As it stands now, the world of virtual reality gaming is an ever changing landscape. With the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR being the early stages of infancy, there’s potential waiting to be tapped. But thanks to the talented team at Three Fields Entertainment, players won’t need to wait long for arcade action with a VR twist.
A LETHAL FOLLOW-UP
The sophomore effort from Three Fields Entertainment, Lethal VR offers first-person action with a modern VR edge. Rather than go for a realistic form of action, Lethal VR instead provides an arcade setting within a simulation environment. Some of these sim missions range from dual-wielding guns to throwing a rather sizeable knife inspired by an Australian movie hero from the 1980s.
“We wanted to do something new, work with new hardware, learn something new, and do something much easier technically,” said Three Fields programmer Phil Maguire in an interview with Two Left Sticks.
Lethal VR is the second game released by Three Field following the release of Dangerous Golf earlier this year. On the iterative process, the team has taken with Lethal VR Phil said, “The hardware and development system for the Vive is excellent. We now also have two years experience of Unreal Engine – something we had to learn from scratch whilst making Dangerous Golf. The first challenge round in the game – a six target quickdraw with a handgun was developed in a really short time at the beginning of the development.”
ARCADE FUN TAKEN TO THE NEXT LEVEL
With the Three Fields team comprising of former veteran members of Criterion Games, of the famous Burnout franchise, there’s a distinct arcade DNA within the studio. The fondness of past arcade games, of course, has an impact on how Three Fields have developed Lethal VR.
“VR is fun to work on as you get to actually “step right inside” the experience you are developing,” said Designer Chris Roberts. “Anyone who sat in the cinema watching “Tron” back in 1982 will know what a truly incredible fantasy that has been for players for a long time.”
The immersion VR provides certainly lends itself towards deepening immersion within an arcade FPS setting. Featuring online leaderboards, Lethal VR will provide a hearty amount of competition as players aim to be the best.
On what players can expect of Lethal VR Chris elaborated, “Players will have to master the skills of fast, accurate shooting with a handgun and then the same with a throwing knife. Then be able to do the same with a weapon in each hand.” The action in Lethal VR is aiming to be diverse as players will be able to partake in thirty different challenges, with subsequent Bonus Rounds unlocked upon hitting certain requirements.
Players lucky enough to own a HTC Vive can also look forward to a heightened sense of action as well. “On HTC Vive, this is a true 360 roomscale experience. You’ll be moving all around looking for targets as they appear. You’ll also be moving around to lean, twist or kneel down to try and get the best shot,” Chris stated.
A DIFFERENT DESIGN APPROACH
True veterans of the industry, it’s clear that the Three Fields team know how to produce fun games. However, making the leap to VR development brings new elements that need to be taken into consideration.
“It’s the total opposite of traditional game development. It’s more restrictive as you have to be aware of the technical limitations that the headsets enforce. For example, a Vive game must run at 90fps all the time,” Phil said.
While developing in VR brings forth a set of new challenges, it also provides exciting new opportunities. Players can now have a tactile feeling as they move and dual-wield thanks to the Vive and PlayStation Move controllers. This is in comparison to holding a traditional controller and merely pressing a single button.
On designing Lethal VR Chris stated, “The first “dual handgun” rounds we built taught us how to balance difficulty. Too slow and it never looked or felt like a John Woo movie. But if the targets came too fast, it was nearly impossible to complete the round. It was important to us that the player felt like they were holding the weapons – standing with a handgun in each hand or a knife in each hand. We spent a lot of time perfecting knife throwing and making it as good as it could be.”
Three Fields has also been cognizant not to go too extreme with Lethal VR. “Because the player is acting out the action, you have to be really aware of what you are asking the player to physically do. You can’t ask too much of them,” Chris said of another design challenge the team had to face.
A NEW MARKET
As it stands now VR is exciting to players, but it’s still a small market. This is partly due to the high barrier of entry for certain devices, and player reluctance due to limited software. However, the VR market allows teams such as Three Fields to take advantage of it.
“It’s a new market, and it’s still a small one. So it’s perfect for a small team like us to make a game for it. Small teams have every bit a chance of success as a huge team with infinite backing. The games have strict technical limitations at present, so gameplay counts more than scope and scale right now,” said Chris.
AN EXCITING FUTURE
Lethal VR is shaping up to be an exciting throwback to arcade classics but presented with a modern twist. With development nearly complete, players may be keen to know if Three Fields’ unannounced arcade racing game will have VR support. On that topic, Chris said, “We have nothing to announce at this time regarding any other future titles. High-speed driving could well be a very nauseating experience. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Three Fields Entertainment has created an exciting game with Lethal VR that allows players to have unique fun. It’s clear that Three Fields is intent on creating arcade games, and there aren’t afraid to do it in new ways. On what the studio is hoping for Phil said, “We’re really proud to make Lethal VR on new hardware. We had a fun time making it and we hope VR players will have a fun time playing it.”
Lethal VR will be released on November 8th for the Vive, and will be released shortly after for PlayStation VR.