Whether you grew up in the era of Kurosawa, Kill Bill, or somewhere in between, odds are that you’ve entertained a frenetic fantasy or two of taking on enemy ninjas in full 360° action. Well, wait no longer because those dreams are about to become reality with the launch of Ninja Legends on Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform!
With 18 levels, four difficulty modes, daily challenges, and unlockable secret modes, there’s plenty built in to keep you coming back for more. You’ve got your choice of six weapons to wield and four shadow skills to hone in your quest to become the ultimate ninja warrior — and with nowhere to run or hide, you’ll want to make the most of them.
We sat down with Coinflip Studios Lead Developer and Designer David Geisert to learn more.
Tell us a little bit about your background and Coinflip Studios.
David Geisert: Coinflip studios is comprised of seven people who have been working together in the games industry for nine years at different companies. This is the third company our team has worked at together. I typically have been a jack of all trades who fills in the gaps of any team makeup — and with a small team, there tend to be lots of gaps. I’ve also become a Unity development expert over time, and the toolstack for developing VR in Unity has been a particular focus of mine.
How did you first get involved with VR?
DG: I’ve been a huge VR fan since I was able to get my hands on the early Gear VR headsets in 2016. Since then, I’ve upgraded to 6DOF and had a ton of fun playing. Since we’ve worked in the games industry for a while, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to start making a VR game.
What was the initial inspiration behind Ninja Legends? How have you seen the project change over time?
DG: While I’ve been involved in VR since 2016, the rest of the team really got interested when I reported back on my experience at OC5 with Quest. We saw it as a great market opportunity. We initially explored a number of ideas for the game including racing, bow games, and sword games. The initial prototype was much like Beat Saber in that it had songs with enemies animating in rhythm and the player had to attack in rhythm. We showed that at a Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) meetup and got pretty good responses from those who tried it. Lots of people really enjoyed the slicing component of the game, so we decided to focus a lot more on the attacking style rather than rhythm-based gameplay.
What’s your favorite part of the game and why?
DG: I really enjoy the secret modes. I got the fun task of deciding what they were and putting them in, with all the ways they’re unlocked. Playing with the big head and tiny enemies mode on at the same time is my favorite. It adds a character to the game that shows we aren’t super serious sword fighters. The game is all about fun and not to be taken too seriously.
Tell us about your most epic win in the game... and then tell us about your most epic pwn moment.
DG: The most epic win was when we were trying to determine the difficulty levels of the game, and I had made a stupidly hard version. Myk, the artist on the team and best player, jumped in and managed to beat the level that I thought wasn’t possible to beat. He collapsed in physical exhaustion afterwards though!
On the other end of the spectrum, we had a few hardcore PC gamers step into the game, and they started backing away from the ninjas. One even cowered in the corner until we stopped the game!
What is it about VR that makes it such a compelling medium for games?
DG: The immersion is always the first answer, but that feels like a cop-out at this point. I would go further to say that the interactions afforded by the head and hand tracking allows for deeper experiences than what was previously possible in 2D displayed games. There are some games that would be comparable to ours that are in the 2D screen space, but most of those are massive AAA titles where the actual swordplay isn’t a major part of the game. There aren’t any 2D screen space games with the depth of sword play we can show off in the immersive 3D environment.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DG: We’re already thinking about what comes after launch. We’ve been considering lots of new modes to the game, including a stealth mode with locomotion and assassination, a bow and arrow mode with tower defense elements, and a sandbox mode with the ability to import your own weapons, levels, and enemies. If we’re missing something else you think the game could really use, please let us know!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, David. We can’t wait to hear what the Rift and Quest community thinks.
— The Oculus Team