Developer Niklas Persson is working on bringing the visceral, gore-soaked carnage of the Doom series to virtual reality with HordeZ, a multi-player coop shooter for the HTC Vive.
Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, there’s very little in the world of gaming more satisfying than laying waste to hordes of evil demons / zombies / aliens / <insert antagonist here> with heavy weaponry. This, along with some very impressive game engine technology, is a large part of what made Doom such a PC gaming classic back in the 90s. Now, imagine if you could experience all of that, in virtual reality, with motion controls allowing you to dual wield realistically whilst sharing the experience with friends.
Well, developer Niklas Persson, founder of studio ZenzVR, is creating a game offering just that. Clearly a fan of the aforementioned carnage, his new game HordeZ, in development for the HTC Vive, very much seems to channel the essence of the id franchise.
Persson himself hails from the gaming industry, having founded the studio Refraction – responsible for Battlefield: 1942. That studio would later become DICE, who you will doubtless know from the continuing Battlefield franchise. Persson took a 14 year hiatus from the games industry, now returning to make games in virtual reality, which has been a long-time passion of his.
“Hordez is meant to be a full throttle action shooter from start to finish played out in the near future,” Persson tells me, “It immerses you in a classic world of zombies and demons threatening to take over the world.” So far so familiar. Persson continues “The game offers an immersive experience of non-stop carnage in a true room-scale virtual reality with multiple levels and different settings.” But here’s where the addition of VR and 1:1 motion controls begin to separate HordeZ from the average monitor based PC shooter. “Every shot you make is entirely up to your own aiming skills. Headshots will take out the zombies stone cold so having a good aim surely helps a lot!”
And this is the key. Take a relatively derivative idea, transfer it to virtual reality where you share the same space with demons, fending them off with virtual weapons as extensions of your own physical hands, and it becomes a potentially more compelling prospect.
So how will the game be structured? “The game will include 8 different levels/settings which can be played solo or co-op up to 2 players. There will also be 3 death-match levels where you play against each-other and the zombies in a large room where you can be up to 4 players in a 2 vs 2 vs Zombies playmode,” says Persson.
It’s early days for HordeZ in terms of development, and whilst the originality of the concept is clearly minimal, the power of room-scale virtual reality with intuitive, motion controlled shooting action, all within an oppressive world you share with a friend, could yield exciting results.