Virtual reality (VR) developer EnsenaSoft has released a number of immersive titles for PC-based headsets, with the most recent being a cute Mario Kart style racer called Renzo Racer. After an early access release in 2018, Renzo Racer became a fully-fledged experience a couple of weeks ago. To learn more about the company and its VR plans CEO Samuel DenHartog gave VRFocus the full story.
In the beginning…
EnsenaSoft was founded in Mazatlán, Mexico on August 2009 by Blanca Valencia (President) and Samuel DenHartog (CEO). We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary! We originally focused on making educational videogames but quickly found that our more casual educational games like Ultimate Hangman and Fantastic 4 In A Row did much better. In 2010 we made Mahjong Deluxe which really took off and we did more mobile videogames for quite some time. In the last few years, we then have made PC and some VR titles. Our most recent videogame, Renzo Racer, is a PC based kart racer that is both desktop and VR. Besides Blanca and myself, we have 6 full-time artists and 8 full-time developers.
Why you do what you do?
We are creating videogames because that is what we all love to do! I think to create videogames you have to really have a passion for it because it is a tough industry. It is hard for most of us to imagine ever wanting to do anything else. We continually try new things and learn, which is part of why we made casual mobile games to PC to VR and to console games. We believe our move to 3D models and creating worlds is helping us prepare for the future when most games will be played in VR or AR. In many ways, EnsenaSoft is a journey for all of us, we try to make great games and hope that people enjoy them along the way.
We created Renzo Racer because we really like kart style games and felt we could create a fun one. We wanted to try and create one with more realistic physics than most. This creates a videogame that is a little different than most kart racing titles. We have a whole set of animal characters and have brought them to life in other videogames such as Miko Mole, Bayla Bunny and Pepe Porcupine, but this was a chance to bring them all together in one great experience. We have been working on Renzo Racer for 3 years and are very proud of what our small team in Mexico was able to accomplish. It is quite amazing what we can create today compared to the games we started with 10 years ago!
One of the things we really wanted to support was VR in Renzo Racer. We still use the normal controller as it makes the most sense for this type of game. With the VR market still being small, this is our first videogame that we made both as a desktop videogame and a VR videogame. We have already a VR only version for the HTC Viveport store and are working now on a version for Oculus Rift. Experiencing the game in VR is very different from playing on the screen as you are in the car and can look around and enjoy the scenery in a way that is not available on the desktop.
Renzo Racer is now live on Steam, Windows Store and HTC Viveport. Working with our console publishing partner JoinDots, Renzo Racer will be coming to the Switch console by the end of the year. We are very excited about this release as the Switch has been very popular with independent developers and we think this game will be a great fit for the console and audience.
Looking towards the future
We are very excited about the progress of VR and in particular, mobile VR headsets like the Oculus Quest. We have already brought two of our earlier VR experiences, VR Theme Park Rides and VR Jogger, to Google DayDream. It is so great to be able to easily play anywhere one wants. I expect as VR and AR converge into a single headset and they get lighter and smaller, it will really take off. I imagine people are going to pretty much live with AR always on as it becomes part of our daily lives and will enter VR experiences as well when they want more immersive play. We are excited to be experimenting with both VR and AR now and believe the things we are learning will help us be ready when the future comes. We would love to bring it to Oculus Quest in the future if we could get approved.