Fracked wants to be the missing VR Shooter blockbuster

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Fracked is our Upload Access Game of the Month! We start by chatting with nDreams Creative Director Steve Watt.

Genre aside, Fracked is the exact opposite of what you’d expect from nDreams after last year’s Phantom: Covert Ops. This Oculus exclusive was a tense, realistic stealth experience with intelligent movements, immersive weapon handling, and seriousness in its visual palette. My recent Fracked demo, meanwhile, opens with a downhill skiing pursuit, an avalanche right on the tail, and an Olympic-level jump waiting downstairs. And that’s all before You are immersed in an explosive run-and-gun combat in the mountains with soldiers possessed by alien parasites in a vibrant world straight out of a comic book.

So yes, this is another kettle of fish. Like Die Hard, according to Creative Director Steve Watt, just throw in purple-skinned, screaming enemies who want to blow you up for good measure.

“When I first heard about VR, I wanted to be an action hero in the movies and I thought VR would give you that experience,” Watt tells me. “When I think of action-adventure games, I think of Tomb Raider and Uncharted, and I think of what it would really be like to be that character.”

And that pretty much touches Fracked’s heart. What we’ve seen of the title so far is reminiscent of an explosive action sequence from James Bond dotted with sets that sometimes look like direct nods to his gaming inspirations. You may have seen our gameplay segment. Upload VR Showcase, which ended with a scene that would be familiar to any Uncharted fan.

But creating a VR game that aspires to those explosive heights isn’t easy. Of course, that’s not the case – making any game isn’t easy – but Fracked also wants to find his way through the minefield of VR comfort options others are using, and then he wants to. jump straight into this path head first. This is somewhere that only a few solo shooters have gone so far; even Sony’s own Blood & Truth (the VR Fracked game seems more comparable) regulates player movement, but it gives players full freedom of movement at all times.

“With Phantom we really care about the individual canoeing experience, and I think other crossing methods have been a big inspiration. [here]”said Watt.” So we knew climbing worked really well in virtual reality and we had also created a ski demo, and playing that ski demo just got so much more complicated. “

And that’s where Fracked’s main loop is: running, climbing, and skiing. The latter two will help break up the foot sections of the game, but nDreams wants to keep their foot on the pedal throughout. In fact, he calls his rapid-fire mark “run, shoot and cover,” referring to the importance of pushing the offense, and then, when you’re on the back foot, quickly finding a safe place to dodge yourself but by physically gripping and getting to safety.

“That’s a big part of the innovation in this game – running, shooting and covering, two things that normally conflict with each other,” says Watt. “It’s really a race over there and shoot the AI […] and then what we saw as you were playing is that when you start to get overwhelmed you intuitively grab the blanket and start looking for respite and you start to heal.

To maintain this speed, nDreams wants to streamline the experience to some extent. Remember last week when we talked about the laborious reloading of Sniper Elite weapons or, dammit, even Phantom’s stealthy yet delicate gun arsenal? You won’t see any of that here. When you need to reload, for example, the magazine simply pops up, hovering under the pistol, ready to set up and get back into action.

“We knew we didn’t want the player to start bothering with the gun […] a big thing we didn’t want to do was double handling, because it struggles with accessibility and it struggles with the fast-paced action we wanted to deliver, ”said Watt.

Another “faffy” aspect of virtual reality can be comfort. As you have no doubt heard over and over again, it is extremely important to ensure that games can be experienced by as many people as possible. And Fracked doesn’t ignore that, but he’s also more confident players are doing well with his frenzied battles than he is actively making sure they will. To that extent, Watt emphasizes features like the input-based cover system, which he says “anchors” players in environments more naturally, or the importance of keeping players focused on specific goals. Watt compares it to a bit like keeping an eye on the horizon on a boat. “There were a lot of constraints or considerations to make it fast for comfort,” he says. “In a way, if we knew we could fix this, then we knew we were on a game the public expected.”

Of course, the public is expecting a lot, and nDreams is optimistic about delivering a console-quality shooter with Fracked. Watt says the game has a “traditional campaign length” with evolving play strategies and a strong character story. In that sense, Watt is hoping Fracked will rub shoulders with some greats in the game. “I think it’s kind of like a first-party title,” he says, “where you make plans for other games to build on. on. And so I want people to look at this game and say, “Wow, you can really make some super fun games in VR.”

“For me, it’s not about satisfying the VR audience, it’s about satisfying the VR gaming audience and showing the gamers“ In fact, come to VR and see the different experiences you can have and how you can suddenly disrupt or enhance your traditional mechanics using virtual reality.

We will have a lot more Fracked and nDreams during the month of July. Keep an eye out for discussions about the art and music of the game, a look back at the history and growth of nDreams and more. We will be offering you a full program very soon.


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