Developer Reload Studios, made up of former Infinity Ward employees, creators of the mighty Call of Duty franchise, has shared details of its plans to produce a VR focussed first person shooter targeting VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift.

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James Chung, CEO and Founder of Reload Studios
Taehoon Oh, co-founder of Reload Studios

In an interview with Gamespot, CEO and Founder of fledgling game studio Reload, has detailed his team’s plans to make their first game a virtual reality first person, arena based multiplayer shooter. The title is as of yet unnamed.

James Chung says that the team is targeting VR as the primary platform for their new project, acknowledging the challenges specific to VR development.

“Our focus is on virtual reality because you can’t just port or make a non-virtual reality game and expect it to work. The games on VR have to be made from the ground up. So we are making a game from the ground up to make sure it will work on VR.” An encouraging sentiment from a hardened console developer.

Chung, who also admits an FPS is something that might have been expected from a group of Call of Duty veterans, insists that this project is a little different.

Trying a shooter in VR is actually difficult because nobody has a solution on how to make the experience compelling, especially on the controls issue. A lot of people have a lot of points on what not to do, but not a lot of people are coming up with what to do. And that’s the side that we’re trying to resolve,” Chung told Gamespot.

reload loadOf course, Call of Duty fans shouldn’t expect the experience to translate directly to VR; realistic VR will need to curtail expectations or at least redefine them.

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Early on, Valve discovered quickly that despite seemingly made for VR, first person shooters in their current state can be a pretty uncomfortable experience. Quick turns and an accelerated run speed are recipes for motion sickness in VR. So, how does Chung intend to shape their new VR game to deal with this?

“We don’t expect initial VR devices to accommodate users to play for a very long time… we’re trying to come up with gameplay that is in short bursts. Obviously if the user chooses to play for a long time they can, but as far as gameplay is concerned we’re cutting things out or making sure the map size is for a shorter period of time instead of hours at a time,” he said.

Earlier in the year, the studio celebrated the delivery of their Oculus Rift DK2, stating “..our game runs great on it,” so the announcement isn’t a complete surprise, but it’s encouraging to see yet another top flight developer not only consider VR but focus specifically on it for new projects. What’s more, the ambitious studio plans to allow non-VR players to play alongside their VR headset owning comrades.

“The few games that are being made for VR from the ground up, [the developers] have a game that’s specifically focused on highlighting something in VR. Whereas we’re taking a very different approach where we’re making a game, where we’re looking at what aspects in VR we could take advantage of to really make the experience in VR a lot better. So the person who’s playing on the non-VR version, we’re not diminishing that experience in any way.” said Reload’s Executive Producer, Pete Blumel.

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The studio plans to release the first Alpha early next year with a full release towards the end of 2015, by which time Oculus is expected to have released their long awaited consumer Oculus Rift. We’ll keep an eye on Reload’s progress in the mean time.

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