Along with continuing to make traditional games, Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive developer Insomniac is betting big on virtual reality. Feral Rites is a third-person, open world brawler, and the third VR title the studio has in development. An action game at its core, players are set loose to explore Strong Fang Island, aided by the ability to transform into different beast-like characters. Following the son of a beloved, but murdered, chieftain, Feral Rites sees him return to his childhood island home, looking for revenge.
While developing Feral Rites however, Insomniac has encountered a number of unique issues when making an open world in VR. Everything from camera movement and how enemies appeared on the screen had to be reconsidered, given how players will view the world.
“We had a lot of issues because we’re making a brawler, you want a lot of enemies on screen,” Insomniac Creative Director Marcus Smith explains, speaking with Polygon. “So we have cameras that are pulled back more for certain circumstances, and I would say that those are where you start to break down in VR. Because VR looks great when you’re close, and you have things that give you that depth. When you start to pull back further, the focus really is on gameplay at that point.”
To fix some of these issues, Insomniac had to start playing by different rules. “Like when you have a lot of guys on screen,” Smith continues, “we’ll have the artificial intelligence of those guys make sure that they’re kind of in front of you — they tend to stay in front of you. There are certain areas where if guys get behind the camera, we won’t have them come back in so you’re not being penalized by what you can’t see. A lot of rules that kind of have come up as we’ve moved forward. Some of them come from the 2D era, but a lot of them really were just learning a whole new vocabulary of game design.”
Feral Rites will release exclusively for Oculus Rift fall 2016. What do you think of the idea of an open-world VR game? Let us know in the comments.