First Contact Entertainment, developers behind the tactical team shooter franchise Firewall, is shuttering the studio, citing the “lack of support for VR within the industry.”

Founded in 2016, First Contact has developed two of the PSVR platform’s most visible exclusives: Firewall Zero Hour (2018) and the recently released sequel Firewall Ultra (2023), which landed solely on PSVR 2.

In a Facebook post, the studio says the move to shut down the studio is based on the inability to recoup on development costs. Here’s the full post below:

“After almost 8 years of working with the most amazing team I’ve ever have the pleasure of being part of, I’m sad to announce that we will be closing our company First Contact Entertainment by the end of the year. The lack of support for VR within the industry has eventually taken its toll. As a AAA VR game developer, we are just not able to justify the expense needed gouging forward. We are a team of fearless innovators willing to push new technologies to its limits. I am extremely proud of the team and grateful to our investors, our partners and of course our community of dedicated and passionate players. It’s been a wild ride, Thankyou!”

Firewall Zero Hour was largely hailed as PSVR’s first ‘AAA’ team shooter, focusing mainly on search and destroy game mode which requires one team to defend a complex whilst the other attacks and hacks a set data point. Zero Hour did well on PSVR, garnering a Metacritic score of 79/100.

The franchise’s PSVR 2 exclusive follow-up Firewall Ultra fared less well, garnering a middling Metacritic score of 61/100, with many critics citing issues with the game’s control scheme and amount of gameplay variety.

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While Firewall was undoubtedly the studio’s most central projects, First Contact also developed Solaris Offworld Combat (2021), a Quake-style multiplayer shooter that offered up cross-play between Quest, PSVR, and PC VR headsets. On the Quest platform, the game currently sports a user rating of [3.5/5] stars.

However you slice it, it appears the studio was mostly hanging its hopes on the widespread adoption of PSVR 2, which is still very much up in the air as the Quest standalone platform continues to outperform. To boot, Sony has largely stayed mum on what its next slew of games will be, leaving the platform without the critical mass of exclusives to not only potentially convert PS5 owners to the console’s latest VR headset, but keep them coming back for more. The exit of one of the platform’s most ardent, and likely best-funded supporters also doesn’t bode well.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • PerpetuallySkeptical

    You live by the aim, you die by the aim.

  • Nevets

    Now, if Rockstar would only add some quality VR DLC to GTA6 on PSVR2, then VR (and PSVR2) would probably go through the roof. It’ll never happen, at least not so long as Xbox has no VR compatibility…but just imagine.

    • Naruto Uzumaki

      Ps5 will struggle to reach 30 fps in gta 6 you could play in vr at 15 fps

      • ViRGiN

        And it still would be glorious.

    • gothicvillas

      I’ll settle on GTA5 vr

  • ViRGiN

    It’s strange how people crapped on this game for being non-VR essentially, and then the same people are hyper-excited to play Cats with UEVR and even worse controls, or play a bunch of PC FPS with the same control scheme as Firewall.

  • Mike_Of_Sweden

    I loved the first Firewall but Firewall Ultra is the worst vr shooter I ever played. The gun mechanics are horrible and its impossible to play with a gunstock. How a relatively experienced vr studio can make such stupid decisions is unfathomable to me… Whish it was possible to do a refund!

    • ViRGiN

      I guess loud minority asked for such control scheme?
      Same crap happend with Alvo game.

      The same people who crapped on Firewall/Crossfire, and calling out “Questies” for waiting for a 20 year old GTA SA port for VR are now hyper-immersed with even crappier controls thans to UEVR.

      • Stealth Ico

        People were already clowning on FCE with the first Firewall game having weird controls, but it was excused by the PSVR1’s mediocre tracking and from first hand experience, playing with the PSVR aim controller was actually fun. The game had a lot of problems but at least it was fun to play.

        The difference between the original game and Ultra is that the PSVR 2 has great tracking, and it has actual competitor shooters on the platform (Pavlov, and Breachers, which released on PSVR 2 recently). A lot of the weird design decisions from the first game do not make sense on the PSVR 2 with good 6DOF hand tracked controllers and no gun accessory.

        Did you know on Firewall Ultra, there’s a dedicated button to AIM DOWN SIGHTS??? IN A VR GAME??? AND YOU HAVE TO AIM DOWN SIGHTS TO HAVE THE BEST ACCURACY???

