Virtual reality is no longer just around the corner, it’s here and hopefully here for a long time to come. With the success of Oculus, Vive and PlayStation VR I can’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. I have had the chance to try out a couple of games on the Oculus Rift over the past few years and it certainly looks like a bright future. With the number of studios jumping into the VR arena increasing by the day, I got the chance to interview one studio, Fireproof Games, about the Samsung Gear VR Game, Omega Agent. Here’s how it went.
First of all, could you tell us a bit about Omega Agent, the concept and what it is all about?
Sure. We were basically inspired by the brilliance VR itself. We wanted to make something that would allow players to experience moving through a VR world but we didn’t want to limit that to being yet another “VR experience”. We wanted to get to the juice and make a proper VR game. A Jetpack seemed like a cool device for anyone to zoom around a city on, so we made the game about Jetpack training for spies.
How long have you been working on Omega Agent and what makes it different from anything else out there?
In many ways Omega Agent is a traditional, almost retro game in that it features super playable, physics based controls with all the trappings of simple but classic “gamey” gameplay – speed, shooting, exploring. No other VR title we know of is aiming straight for the video game jugular like that, they’re generally more sedate affairs overall. But they joy of Omega Agent and VR is not in how I describe it, you have to feel what it’s like to boost from the ground to the top of a skyscraper in three seconds flat to get it.
Will there be more than one world in the end game?
The game is set on a secret training base, a tropical island dominated by a huge volcano. In front of the mountain is an empty fake city built for safe training purposes. But this being a secret Island base there’s naturally more than meets the eye. Over time the advanced player gains access to underground facilities and they are not empty and far from safe! That’s when the game gets really challenging.
Is there a storyline and are there any other characters in the game?
Here’s the story so far: “Secret agent training, with Jetpacks, in VR”. So no, for now, the game is all focused around the player, no other characters, just trials to overcome and beasties to blast. We’d like to grow the world post launch but that will depend on the reception it gets.
The art style in the game is quite colourful and bold. Why didn’t you go for a more realist approach?
Omega Agent is not in any way a serious game, it’s about having a laugh playing with VR, so we wanted the game to look and feel inviting and fun. VR games are a huge technical headache and extra graphics just complicates things. Because GearVR is powered by a mobile device we have to limit polygon detail so all in all a fresh, unfussy look worked well with the game.
Will there be DLC for Omega Agent?
We hope so but no guarantees just yet.
What made you decide to work on the game specifically for virtual reality and for the Samsung Gear VR?
Honestly? We had a go on the GearVR and were amazed. We already loved Oculus Rift and expected mobile VR to be a weedy second-rate version of the Rift. We were so wrong. We felt that GearVR could be demonstrated to the mass market a lot more easily than the Rift, which is great but needs a beefy PC attached to it to work. GearVR is wireless and so felt much more friendly to use. We just think its a damn good games platform.
Has it been difficult to develop a game for the Samsung Gear VR, if so what have been the main issues or limitations you have faced?
Well, any mobile game has limits compared to PC or Console but we’ve spent three years making graphically rich 3D games for mobile so weren’t deterred. However with VR, you need to generate twice the images (one for each eye) and at about three times the framerate speed, so you have to be confident you can make very low-detail worlds look good.
Will Omega Agent be released for other VR devices in the future or is it purely a Samsung Gear VR exclusive?
Nope its not exclusive, we’ll put the game on any VR device that will have us.
When is Omega Agent due out and how much will we have to pay for it?
We’re aiming for February 2015, fingers crossed. Price is not yet decided.
Will you be delving into the VR space again in the future?
We love VR so I think as a team we’ll delve into it any time we can, as long as VR takes off as a gaming platform of course 😛
What other games can we enjoy from Fireproof Games?
We’re releasing the third in our mobile series “The Room” in April 2015 on IOS and Android devices.
Thank you to Barry from Fireproof Studios for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.
Omega Agent is available now for Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift. I’ve tried it and I recommend it.