post-apocalyptic survival horror game ported to PS VR2 – PlayStation.Blog

The post-apocalyptic survival horror series Metro – based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s best-selling science fiction novel series of the same name – plunges players into a dark, dank, and oppressive underground network and the ruins beyond.

Highly anticipated and critically acclaimed, the franchise has spawned three games so far. Before the year is out, that number will reach four. Announced at State of Play this past JanuaryVertigo Games – the creators of Arizona Sunshine and After The Fall – have revealed that they have spent the past few years developing a brand new game for PS VR2. Metro Awakening is a standalone story set before the events of the original Metro 2033. I sat down with Creative Director Martin de Ronde and Game Director Samar Louwe to discuss more about how this world translates to VR and how they’ve kept the identity of this title in the series.

The game’s story was created in collaboration with the original author.

“One of the first things we did when we started this project was to contact Dmitry [Glukhovsky]”, de Ronde explained. “For us, it was almost like we expected him to come in and come up with another story for the game that fit in with the other Metro games. But instead, he came up with a very, very personal and emotional story for a new character. […] That also meant that our focus started to shift from a straight-forward approach to a more story-heavy, story-driven approach in this particular game. And of course, the Metro series has always been known for its different storylines compared to other first-person shooters, but this time, I think Dmitry really wanted to make sure that the story and character development were even more important.

It will still stick to the gameplay of the main games…

“Part of our onboarding process for everyone on the team is to play the game, of course,” Louwe explains. “And so we looked at the strengths of the brand and specifically which of those strengths could translate to VR. And some of the things that we noticed were the dynamic that they have between stealth and combat. And always making sure that you’re always on guard and you’re never really sure when people are going to spot you. That’s something that works really, really well in VR. Just creeping up on the enemy, listening to what they’re saying. Of course, the nature of VR is that you can sit behind cover, maybe you can look through a hole in the cover, and then you can spy on your enemy.”

“But rest assured, people will enjoy it a little more,” de Ronde interjected. “There’s a lot of classic Metro action in the game.”

“I think it’s also good to say that the main games, of course, have Artyom,” Louwe continued. “After the first game, he becomes a Spartan. But in [Metro Awakening]Our protagonist isn’t necessarily a combat expert. So with that in mind, it also makes more sense to have a slightly slower pace for combat versus plot than the original Metro series.”

…and keep their look and feel, thanks to original developer 4A Games

“We were really happy that 4A helped us a lot in providing all the assets they had from those games,” de Ronde explains. “We were able to use some of those assets directly or use them as reference for most of the things we built in the game… which helped make sure that the game looked like that.

“There are assets that we looked at, and we wanted to use them specifically because they played a role in the series on the continent, we wanted to reuse them. In our game, you also want to make sure that fans recognize those elements. And then obviously there are things that serve as references. And then there are things that we’re almost regressing to what it would look like, X number of years before the events of the main series.”

You will still feel the pressure of your ammo count

“You’re basically constantly looking for ammo,” Louwe chuckled when asked if finding ammo was as constant a concern as it was in previous games. “We have this beautiful environment, we have this beautiful world, our art is made sure that there’s detail to explore. But you also need a reason to explore. And the main reason to explore every nook and cranny is just to find ammo. We think it’s best to hide it in little packages. So you’re not necessarily going to find a whole magazine all the time. Instead, you’re going to find single bullets here, a couple of bullets there. And we’ve also made an effort to make sure that in some cases, there’s a little bit of storytelling around how that ammo got there, and something that stimulates your imagination.”

“The philosophy we’re going for is basically, if you look everywhere, you’re probably going to have enough ammo to get through your combat encounters. If you only look at the critical path, you’re probably going to have to be a better shooter. And if you don’t look at all, you’re going to struggle. Of course, you can always go back to cover. If you’re successful at that, that’s always an option.”

Translating the tactile nature of Metro to PS VR2

Wiping off your gas mask, pulling out your map, looking at the ammo count on your gun instead of the UI helps you immerse yourself in Metro. I ask if that makes for an easy VR adaptation. Vertigo’s research suggests it can’t be exactly the same.

“That’s an interesting point you bring up about wiping off your gas mask… because Metro is a tactile world, obviously for us that was something we definitely wanted to try and include in the game. We tried to come up with an alternative way to wipe off the gas mask that I think fans will still appreciate, even though it’s a slightly different version and wiping it off while you’re wearing it on your face.”

“We chose to keep a lot of our UI and interactions as realistic as possible,” Louwe continued. “For example, if you wanted to see how many bullets were left in your gun, we could have put a counter on it. But we didn’t do that. Instead, we opened up the magazine so you could actually see how many bullets were in it. So if you wanted to know how many bullets were in your magazine, you had to pull it out. It’s just a little more immersive when you’re in a combat encounter and you’re like ‘okay, get ready, I’m going to pull out my magazine, check. It’s enough for this time,’ and then you snap it back. If you want to wear a gas mask, we put it on the backpack. So you pull the backpack out by grabbing it from your shoulder. The gas mask hangs from there. You just grab it from there and bring it to your face, and then you stick it on.” Those are the types of interactions that we really want to make as realistic as possible.

“Adaptive triggers are a great example of how you can add a little extra immersion, because they give you a little extra feedback when you fire a weapon. And our weapon designers really had a lot of fun implementing that and tweaking it for each weapon. It seems like a really small thing, but it’s like these subtle elements that make you forget you’re playing a game when it’s just there, right? Another example is haptic feedback. It gives you a little extra experience to create the intense things that happen to you in this game, to make them a little more immersive.”

Game Comfort Settings

“We wanted to focus on immersion,” Louwe says. “So our default movement settings, we provide two presets, so we have Comfort and we have Immersion. In Immersion, the default movement setting is continuous movement with fast rotation. Of course, we also provide settings that you can just change in the Settings menu to make something more immersive, like continuous rotation. If you want a slightly more comfortable experience, then you can set your movement setting to teleportation. That said, we’re not really shy about pushing the boundaries of VR when it comes to creating visceral experiences. So in Immersion mode, you can also expect to be moved around in a bed or knocked out and wake up unconscious on the floor or even thrown off a train carriage, for example.”

Metro Awakening: post-apocalyptic survival horror game adaptation for PS VR2

This interview has been shortened for brevity. You can listen to the full interview on the PlayStation Podcast, which drops this Friday. Metro Awakening is coming to PS VR2 later this year.

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