The high-octane shooter A-Tech Cybernetic is a popular choice in Viveport Subscription and it’s easy to see why. Built from the ground up for VR, the effort that XREAL Games has put into making their virtual world feel real is obvious from the start.
With the latest update to the game – Chapter 4 – now available on Viveport and in Viveport Subscription, we fired over a few questions to Kornel Meszaros, Lead VR Developer and co-founder at XREAL Games, to find out more about A-Tech and the future.
Interview by Nathan Ortega, Vive Staff
Hello Kornel! Tell us a bit about XREAL Games.
Most of our team members have many years of expertise in mobile and PC game development, and for the last 2-3 years the main focus of the company has been making high-end virtual reality titles. Our goal is to create the best games and experiences the rapidly improving VR market can offer. Currently we have two games in development: A-Tech Cybernetic, which has been out since March 2017, and the highly anticipated Zero Caliber VR, which is currently in Closed Alpha testing with over 400 participants.
What inspired your team to develop A-Tech Cybernetic?
Our goal was to develop the most fluid and, at the same time, most fun shooter experience for VR. One of our inspirations was Doom (2016) for it’s fast paced gameplay and graphic action sequences which we wanted to build on, adding our own style to it. The semi-horror setting and the zombies were great starters, but on the way we added a lot of unique monster concepts as well.
Are there any particular influences on the world of A-Tech, from the weapons to the environments to enemies?
We prefer crafting our own weapons, enemies, environments and stories in the world of A-Tech so we created the unique parts ourselves without any direct influence. However, some of our weapons are based on our community’s members’ opinions and suggestions.
Were there any particular challenges you encountered during the making of A-Tech?
Building a game in a new franchise from the ground up is always a bumpy road. On top of that, we started our studio at the same time, which provided unique challenges. Fortunately our community’s feedback and persistent cheering kept us going, and we were able to put out the game to Early Access, which helped improve things a lot. Despite how tough the start of the journey was, we were thankful to gain the attention of professional VR players like SweViver on YouTube, which helped put a lot of eyes on our game. We are incredibly grateful for their continuous support. With this, along with the growing number of fans and their feedback, we were able to create an experience that is said by many to be one of the best in VR. That said, visibility is still a continual challenge in the world of VR development, as well as keeping up with the continuous advancements of VR technology.
A-Tech has been in active development since the initial release. How has user feedback impacted the direction of the game as you continue adding new features and content updates?
We try to listen to every one of our players and consider their feedback when improving the game. If someone suggest something really fun in the context of the game we do our best to implement it (for example some of the weapons are based on players’ feedbacks). At first there was no story mode in the game, however we found that players’ would value it the most so we steered the development to this direction for everyone’s satisfaction.
Is there a design concept (weapon, enemy, environment) that you wanted to incorporate into A-Tech so far but haven’t been able to?
Absolutely. There are several ideas for all of them which we are currently exploring or have explored and set up for an upcoming chapter. Here’s a little teaser: you might be able to play with an exploding-projectile handgun or in an antigravitational spaceship wreckage or come across the most frightening, most gruesome creature we ever put in the game in an upcoming chapter.
How many chapters are planned for A-Tech?
There are plans to add 2 more after the existing 4 with an additional tutorial-like prequel chapter meaning the final chapter count might go up to 7. Just don’t forget that there are 4 more swarm mode levels and also we are exploring the idea of co-op level chapters.
When can players expect to experience the thrilling conclusion?
Our main goal is to make the game as polished as we can, so we will need to finish the gameplay elements before we can work the conclusion for the game. This means that players might have to wait a bit to experience the story in full. However, stay on your toes because the final boss fight is already under development!
Are there any exciting new features planned for future updates to A-Tech?
The final chapters are definitely in development. On top of that, we are currently exploring the possibilities of co-op mode. In terms of new features, we have some explosive new weapons and VR interactions cooking (like a rocket launcher, for example)
How big was your team throughout the development?
We started with 3 members when making a prototype and quickly grew to 6-8, with the team now at around 15 members. We’re continuously growing based on the project needs, and even though we are working extra hard on our second game, Zero Caliber VR, we are not abandoning A-Tech; quite the contrary, as we are always adding new content and have plans to finish the game and have its full release by Q1 2019.
What’s next from XREAL?
On top of continual A-Tech updates, we are working on our second title, Zero Caliber VR. The game is a tactical shooter set in the dystopian US, hit by water scarcity. Players control a soldier who must set out to face the mysterious cult called the Tlalokii with their squad. Zero Caliber VR features realistic weapon handling movements, a thrilling story and graphics that test the limits of VR hardware. To avoid the mistakes made with our first release, we have delayed the release of the demo and have given the opportunity to more than 400 enthusiastic players to test the game in a week long closed Alpha testing, in order for us to be able to fix any bugs. Players can expect the free demo to be out at the beginning of September.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, Kornel!