        It is unreal what they were trying to get away with, hoping that people would just eat it up, and throwing years and years of established VR design concepts away.

        They don’t have the VR market to blame, they don’t have Sony to blame, they only have themselves to blame. Hard stop.

        • ViRGiN

          I know all the blunders of Firewall, and do not understand their design choices. Shame, cause the game looks high quality, it’s miles above from such an outdated game like Pavlov.
          But the same thing happened with Alvo. Launched on PSVR1, apparently was successfull enough to continue running to this day, and the developer made all ‘the same’ non-immersive choices. It basically plays like a gamepad game, button to reload, throwing grenade etc.
          And you know what?
          People love this through UEVR. The hell is going on here LMAO.

          • Stealth Ico

            Alvo was successful because unlike Firewall which had only a set amount of rounds a match, then you wait in a lobby for 5+ minutes, Alvo had modes like TDM and quick lobby timers. Otherwise it wasn’t built very well but /r/PSVR standards are low and continue to be low anyway, which is a good thing that Breachers and Pavlov now exist on the PSVR 2 so they can play actual good VR shooters.

            also what is UEVR? is it that VR mod on PC that lets you play non VR games in VR? I think it’s not really useful to compare a tool that makes non VR games playable in VR, and a game that’s only playable in VR and does a shitty job of implementing VR mechanics and design. (aka Firewall Ultra rofl)

          • kakek

            Yeah, that’s what UEVR is.
            He just hates PCVR, so he needs to crap on it somehow.

          • ViRGiN

            You just hate ViRGiN.

          • kakek

            Not even man.
            But recently you’ve been a bit less entertaining.

            If you want the actual answer to “People love this through UEVR. The hell is going on here” it’s obviously because people love it when it’s added for free to a metric shitons of AA and AAA games that have “no VR at all” as the alternative.

            It’s still not their favorite on a native VR title, where it’s a deliberate choice by the devs’.

            Also, it will have different impact depending of the genre of the game. In realistic-ish shooter, it matters a lot more than if whacky sci-fi shooter.

            Overall, it’s detrimental to the game, but not a dealbreaker if the rest of the game is good.

            Ence why people will at the same time criticise it when it’s a deliberate choice in a VR native squad shooter, and love it when it’s an alternative to nothing in a bunch of of other games.

    • kool

      I’m not sure why they didn’t have a third party gun option and also Solaris was doa how multiplayer shooter did they think they could support?

  • Stealth Ico

    They only have themselves to blame. They are lucky that the original Firewall had virtually no competition on the original PSVR. They were the only modern multiplayer VR shooter on the platform and took advantage of that fact. Not to mention the AIM controller was a solid accessory that they implemented well.

    However, they learned nothing or ignored all criticism for the 2nd game on the now modern PSVR2, which has actual competitors like Pavlov and Breachers who actually know how to make a good VR shooter using 6DOF hand controls.

    They don’t have anyone to blame for poor sales and reviews but themselves. Seeing the CEO blame “the lack of VR support” is baffling and quite frankly, an insult to the players who purchased a flawed product.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I don’t think he’s blaming players for poor sales, “within the industry” might address gaming comnpanies like AAA studios/publisher/Sony.

      Claims that FCE are the only ones to blame might be true, but could also be unfair. A studio can run out of money for many reasons. People point out lots of mistakes (no proper PSVR2 support, bad controls, buggy, no Quest port), but for fixing them they’d need money they possibly didn’t have, as even popular PSVR1 titles still had to deal with 95% of PS4 gamers not buying/owning a HMD. He might target Sony, who for years didn’t even commit to release a PSVR2, then priced it higher than the PS5 and didn’t push it during launch. Shutting down now may be a reaction to Sony (again) not launching big ad campaigns or attractive bundles for Christmas to improve interest/sales.

      Another reason may be AAAs not buying into Sony’s hybrid strategy. Many smaller studios survive by doing contract work. FCE may have relied on getting hired as an experienced PSVR dev team by larger studios wanting to add VR modes like GT7 or RE4/8. Such income sources never materializing could have been the final nail in the coffin.

      There is a “lack of support for (PS)VR within the industry”, contributing to FCE’s dwindling resources, needed to invest more to get enough sales to survive. I doubt they blame gamers, usually game devs are grateful for those.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        You say they didn’t commit to PS VR 2 when the headset was designed in parallel with PS5 before the console released. The only thing decided later was the eye tracking with Tobii. PS VR 2 was always coming. Could it have used more marketing? Definitely. But something tells me Sony has been managing profit over trying to take losses like they used to with previous consoles. Which shows in their record profit margins and sales.

