Asgard's Wrath 2: How Sanzaru plans to bring AAA to the Quest
Finally, a meta studio delivers a huge RPG for Quest. Mat Kraemer of Sanzaru Games explains how it will bring AAA flair to the platform.
After the launch of the graphically capable Playstation VR 2, Meta is feeling the pinch. Freshly announced at the Meta Gaming Showcase, Asgard's Wrath 2 from Meta subsidiary studio Sanzaru Games could finally bring exclusive AAA atmosphere to the Quest 2 and the Quest 3.
In an exclusive interview with MIXED, Studio creative director Mat Kraemer is confident that this is possible on a mobile chip: "I think is completely comparable to the size and scope of what you've seen on PSVR" he replied when I asked if the team was also looking to compete with Sony. Most developers play many of the competition's titles anyway, Kraemer told us.
On par with Sony?
But can the wow factor of the prequel on PC be replicated with mobile technology? Kraemer is "100 percent" convinced of that, too. The cinematically staged boss fights against oversized gods and creatures like a fire-breathing giant bird are an important factor for that.
The game of expectation is also intended to bring the world to life. For example, in the first saga about the warrior Abraxas, the giant creature "Fluffy" keeps appearing on the horizon. This already aroused the curiosity of the test players again and again, until they finally reached the creature themselves.
There, a whip attachment comes into play, with which Abraxas pulls himself up from his mount onto "Fluffy" and finally climbs the creature single-handedly. Horizon Call of the Mountain says hello!
Doesn't all the sudden movements cause motion sickness? Kraemer denies that. After experimenting with its older VR games, he says the studio has a very good handle on many of the problems with fast movements of this kind. VR Sports Challenge, for example, revolved around hand presence for throwing and catching.
Later, Marvel Powers United VR was about fine-tuning locomotion. In the lightning-fast superhero action, hopping, flying and beaming were a great challenge for the stomach. The lessons learned now paid off, Kraemer says. There will also be a large number of comfort options for more sensitive natures.
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The developers also plan to give players options for finetuning the influence of the new physics on combat. So, if you want, you can still let the blades clash arcade-heavy. In order to implement all this, the team has now grown to 121 people, compared to around 80 developers for the predecessor. Most of the old crew is still around.
A really clean pipeline setup is an important factor in large-scale VR productions in Unreal Engine, Kraemer tells us: "Working in VR is not that much different than working on a 2d development wise (...) If you if you're in Unreal and whatnot, you're building your stuff, and you want to iterate and test your work relatively quickly. We do have ways to play the game in 2D for fast, iterative cycles."
But all that effort is of little use if, as with its predecessor, publisher Meta barely advertises the game. "When you put your heart and soul in these games and they come out and it doesn't get all that – you know – it can be a bit lackluster there. But this time it's huge!"
For Asgard's Wrath 2, he said, Meta and its partners have already put together the best PR plan he's seen so far: "And all the production side at Meta is phenomenal! We've worked with the same production team, the same crew over there for a really long time. They're just as much part of building Asgard's Wrath 2 as the day to day dev team."
Pioneers in the VR realm
And if Part 1 becomes a hidden gem in the VR world, Kraemer said he'll be happy with that, too.
Most importantly, he wants to attract new players to Virtual Reality and leave a footprint as a VR pioneer, Kraemer concludes, "I love the opportunity to be a first in the medium. You know, people are gonna look back at Asgard's Wrath 1, and they're gonna be like 'oh, that's the first game that really blew the door open like this'. And I think we're going to do that again, with Asgard's Wrath 2."