Last week saw the very first open discussion of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD), revealed at Oculus VR’s ‘Step into the Rift’ conference, San Francisco. As part of the announcement a series of development studios were revealed to be working on new videogame titles exclusively for the virtual reality (VR) device, amongst them were The Order: 1886 developers, Ready at Dawn. VRFocus took the time to chat with Ru Weerasuriya, Founder/CEO & Creative Director at Ready at Dawn, about the currently undisclosed Oculus Rift exclusive title.
The reveal for Ready at Dawn’s commitment to Oculus Rift exclusive development was rather muted, simply offering a logo on a slide containing a number of other studios’ branding. However, Weerasuriya had some interesting comments to make on the subject of VR development, Oculus Rift exclusivity and the reasons behind the decision to jump on board. The full interview follows below and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on Ready at Dawn’s forthcoming VR exclusive title.
VRFocus: Ready at Dawn appeared on the developer list at Oculus VR’s ‘Step into the Rift’ press conference, but the videogame that you are working on hasn’t yet been revealed. Can you even hint at what it might be?
Ru Weerasuriya [RW]: Unfortunately not right now. We’ve got to talk about it, but we’re not divulging any information.
VRFocus: Is it a virtual reality (VR) exclusive videogame?
RW: We’re working on an exclusive Oculus title.
VRFocus: Have you looked at Oculus Touch at all?
RW: Actually yeah, we’ve been talking about them. We haven’t actually checked them out yet completely, but yeah, we’ve been following very closely.
VRFocus: Ready at Dawn are quite a high profile PlayStation 4 developer, how was the switch coming to VR from high-end console development?
RW: You know what? It’s not been a big switch… One of the things that the studio’s done since it’s inception is always concentrate on what we love and what we love making. And often times, even when people tell us ‘oh we should do this’, we always pick the thing that made us passionate about why we wanted to make games. This project that we basically are doing now on Rift… when we were working on [PlayStation 4] VR was in the back of our minds all the time… and it was like an automatic thing almost. Like, you know; ‘we’re going to have to do this’.
We actually started the process way before we even really signed on and we knew that we were going to do this. It was kind of like an automatic mindset that we had in the team, like; ‘what are we passionate about? What is the next thing for us?’
VRFocus: You said ‘when you signed on’. Did Oculus approach you or did you approach Oculus?
RW: It was kind of like a chance… I should say a ‘chance meeting’. I’ve known Jason [Rubin, Head of Studio at Oculus VR] for a while and we talked a while ago actually. Just shooting the shit really. Just you know, like ‘hey, you know what? This could be really cool…’
We were talking about that and it was really a mutual understanding that this could really work out well because we had hope for VR, and hearing what their target and their hope for VR was, it was pretty amazing. Especially back then when there was no talk about controllers or what they were going to be. I love the mentality of just like solving problems and what VR really meant to Oculus as well.
VRFocus: On what model of Oculus Rift did you begin development?
RW: My first moment was actually, when I was kind of sold on it, was DK2. I followed VR and I loved it as a consumer, but I wasn’t yet ready as a developer. But I think that from DK2 onwards I think we had ideas. For me, Crescent Bay made a huge leap that automatically adds to the sense of presence. At that point it was almost like, ‘got it!’
VRFocus: What are you developing on now?
RW: Right now we’ve basically been toying around with… well, we’ve basically been doing some work with the DK2s, but we’re basically on Crescent Bay.
VRFocus: Can you tell us how long the project has been in development for?
RW: Not very long. It’s actually very recent. I mean, if you can imagine we’ve been finishing The Order … it’s been kind of a mad rush to finish that and then we had to take a little breather, but it’s not been that long. I can’t tell you precisely.
VRFocus: So we’re not talking about The Order VR then?
RW: No no no. Right now we’re actually building something that is very specific to VR. One of the approaches we had with VR was not to think that we would just build anything and put it on VR. Ted [Price, president and CEO, Insomniac Games] said it best; we didn’t decide to make VR because we had a great IP that existed… that we wanted to do something like that. The idea was there, but it was always guided by VR.
The beauty of this is that every decision we’re making right now, we’re making it because of VR. Not because it’s like ‘ahh you know what, how do we basically compromise to get this in VR?’. And that’s a good mentality and a good mindset to be in.
VRFocus: All the titles which Oculus VR have revealed thus far are coming in 2016…
RW: Ahh… I know where you’re going with this! No, not yet. I can’t answer that yet but hopefully soon we’ll be able to talk about it. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to show some of the stuff that we’re working on.