Marvelous Games’ Scott Emnsen talks to us about Gungrave’s foray into virtual reality.
Though not many people might remember it quite well these days, back during the days of the PS2, Gungrave was a fairly popular shooter franchise. Since its last entry on 2004, though, the franchise has ben dormant- until quite recently. Gungrave Gore is bringing the franchise back soon on the PS4, but prior to that, developers Iggymob and Red Entertainment have released a prologue to that of course- Gungrave VR functions as both, a standalone arcade-style shooter, as well as a prologue chapter that leads into the upcoming Gungrave Gore. Recently, we sent across a few of our questions about the VR title to publishers Marvelous Games- the following questions were answered by Scott Emnsen.
Note: This interview was conducted prior to the game’s release.
"Motion sickness can vary from person to person depending on the VR related experience; but for GUNGRAVE VR the development team have minimalised the potential effects of motion sickness by putting the player in control of all movements in the game and having short ‘arcade style’ stages."
How have you tackled the possibility of motion sickness, which is something VR titles seem to suffer from quite often?
Motion sickness can vary from person to person depending on the VR related experience; but for GUNGRAVE VR the development team have minimalised the potential effects of motion sickness by putting the player in control of all movements in the game and having short ‘arcade style’ stages.
Character movement is controlled by the DualShock 4 controller, with players using the left analog stick to move Grave on screen, while camera movement is controlled by the PlayStation VR headset with the player moving his/her head. For first-person-experiences players are grounded to a single location and simple move their head to aim the camera with buttons on DualShock 4 controller being used to attack.
This means that the player is always in control of his/her movements and as such players can adjust to the game at their own pace. In some instances GUNGRAVE VR offers that VR experience of being sucked into a digital world; but at the same time gives the impression you are simply playing the game on your standard high definition TV rather than through a VR headset.
Where does Gungrave VR fall in the series’ chronology, especially with respect to Gore?
GUNGRAVE VR takes place after the events of the previously released PlayStation 2 game GUNGRAVE: Overdose and acts as a prologue to events within GUNGRAVE: Gore; which is currently in development at Iggymob and RED Entertainment.
In GUNGRAVE: Overdose Grave stopped SEED from being spread across the world and with his objective completed Grave returned to his eternal resting place. Several months later SEED began appearing again within the city and as such Grave was revived by Mika Asagi so that they could work together to shut down the production of SEED as well as defeat those that stand in their way.
"GUNGRAVE VR offers different difficulty modes that can assist in making the game harder or more difficult; but a balance in spawning enemies and how they interact with the player can be seen on screen."
How do the game’s first person and third person sections differ from each other, mechanically speaking?
GUNGRAVE VR: Loaded Coffin Edition, which features both GUNGRAVE VR and its standalone sequel GUNGRAVE VR U.N offers three distinctive playstyles.
In GUNGRAVE VR the play style switches between first and third person gameplay mechanics while in GUNGRAVE VR U.N the game is played from a 2.5D platforming perspective.
Mechanically each plays differently and offer different types of challenges. For example in GUNGRAVE VR’s first-person-perspective players aim using the mechanics of the PlayStation VR headset and press the R2 button fire with other buttons being used to perform special attacks. In third-person-perspective the player is required to use the PlayStation VR headset to control camera movement while buttons on the DualShock 4 controller are used to shoot enemies and evade their attacks.
GUNGRAVE VR U.N meanwhile, with its 2.5D gameplay perspective, combines elements from both gameplay mechanics whereby players use buttons on the DualShock 4 controller to attack and dodge while moving your head with the PlayStation VR is used to aim.
What sort of a balance can players expect between the first person and third person sections of the game?
GUNGRAVE VR offers different difficulty modes that can assist in making the game harder or more difficult; but a balance in spawning enemies and how they interact with the player can be seen on screen.
In first-person missions enemies will spawn and attack less frequently than those in third-person missions. Additionally first-person missions will see more enemies that charge directly towards the player as opposed to being at a distance and dodging oncoming attacks.
Each mission within GUNGRAVE VR features different types of enemies with different attack patterns; so it would be best to learn them all to avoid dying partway through a mission.
Is Gungrave VR meant as something that leads into Gungrave Gore, or does it function as a standalone experience as well?
GUNGRAVE VR can be considered a standalone arcade style stage based experience, but it is a title that leads into GUNGRAVE Gore.
"Each mission within GUNGRAVE VR features different types of enemies with different attack patterns; so it would be best to learn them all to avoid dying partway through a mission."
About how long is Gungrave VR going to be?
As mentioned previously GUNGRAVE VR: Loaded Coffin Edition contains both GUNGRAVE VR and its standalone sequel GUNGRAVE VR U.N with both games offering a combined total of 2 hours playtime with GUNGRAVE VR containing six stages and GUNGRAVE VR U.N offering three stages.
Similar to arcade games, such as Time Crisis and The House of the Dead, GUNGRAVE VR is aimed at offering replay ability with high-scores and rankings at the end of each mission as well as that ‘short bursts of fun’ play style.
Although completing the story will only take 2 hours it can take longer to obtain the SS Ranks and notable high-scores; and obtaining these will award the player with a new outfit for use within the game.
VR has been growing as a medium and showing an increasing amount of potential, but in your view, what sort of experiences can push it even further? Have there been any recent examples that have stood out to you?
I’m afraid to admit that I haven’t been as ‘involved’ with the technologic advancements of VR as I would like; but experiences which offered full movement of a character within a game world have always impressed me.
This can included fixed position gameplay, such as the first person missions found within GUNGRAVE VR, or those that allow you to become the character and control them with a controller.
These type of experiences offer that realism of being inside the game – and it makes those intense scenes even more intense. It’s also fun to watch peoples reactions when playing these type of VR game.
"Personally I think it is still early days for VR technology; but we are starting to see the possibilities of what it can bring to the games industry."
Do you think VR is something that will become an integral part of how we play our games any time in the near future?
Personally I think it is still early days for VR technology; but we are starting to see the possibilities of what it can bring to the games industry. Devices such as Oculus Rift, HTC VIVE and PlayStation VR are just the starting point of what will be the future of gaming.