Chronos from Gunfire Games is one of the 30 titles you’ll be able to play at Oculus Rift’s launch on March 28th and it represents a revisiting of the traditional adventure game mechanics of yesteryear, brought up to date in virtual reality. Ben Lang spoke with Gunfire’s President David Adams to find out why the studio decided to step into the past with their venture into the future of games.
Gunfire Games is the studio formed from talent that worked on the critically acclaimed Darksiders series, specifically from the now defunct studio Vigil Games. The new studio is now about to bring their latest title, third person virtual reality adventure Chronos, to the Oculus Rift. Ben Lang, who was left impressed after his hands-on with the title at Oculus’ Pre-GDC ‘Game Days’ event, spoke to the studio’s President David Adams to learn a little more about what drove Chonos‘ design direction.
Adams’ first speaks to the traditional feel of Chronos, in particular its faith in the player’s ability to find their own path to immersion and entertainment. “Very early on we decided that we didn’t want to make a game that handheld the player,” says Adams, “One of the cool things about VR is that you’re just in this world, enjoying it, looking around and doing stuff, and I think if you just push a player through the game I think they’re missing out on a lot of stuff.” He continues “We really wanted to encourage people to stop, look around, think and enjoy themselves and part of that was like ‘Hey! We’re not going to tell you exactly what to do, you’re gonna have to figure it out.”
Chronos‘ inspirations run a wide variety of franchises and genres too, everything from the classic Lucasarts’ point and click adventure Secret of Monkey Island to survival horror Resident Evil. But Chronos is an RPG at heart “From a depth of character progression and the combat … a lot of inspirations from a ton of RPGs.” In terms of look and feel however, the team wanted to adopt a fantasy, fairy tale aesthetic.
One of Chronos‘ core gameplay ideas however centres around the ever marching progression of time. Ben goes into more detail about this in his more detailed hands-on piece, but Adams’ speaks a little of this here. “As part of the mythos of the game and how [the character] gets between all these fantasy worlds, a consequence of that is that, when he dies in one of these fantasy worlds … he regenerates but he’s lost a year of his life,” Adams continues, “How that comes into play is that, when you start the game and you’re young, it’s very easy to progress in physical things like agility and strength and vitality. But as you get older that becomes more difficult, but you become more magical.”
As to why Chronos, a 3rd person adventure title was developed for VR at all, Adam’s says that the fixed camera perspective was something that they’re initial experience in VR game design had taught them. “When we were working on [Herobound] Spirit Champion for Gear VR, we were gonna pitch this game to Oculus and we tried a bunch of different camera angles … we tried some that involved movement, some with teleportation and it was one where the game played the best!”
Chronos is one of the 30 launch titles for the Oculus Rift VR headset when it launches on March 28th. It’ll be available via the Oculus Store and will set you back $49.99.