Ben Lang caught up with Oculus Studios Designer Ryan Rutherford at Oculus Game Days to find out how the impressive western multi-player shooter Dead & Buried, ended up as as a flagship motion control title for the Rift after starting life on the humble Gear VR.
Dead & Buried is a title so confident in its application of the Oculus Touch motion controllers’ potential that it’s hard to believe it wasn’t conceived expressly for them. “The game started out as a Gear VR / Rift title, using the game pad or the touchpad to have just a one on one street dual,” says Dead & Buried Designer Ryan Rutherford, “then Touch came along and it was just a natural fit.”
Dead & Buried is a western multi-player, first person shooter from Oculus Studios which delights in the mechanics of gun-play and, of course, blasting your friends in the face. The delight is that special feeling you get when a control scheme harnesses what’s inherently satisfying or cool about a real life activity and translates that into an experience accessible for everyone. This sums the core of Dead & Buried‘s key appeal up nicely.
“You’re grabbing your guns from your holsters, you’re grabbing other weapons, you’re throwing dynamite, you’re actually aiming with your touch controllers and your hands … it was just a natural fit for the game.”
Ryan lays out the basics of gameplay for those uninitiated “We have your classic six shooter, so everyone starts with that, they’re always in your holsters so you never lose them. So in true western fashion, when the match starts you have to pull the guns from your holsters and shoot.” Rutherford continues “We also have a shot gun called ‘The Punisher’ which has two shots in it, it’s very powerful. We also have dynamite to pick up and throw. We have a gun called the ‘One Shot’ which is just one large weapon, and it has one giant shell in it – basically a grenade launcher.” The weapons in the game aren’t random choices on the part of the designers either, “We design the weapons to sort of accommodate the gameplay. We noticed a lot of people were able to get behind cover and hide, luckily people picked up that concept very quickly. So we designed weapons to get them back out of cover.”
Back to the delights of the gameplay itself, Rutherford elucidates on the team’s approach to those moments, “We try and reduce the mental load on the player, especially in VR and Touch in general, because it’s a whole new type of control mechanism,” So, specifically in relation to those gloriously satisfying reload mechanics, “Flipping [Your gun’s chamber] in and flipping out makes a lot of sense, it’s fun it’s rewarding. You hear the click as the chambers come out and then click it back. For the shotgun you actually flip [the gun] down and then flip back. We don’t have you pressing a button.”
Dead & Buried is scheduled for launch this year, probably around the time of Oculus Touch launch towards the end of 2016. For now, check out Ben Lang’s latest hands-on with the title at Oculus Game Days just prior to GDC in March.