Marvel’s Iron Man VR exclusive to PlayStation and PSVR is your chance to be Tony Stark inside the Iron Man suit.
Recently the game itself has gone Gold, releasing on the 3rd of July 2020, and has given us a decent lengthy play demo, which I fully recommend downloading free from the PlayStation store.
Thanks to PlayStation NZ Shane was given the rare opportunity to speak directly with Ryan Payton, the founder of Camoflaj Studio and former Halo 4 director and Metal Gear Solid 4 producer, about the upcoming virtual reality game – Iron Man VR.
Shane: Can you tell us a little bit about Camoflaj Studio and how Marvel’s Iron Man VR game came to be?
Ryan: Oh, sure. My pleasure. So Camouflaj was founded in the Seattle area about close to nine years ago. And it’s a studio that I started with the same ambition of not being a indie game studio, but being the next great independent, high quality game studio that does big ambitious games like Marvel’s Iron Man VR. As you might have known our first game was a game called Republiq, which we’re incredibly proud of.
But the team has grown in size, significantly since the release of Republiq to match the scope and scale and the ambition level of of Marvel’s Iron Man VR.
And to answer the second part of your question, which is like how this came about, it all started with a fateful meeting between Camoflaj and Marvel Games, I was introduced to them through a mutual friend.
Marvel was looking for a developer to build the quintessential Marvel superhero driven VR game. And we were we were challenged with, like, what character we want to focus on. When we talked internally within Camoflaj, it was really quick to come up – we couldn’t think of a more perfect Marvel superhero to pair with VR than Iron Man. When we thought about the way that his helmet works and his 3D HUD works on pairing that with the PlayStation VR headset it’s a perfect pairing, as well as the thrusters where Iron Man flies and then there are pulsars, how Iron Man shoots then pairing that with the PlayStation Move controllers, for example, was also just a perfect pairing.
And then once we actually built our initial prototype, and then drove down to Los Angeles and showed that to Marvel, they were all in from that point on and then we just got started working on the game and it’s been just whirlwind experience as we get close to the July 3 (2020), release date for the game.
Shane: Why was Iron Man chosen as opposed to like, Spider-Man, or any of the other Marvel characters?
Ryan: One thing I thought was fascinating about the development of the game is that literally within the first week or two, we nailed the flight mechanics, which players are now really enjoying and having a great time with with via the free demo that we released last Thursday. And early on in development we also really nailed the combat, the melee attack as you could do like a rocket punch to enemies and how you can blast your pulsors from the palms of your hands and also blast enemies with a gesture so you can fire auxiliary weapons from your gauntlets like missiles and anti-tank missiles and things like that.
But one thing that was missing early on in development, which we of course corrected as soon as we possibly could, is that while we felt like we had a great light based VR action simulator, didn’t feel superhero enough for us. We didn’t feel like we were Iron Man enough. And that’s when we started integrating additional elements that we at least internally call superhero actions.
We have three of those represented in the demo. For example, when you go up in in and extinguish the fire on the jet in that one mission, or you repair the wing or you release the landing gear of the jet. Those are three examples where players are doing unique things that leverage the special strengths of PlayStation VR, but also allow players to really feel like they’re a superhero. And so from that point on, we just started to integrate more and more of those elements throughout the whole campaign. So players are continuously reminded that this is beyond just an action simulator that you are Iron Man, and you’re doing these things in a way that only VR can afford.
Shane: Iron Man VR releases on July 3 (2020), what can PlayStation gamers expect?
Ryan: Well, what PlayStation gamers and especially PlayStation VR enthusiasts can expect is, I think a lot of ways what they are looking for. I’m a big VR player. I’m a huge PlayStation VR enthusiast and along with millions of the other, you know, owners of the hardware I think I could I could speak for a lot of them that they want bigger, more robust, more ambitious VR games that they’ve played up to this point. And I think that they’re going to ask for that because I think the early years of VR are really fun and really important, but developers weren’t given a lot of time to get comfortable with the hardware and to make content. And one of the amazing things that we’ve been afforded thanks to our partners and friends at PlayStation and Marvel is that they understand that what players want is a really big VR, a big and ambitious VR experience with Marvel’s Iron Man VR.
So we’ve been given the amount of time to be able to execute on that. And so I think what players can expect is not only Camoflaj executing on the Iron Man simulator aspect of the game, but it’s what’s coming is that it’s also a really great Tony Stark simulator as well. What I mean by that is that the story is at its core about Tony and Tony facing up against his own demons. And we wanted to put players in the shoes of Tony Stark, this genius inventor, who’s not only tweaking the suit in his garage, and doing all the fun things that Tony is all about. And in coming face to face with classic Marvel characters like Pepper Potts, and Friday and Nick Fury, and villains like Ghost, that they also are able to go deeper into this character, who, like all of us has his own share of struggles. And through VR, we want players to really be able to empathize with a character like this and walk away from the game once the campaign is over, hopefully changes people in some way.
Shane: I know that developing games is not easy and VR probably even more trickier. So what were some of the most amazing, ‘oh wow’ moments?
Ryan: Yeah. So, there are a lot to say. And that’s one of the fun things about game development is that on a daily basis, you’re confronted with challenges. And one of the fun and addicting things about game development is overcoming those challenges and moving on to the next one is as you’re doing that the game is getting better and better and better.
Now we’re at my favorite season of Game Development. Because the game has gone Gold officially, now we’re in that final phase where we’re just bug fixing and polishing the game. And and that’s my favorite part of development.
But to answer your question, one example I can think of where we overcame a challenge, and it was just so invigorating, was early on in development, we were loving the flight mechanics, but we wanted to have a space that really leveraged that mechanic. And I think one of the first environments we built was a downtown Metropolis city environment. Because we couldn’t think of a better place to really test out the mechanics when you’re flying between buildings, ground pounding to the floor and avoiding enemies, and like, circling around an enemy that was chasing you and, like, losing them in between buildings. That environment has stuck with the game all the way until we ship it and is now represented in a downtown Shanghai environment. That is like one of the big, big temple environments and missions in the game.
Shane: So Iron Man VR, 3rd of July. What is next up for Camoflaj after that date?
Ryan: We don’t know. The whole team at Camouflaj is focused on making Marvel’s Iron Man VR, the absolute best PlayStation VR exclusive game we possibly can make. And the only thing else about the future is that the team loves VR, we hope that we continue to develop in VR and we believe that VR has a really, really bright future. But in the meantime, we’re just focused on making this game as awesome and as great as possible leading up to launch on July 3 (2020).
Shane: Fantastic, we are looking forward to the full release of Iron Man VR. Thank you so much for talking the time to talk to us today and also a huge shout out and thanks to yourself Ryan and the team at Camoflaj for making one the greatest PSVR games to date.
Iron Man VR is an exclusive release to PlayStation for PSVR. There is a free demo available now from the PlayStation store, the games’ full release is the 3rd of July 2020.
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