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Aliens, Trolls & Dragons Dev Talks VR, Balancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Project Morpheus

Kubold is an indie developer that virtual reality (VR) enthusiasts should be keeping an eye on. Formed by ex-People Can Fly developer Jakub Kisiel, the studio has already released a brief but promising VR experience in Malfunction, which is available for free on the official Oculus VR Share platform. Now the developer is working hard on its next, bigger project, Aliens, Trolls & Dragons, which is set to mix fantasy with sci-fi in an intriguing third-person action title, with full support for the Oculus Rift VR head-mounted display (HMD).AliensTrolls&Dragons_1

VRFocus recently spoke to Kisiel about the project, which hopes to release its first episode in a series this autumn. In the interview below Kisiel discusses balancing the title’s two genres along with various gameplay mechanics as well as developing for VR, and the chances of seeing the title on PlayStation 4 with support for the Project Morpheus HMD.

VRFocus: Aliens, Trolls & Dragons has an intriguing premise, where did the idea come from?

Jakub Kisiel: The idea of putting a cosmonaut armed with modern weapons against medieval warriors (and monsters!) is not really new. Since I can remember, every once in a while I ran to books and films about it. Hard to be a God by Strugatsky brothers, Disney’s The Spaceman and King Arthur, Outlander, even Avatar – they all tell about clash between sci-fi and medieval/fantasy. Aliens, Trolls & Dragons is heavily inspired by all those stories.

VRFocus: How are you managing the balance between technology and fantasy?

Jakub Kisiel: Having guns makes you almost invincible, when you are confronting the castle guards. However, there are many of them and you are alone. Also, this is an alien planet, you never know what else is out there. Let me just say, that technology and gadgets will give you a fighting chance. Also, who says  there needs to be a balance?

VRFocus: How do you strike a balance between melee combat and shootouts?

Jakub Kisiel: I like variety. There will be plenty of situations, that will give the player a choice, how will he deal with the enemies on the way. Player will have to decide if he should save ammo for later, or just shoot. Some situations will be more than obvious.

VRFocus: How often can we expect new episodes to arrive after the launch of the first?

Jakub Kisiel: As soon as possible. I would like to make each episode a little different, not just re-use the same assets and mechanics. I hope I will be able to finish a seond episode way faster than the first one, but adding new features to the game always takes some time.

VRFocus: How will the title evolve in later episodes? Can we expect new environments and weapons?

Jakub Kisiel: Yes! I’m not yet ready to talk about it, but second episode will introduce new tech, new mechanics and new parts of the alien world to explore.

VRFocus: How is your work on the likes of Gears of War: Judgment and Bullestorm influencing Aliens, Trolls & Dragons?

Jakub Kisiel: Actually the way I’m developing ATD is very much like developing these two titles. Most I know about making games is based on my experience working in People Can Fly (Epic Games Poland). During eight years I watched and took part in making of mentioned games, this is all now extremally helpful. I’m not only talking about the artistic part, but also the production process.

VRFocus: Why did you decide to mix VR support with a third-person shooter?

Jakub Kisiel: I added VR cameras to my TPP controller prototype, just from curiosity. The result was surprisingly fun to play. Everyone else was making VR FPP demo’s, so I though, why not, I’ll just make a short game in TPP. The short answer would be: I’m mixing TPP with VR because it’s fun for me. Also, the key part of being an indie developer is freedom to try new things.

VRFocus: Will the title be compatible with the Oculus Rift DK2’s new features when it launches?

Jakub Kisiel: Of course! I’m still waiting for my DK2 though, can’t wait to use it in Aliens, Trolls & Dragons!

VRFocus: Would you have liked to have seen VR support added to any of People Can Fly’s past titles?

Jakub Kisiel: I would especially like to play Bulletstorm in VR. I feel especially attached to this game, since I was a lead animator during the whole development process. Pulling the enemies towards you with the leash would be awesome!

VRFocus: Would you consider bringing the title to PlayStation 4 with support for Project Morpheus?

Jakub Kisiel: Yes I would, the more the merrier!