Iron Man VR releases exclusively for PSVR next week and we recently talked with Ryan Payton, founder of developer Camouflaj, about the game’s development. During the conversation he briefly touched on the game’s early prototyping phase and mentioned it began life as a PC VR title.
“When we first were prototyping the game, obviously we’re iterating on PC a lot and we were moving in 360,” says Payton. “But as the project developed and we first signed the game with Marvel, then Sony became a part of the conversation. Both Camouflaj and Marvel were really excited about having Sony as a partner to publish the game because we absolutely love PlayStation VR. We want this game to be played by as many people around the world as possible.”
Obviously every game begins life as a PC game since that’s the platform that contains the development tools studios use to create games themselves. But in this case it sounds like the game was playable initially on PC VR platforms due to the freedom of 360-tracking. But after Sony entered the picture as publisher, the team adapted to PSVR and embraced the headset as the new target.
“They have great motion controllers, they have a great headset, but as you noted [during the interview], they have only the single PlayStation camera,” says Payton. “But instead of backing down and deciding that our game was going to be only, for example, a seated experience, instead of doing that, the team decided to think really, really creatively about the capabilities of PlayStation VR.
“The fact that they have the Move Controllers with these gyroscopes, that we have a general sense of what the player wants to do, even if their body is occluding the PlayStation camera…And so there’s a lot of great tech underneath the hood and a lot of great design thought that allowed us to offer 360 degree movement for players who so choose to play that way.”
In the past the developers from Camouflaj have described what they do to enable the illusion of 360 tracking as “black magic” and if you try out the free Iron Man VR demo on PSVR for yourself you’ll see that’s not far from the truth. Even though there is only the single camera and your hands / body occlude the controller easily, it seems like flight never really gets wonky even if you turn all the way around. Technically, it’s quite impressive.
“Ensuring that the game had world-class flight and combat mechanics, as Iron Man in VR, was paramount,” says Payton. “That’s exactly how we laid the foundation of the game. Back when the game was simply a prototype and we were pitching to Marvel and we told our partners, and we told ourselves, that throughout development, we were going to make sure that moment to moment gameplay and locomotion were going to be world class. And I think the team has done an incredible job delivering on that.”