Pull Off Flashy Sword Combos in ‘ALTAIR BREAKER,’ Out Now

Oculus Blog
August 18, 2022

Vastus Isle has all the hallmarks of a beautiful travel destination: great weather, gorgeous vistas, and awesome castle ruins—but it’s also overrun with angry AI-powered robots just looking for a fight. That’s where you come in. With the help of some fancy weaponry, you can team up with up to three of your friends to cull the horde and reclaim the island in ALTAIR BREAKER, which is now available on Meta Quest 2 and the Rift Platform for $24.99 USD.

ALTAIR BREAKER lets anyone pull off amazing moves—what developer Thirdverse calls “transcendent VR sword combat.” You can strike enemies from afar with Shockwave attacks, launch them into the air with upward slashes (and then immediately jump to their position for some aerial combos), or use Surge Mode (by holding your hand over your weapon) to temporarily deal a huge amount of damage.

Each fight takes place in a massive arena, so feel free to retreat or try different strategies by climbing up walls and gliding down to other parts of the map. Enemies will only get tougher the longer you survive. But you can upgrade both your character and your weapons using coins and other resources earned from battle.

To find out more about ALTAIR BREAKER, we spoke with Thirdverse Co-Founder, COO, and Producer Satoshi Ban about the studio’s love for melee action games and why they wanted to make players feel like a superhero.

Like your first VR game, SWORDS of GARGANTUA, ALTAIR BREAKER is built around multiplayer sword fighting. What draws you to this particular genre?

Satoshi Ban: Thirdverse’s goal is to create a world where people can live in a VR experience like in Ready Player One or Sword Art Online—worlds in which everyone can not only live, but also perform heroic actions and go on epic adventures. While it’s still technically difficult to realize these experiences with the current generation of VR hardware, advanced multiplayer battles and communication can be achieved. That’s what ALTAIR BREAKER is all about, and by constantly challenging the cutting edge of VR game development, Thirdverse will continue to provide high-quality games as VR evolves.

What lessons did the team learn from making SWORDS, and how did that help shape the development of ALTAIR BREAKER?

SB: We created SWORDS of GARGANTUA with the goal of making a realistic VR sword fighting simulator. But we got a lot of feedback from people who wanted an even higher level of VR sword fighting action, which led to ALTAIR BREAKER. We received many requests to include shockwaves, aerial combos, and other special moves. However, these systems are the exact opposite of the realistic mechanics in SWORDS, so we had to make a new system that’d allow players to play this way in the VR world. They wanted a superhero-like sword fighting experience that could only happen in VR—and with the same realistic tracking as in the real world.

With these concepts in mind, we created a system in ALTAIR BREAKER that lets anyone easily perform superhero-like VR sword fighting actions, but with a realistic feel to it. We hope you get to experience the awesomeness of these sword fights for yourself!

What’s new or improved with ALTAIR BREAKER’s melee combat?

SB: We designed our combat system to not only feature intense action, but also large-scale battles that take place in detailed levels. Instead of simply saying, “The enemies will only get stronger as you progress through the game,” we designed the game in such a way that players can naturally improve their skills while fighting enemies that become more complex without them realizing it. This is a level design technique used in most AAA consumer games. One of our goals in developing ALTAIR BREAKER was to make AAA-level action possible in VR, and I think we were able to do that successfully.

In VR games, intense action tends to make you lose sight of the enemy and can make you feel uncomfortable. There are ways to simplify the combat to avoid these issues, but in our opinion, that’d decrease the level of enjoyment. We want players to feel like a superhero who can perform flashy sword fighting moves. That’s why we developed an automatic lock-on system that allows for intense action while minimizing discomfort.

Check out the developer diary by our producer and battle director to learn more about this battle system.

What’re your favorite weapons and abilities to use?

SB:I like the dual-wielding style with swords. My favorite fighting pattern is to parry the opponent’s attack with the sword in my left hand and attack with the sword in my right hand, or attack the opponent in the air with both swords simultaneously. It’s also exhilarating to shoot down all the enemies’ barrage attacks in Surge Mode.

Were there any technical challenges the team had to overcome to optimize the game on Quest 2’s mobile chipset?

SB: The main challenge was to optimize performance and improve the graphic quality for Quest 2. Multiplayer action games like ALTAIR BREAKER require more processing power than single-player games. A large number of effects are needed to make the battles flashy and entertaining, and the optimization process for semi-transparency and hit detection was adjusted right up until the game was completed. As a result of the development team’s efforts, we were able to optimize the game in the best possible way.

How do you plan on updating ALTAIR BREAKER in the future?

SB: First, we plan to add new maps, skins, weapons, and powerful enemies within a few months. We’ll also listen to any feedback from players and repeatedly improve functions and adjust the balance of the game. We look forward to hearing from the community!

Any beginner’s tips for players before they jump online?

SB: ALTAIR BREAKER is designed to be a comfortable online multiplayer experience. As players level up, the AI robots become stronger. But when playing with people online, enemy levels are adjusted to match the player with the lowest level on the team so that they aren’t too tough to fight against—explore the virtual world of ALTAIR without worrying! And you can also be matched with players from all over the world.

What’s next for Thirdverse?

SB: We’ll continue to produce updated content for ALTAIR BREAKER after its release, and development of our next VR title is already underway. It’ll be compatible with Meta Quest 2 and can be enjoyed in multiplayer as well. We’ll be announcing our new title very soon, so stay tuned! We at Thirdverse will continue to put all of our efforts into VR game development.

Take up your swords and dive into the action-packed world of ALTAIR BREAKER on Quest 2 and the Rift Platform today.