Alone Interview: Oculus Rift and VR Horror
â€œAlone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.â€ – Stephen King
The horror genre is one undergoing something of a renaissance of late. Indie titles like Â Amnesia: the Dark Descent and the more recent Outlast have been trying to take the genre away from it’s image as the home of jump scares and volume spikes to something quieter, more insidious and altogether more dreadful (in a good way, of course). And since the essence of horror lies in its immersion factor, it should come as no surprise that the growing potential of Virtual Reality technology appeals to those developers looking to scare us all out of our skins. Alone is the brand new horror title by indie developers Greenwood Games, being developed exclusively for the Oculus Rift. Greenwood head honchos Bryan Cohen and Dan Wallace were gracious enough to answer some questions for us here at SpawnFirst, so without further ado, lets let them do the talking:
Can you tell us about yourself, and Greenwood Games?
Games have always been a part of my life since I was 5 years old, and ever since that point I knew developing was what I wanted to do. Fast forward two decades and a childhood of being a nerd I graduated from Full Sail University in 2007 and have been working in the Industry ever since. I’ve worked on previous titles such as Guitar Hero and Skylanders, but Alone will be my first title as an Independent Developer.
Greenwood Games formed after our initial prototype for Alone receivedÂ an overwhelming positive response in the Oculus Rift VR Jam. We feltÂ like we had something really special on our hands and we both had theÂ time to invest in a start-up. We haven’t looked back since!
Shadows can play tricks on your eyes and the wind through the trees can cause a chill to run up your spine – but what if those fears of being alone suddenly come true?
Can you explain the premise of Alone?
What led to your decision to develop a horror game for the OculusÂ Rift?
Are there any horror games or other media that influence Alone?
Was the â€˜game within a gameâ€™ idea of Alone inspired by anyÂ horror games youâ€™ve played in the past?
We also really wanted to try something new. Most horror game involve running and hiding from someone or something. The idea of sitting on a couch is perfect, because that’s usually where you are when you play video games, and totally adds that next level of immersion.
When designing a game like Alone, what aspects of the game do youÂ think are most important? E.g graphical style, sound design, gameplayÂ elements
What attracted you to the Oculus Rift as a development platform?
Do you think that VR interfaces like the Rift will become the normÂ in gaming?
The Oculus Rift really is the next step in Virtual Reality. It’s an affordable option to consumers and they’ve made it so easy for developers to integrate it into their games. I think a lot of people, including myself, share the sentiment of “the best is yet to come”.
Are there any challenges presented by developing for the Rift asÂ opposed to traditional platforms?
What advantages do you feel you have as an indie developer, ratherÂ than as part of a large company?