Virtual reality (VR) studios are starting to thrive as the technology finally heads towards the consumer market. One of the more recent studios to have been revealed is Endeavor One, an indie team made up of former members of Halo and Destiny developer Bungie. Last month saw the group release its first title, JUMP, for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). VRFocus recently spoke to co-founders Tom Doyle (pictured) and Sherry Floyd about the team and what it hopes to achieve in this new landscape.
In the interview below, Endeavor One talks about its beginnings. The developers look back on why they left Bungie and how long it took for JUMP to come together. There’s also talk of the future, looking at how the team wants to separate itself from other VR studios and which other VR HMDs it is working with.
VRFocus: Why did you decide to break away from Bungie and start working on VR?
Tom Doyle [TD]: I had an early Valve Vive demo, and I couldn’t shake the experience. It just seemed like the perfect time. Never before have there been this many big players dedicated to VR as a platform. It is a historic moment in gaming, and the right time for our team to make our mark on this new world of virtual experiences. How often in a lifetime do chances like this come up?
VRFocus: How is your experience working on the likes of Halo and Destiny helping with work in VR?
TD: It boils down to our attention to detail, focus on player experience, and polish. Our team has collected 90 years of experience working on AAA games. There are so many lessons learned in our combined experience that are helping inform the types of games we make in VR. Our first-person pedigree alone gives us a leg up on how we tackle the new challenges that VR provides.
VRFocus: When did you set up the studio and how long has JUMP been in development?
Sherry Floyd: Endeavor One was formed last fall, although the team itself didn’t come together until early 2015. JUMP took approximately 5 full-time months to complete. We were very fortunate to have a lot of support from friends and family to make JUMP happen.
VRFocus: The team is looking to tackle locomotion in VR but the premise of JUMP has some fans worried about sickness. How are you avoiding this?
TD: We are approaching this in a few different ways:
– We have a unique camera code setup that we have found helps reduce motion discomfort.
– Our art style is very stylized and minimalistic, which reduces eye fatigue over time.
– We are also dedicated to true 90hz per eye on supported SteamVR HMDs.
That being said – JUMP is a VR experience where you enjoy the power fantasy of being a high-flying superhero.Your pulse will race.
VRFocus: Will there be any cross-platform features or differences between the Oculus Rift and Gear VR versions?
TD: We are looking at custom content and features for both of these VR platforms in the near future.
VRFocus: Can you tell us anything about your other projects and how they also look at VR locomotion?
TD: Our next project is investigating motion controls and room scale VR (where the player freely locomotes through space naturally).
VRFocus: When might we see more news on your other titles?
TD: Mostly likely leading up to the launch windows of the varied VR HMD releases.
VRFocus: JUMP is only available for Oculus Rift right now and coming to Gear VR. Do you have plans to work on HTC Vive and Project Morpheus too?
TD: JUMP will be supported on the Vive! It currently runs on our HTC development kit. We would love to bring JUMP and our other projects to as many VR platforms as possible!