        I guarantee that more will happen this year than last. But there’s no getting around the fact that yes, it could be cheaper. But gamers asked for better and they got exactly what they were crying about with PSVR resolution, controllers, etc. Even PSVR cost more than PS4 at the time. PS VR 2 would obviously cost more. But it’s only $50 more than PSVR launch price and includes way better controllers as standard.

        Anyway, the developer chose not to listen to gamers in the first game and just did things how they wanted. Then, released another shooter no one wanted. Gamers just wanted First Contact to fix Firewall and make it better. Finally, they released a broken game at launch missing VR immersion of using our hands. Then points at others then themselves of why they are closing.

        They obviously DIDN’T value the games as they continued to not listen to them. Or test the game with gamers before launching.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          “I think we’re more than a few minutes from the future of VR, … Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that. And we’re very pleased with all the experience that we’ve gained with PlayStation VR, and we look forwarding to seeing where that takes us in the future.

          Sony PS CEO Jim Ryan just before PS5 launched. That’s the opposite of building a platform/audience and developer support. PSVR2 was developed in parallel, but they obviously hadn’t yet deciced if they’d release it. Without the success of Quest 2, Sony might have scrapped the project instead, leaving PS5 with a patched on PSVR1.

          VR is tiny, with maybe 10mn active users across all platforms, the minimum for a single platform to become sustainable and profitable according to Zuckerberg. VR game development is still like Russian roulette with a few winners and many losers. FCE made many mistakes, but one was counting on Sony to push PSVR, who first hesitated and then completely switched the strategy to AAA hybrids and high end, incl. selling a technically simple HMD (the PS5 does all the magic) that’s cheaper to produce than a Quest 2 for a lot more. A good strategy for Sony, but I understand FCE’s “lack of support” sentiment.

          • Leisure Suit Barry

            PSVR2 was greenlit before the Jim Ryan era, he would of never greenlit it. In fact rumors are it was more Japan head office wanting VR and not Playstation head office

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            VR for strategic reasons being forced onto an unwilling CEO deliberately dragging his feet is just the level of enthusiasm and support an already struggling platform needs.

        • Leisure Suit Barry

          PSVR2 is way overpriced, it has a cheaper manufacture cost than Quest 3 yet is more expensive.

          And apart from the eye tracked foveated rendering the headset is already dated specs wise. Fresnel lenses with tiny sweet spot, resolution on the low side, bulky

  • What a pity. I hope its employees will find a new job soon

    • gothicvillas

      So they can make another shoddy game??

      • Octogod

        Nobody sets out to make a game people don’t love. Reality has time and money constraints, not to mention engine and new tech restrictions. The developers there may be super talented, so attacking their work in perpetuity is nonsense.

    • XRC

      Hopefully happy landings to all involved without parachute

  • Rob

    If you develop games exclusively for a single and small vr platform this shouldnt be a surprise. Sony remains pretty silent on how many psvr2s are sold. I dont think it sold very well over the last months. And I dont expect it to improve. If you develop games butvdont bring them to the biggest platform (quest) it will be very hard to make money with it.

  • Erilis

    I wanted to get this game, I love to get more use of eye tracking, since this is my first headset with eye tracking. But I just don’t like the idea of paying for subscription, just to go online. I pay Fios for that. A good multiplayer for VR has to be on all platforms, and preferably also on quest, then there’s enough multiplayer count. I don’t know what went wrong with Solaris, I just know I kept waiting in lobby for like 10 min, and they couldn’t populate with bots. I would t wait in a lobby 10 min when I could be playing The Finals and have a blast

    • Dragon Marble

      But I just don’t like the idea of paying for subscription, just to go online.

      That’s why I bought Arizona Sunshine 2 from Meta even through I miss the adaptive triggers.

  • Dragon Marble

    Despite the CEO blaming the “support for VR” not being able to “justify the expense”, not putting enough development effort into the game explains its downfall. It’s clear that they tried to reuse from Firewall Zero as much as possible and innovate as little as possible — probably to reduce cost. Everything feels the same: the maps, game mechanics — even the server problems!

  • Leisure Suit Barry

    PSVR2 was DOA as soon as they revealed the price. Shame really

    And the lenses are terrible and comfort is somehow worse than PSVR1