To celebrate, we sat down with Creative Director Martin de Ronde for the inside scoop.
This is your fifth VR project to date. How did your previous experience in the field inform your work on Coaster Combat?
Martin de Ronde: Coaster Combat is actually a true consequence of us being a 100% dedicated VR studio. The VR industry is still so fresh and open, so there’s a lot to explore. Every year in mid-December, we organize a VR game jam for the entire studio, with everybody allowed to pitch ideas and explore fun, weird, and original concepts. The entire studio votes for their favorites, and then the five or six best are turned into demos in a single week.
Coaster Combat started as one of those demos and turned out to be so much fun that we decided to make it a full game. Thanks to our extensive work in VR comfort over the past few years, we were able to create a thrill ride without the negative side effects that are usually associated with roller coaster games.
How else does Coaster Combat differentiate itself from the other roller coaster-based VR games on the market?
MdR: It’s an action roller coaster game, where you have to score points by hitting objects with a designated weapon for each course. This means that, unlike other roller coaster experiences, once you’re done with a ride, you’re not actually done. The game is set up with a very addictive score challenge mode, so you’ll feel the urge to go back over and over again to try and improve your high score.
To top it off, the game’s tracks are procedurally generated, meaning no two rides are ever the same. You can’t memorize any of it, so each ride is fresh and forces you to rely on your reflexes to achieve high scores and score streaks, rather than your memory.
How many themes are available at launch?
MdR: At launch, there will be three themes available—one is free, and the others are unlocked when you purchase the full game. Beyond launch, we’ll be looking to update the game for sure and are currently exploring a number of different options, ranging from possible new worlds to cool and exciting social features.
What can you tell us about the game’s existing social elements?
MdR: Coaster Combat has a pretty unique online leaderboard. Rather than go for basic leaderboards, we wanted to try and see how we could make people challenge each other. Once you set a score you’re proud of, you can challenge one of your VR friends to try and beat that score in a set number of attempts. In addition, the full game also lets you set score streaks and earn bragging rights on a global online leaderboard.
This is your third title for Gear VR. Any plans to return to Rift development?
MdR: This is indeed our third Gear title and our fifth title in total. That said, we have six more games and experiences in development, so rest assured the Rift community will see Force Field content in the near future. Nothing specific to share just yet, but definitely watch this space!
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
MdR: We can’t wait for the community to start playing and let us know their thoughts. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the usual community channels, and we look forward to hearing feedback and input so that we can continue to improve the game over the next few months with new updates to make Coaster Combat even better.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Martin—we’re excited to see what Force Field comes up with next!
Check out Coaster Combat and challenge your friends on Gear VR today.
— The Oculus Team