation of the story that we wanted to tell.

What are the benefits of transitioning Just Dance to a fully online platform?

MT: What is great is that it allows us to update the game much more frequently, and all the songs don't need to be on a cartridge or disc or downloaded onto consoles because that limits the number of songs that you can have. So having a game that automatically streams the song that you want to play is a much better experience, it feels like what players are used to with TV shows and movies, but for Just Dance.

[UN][JD24] Just Dance 2024 Dev Interview - IMG 1

What can players expect with Just Dance+ Year 2, and how often can they expect updates?

MT: We are hard at work adding as many songs as possible from past editions, so players will see those updates as they become available. Additionally, this year we started releasing Seasons, which were packed with new exclusive tracks, building out our catalog even more and providing new maps for players so there is always something more to dance along to!

We recently released Season 2, which was a partnership with the popular European competition Eurovision Song Contest. We, and our players, really wanted tracks from the competition in the game, so we were excited to be able to offer players timely content beyond our annualized edition. Our goal is to continue to build consistent seasons which we started with Season 1- Lover Coaster, followed by Season 2- Eurovision Song Contest and we’re excited to reveal Season 3 in the near future!

How has the development of Just Dance evolved over the past decade?

MT: There's so much to say because Just Dance has existed for quite a few years now- earning us the title of being the #1 music game franchise of all time, and we’ve learned a lot and evolved a lot with technological advances in order to grow with our players. More recently, we’ve been focused on evoking player emotion, including the emotions that we're bringing to our characters through story and lore. We’re seeing more of our characters’ faces and seeing that they are lip-syncing to their songs. We’re also picking songs that might be surprising for a dancing game, but that bring lots of emotion. We recognize that dance is a really unique way to connect with music, something we want our players to really enjoy as they play the game.

Also, in terms of graphics, we've really improved all our tool sets, all the visuals, and the camera angles to bring a lot of dynamism to the choreography. I would say every Just Dance song that you play along to feels really like you're entering a new universe. You connect with a new character and live a new story every time.

How do you and the team feel about Just Dance being included in the Olympics Esports Series 2023?

MT: It’s so exciting. I think we had the same reaction to the news as players- something we discussed with a few of them. It’s really a huge step, because we were used to running our Just Dance World Cup, but it wasn't endorsed by an official organization. Now we're talking the Olympics, so it's very exciting to receive that recognition and endorsement.

And myself, I'm very excited because I will be a jury member for the Olympics event. It's lots of fun. I was already on the jury for the very first Just Dance World Cup. But coming back to it with support from the Olympics is so awesome and super exciting for Just Dance.

Just Dance 2024 Edition launches October 24 on Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S. For more on Just Dance 2024 Edition visit justdancegame.com.

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