Last week, we teased a larger-than-life announcement from Vertigo Games, and if you’ve been keeping tabs on fwdtothepast.com, you might have decoded a clue or two. Today, we’re excited to announce that After the Fall—the most ambitious VR game yet from the team that brought you Arizona Sunshine—is bringing a new breed of post-apocalyptic gameplay to the Rift Platform.
The year is 2005, and the frozen ruins of Los Angeles stretch out before you—a hostile, unforgiving environment overrun by hordes of the genetically mutated Snowbreed, who have lost their humanity at the hands of 1980s designer drugs. Band together or go it alone as you craft, scavenge, and fight for survival.
After the Fall is expected to launch in 2020. We spoke with Vertigo Games Studio Director Richard Stitselaar to learn more about what this frozen hellscape has to offer.
Give us the After the Fall elevator pitch in your own words.
Richard Stitselaar: In After the Fall, you explore the remains of a 1980s civilization, craft deadly weapons, and wield devastating powers with real-life movements as you develop your combat style. You’ll join forces with players worldwide as you go head-to-head with relentless hordes and larger-than-life bosses to take back the city.
With After the Fall, we set out with an ambitious goal—delivering the biggest VR action FPS yet that pushes the boundaries on all fronts, shared by as many players as possible. We’re crafting a vast, post-apocalyptic world that gives us unlimited creative freedom to make players feel like a total badass; ’80s pop culture has been a huge inspiration to us on that front, especially the big attitude and almost fantastical subjects of Hollywood blockbusters at that time, from a time-travelling teenager to killer robots from the future and a part-man, part-machine all-cop.
Why did you decide to set After the Fall in 2005? What inspired the alternate 1980s timeline as depicted in the game?
RS: We’re all huge fans of everything ’80s. Many of us grew up at the time. By having the apocalypse take place in the ’80s, stopping the civilized world in its tracks, we’re able to pay homage to that awesome era, which is rich with over-the-top action movies and heroes, arcade games, synthwave, toys, and cartoons. The first, now iconic personal tech made an entrance in the ’80s and has had a huge influence on the game. We’re putting a lot of thought into how ’80s tech could have evolved into ingenious weaponry and gear used for survival.
We also wanted to craft a world in which the apocalypse has had enough time to wreak havoc and twist what’s left of civilization. Pushing 20 years forward into the early 2000s, the ice-covered ruins of L.A. will feel familiar, but entirely new and treacherous at the same time. And not only the world has changed—an entirely new, post-apocalyptic generation has come into adulthood. Players step into the shoes of survivors who have never seen a world that was right and have had to deal with the aftermath of the apocalypse all their lives.
How did you come up with the concept of the Snowbreed? What sets them apart from other post-apocalyptic foes that players might have previously encountered?
RS: The Snowbreed are our take on the well-known zombie-like, mutant-like creature. They’re terrible, once-human beings that are the result of designer drugs gone wrong. The amount and type of drugs they used affect their current form and behavior. Characterized by their genetic mutations, they come in all shapes and sizes—some moving around in huge, unprecedented hordes, others wielding special powers or attacks, and yet others as colossal, towering bosses. More to be revealed on the Snowbreed soon!
What’s the best reaction you’ve seen while demoing the game so far?
RS: There’s a particular moment in the E3 demo that makes people go "Oh ****!" which definitely puts a smile on our faces! We’ve also seen people go all-out with melee weapons, sometimes even resorting to kicking at the Snowbreed when they really get into it (although the latter obviously won’t work).
How many hours of gameplay do you expect the narrative campaign to include? What did you do to ensure maximum replayability?
RS: What I can say is this is our biggest VR game yet—by far. After the Fall is also a game that will have a lot of interesting side content, endgame content, and replayability.
If people take one thing away from After the Fall, what do you hope it would be and why?
RS: After the Fall is all players have come to expect from the team behind Arizona Sunshine in the VR shooter genre and so, so much more! This is our biggest VR game yet—by far—and it will also have a lot of interesting side content, endgame content, and replayability. We’re pulling out all the stops to make players will feel like a total ’80s badass.
We also want players to know that while we’re putting a lot of emphasis on making multiplayer as accessible and straightforward as possible to bring players together in a cross-platform, shared VR world, it’s a lot of fun to split off on missions alone for those who prefer to go solo.
Thanks for taking the time to share this pre-E3 deep dive, Richard. We can’t wait to share more in the coming months.
Visit afterthefall-vr.com to sign up for updates and a chance to participate in a beta as we get closer to launch.
— The Oculus Team