“Porting Rangi to PC VR has always been part of the plan,” says Funsoft CEO Hatim Bensaid. “With Rift, we were able to expand the level of immersion by adding roomscale and a second wand that guides players in their quest for hidden artefacts. Improved graphics and rendered lighting made it possible to present the game’s universe as we had envisioned it.”
Drawing from the studio’s Moroccan locale, Funsoft celebrates African art, music, and culture throughout Rangi. You play as Guriki, a shaman who interacts with the environment on a quest to restore balance and harmony to the world.
“Exploring the African universe in a video game has always been an attractive idea for us—something that’s rarely done in gaming,” notes Bensaid.
Inspired by traditional African instruments like the sanza and djembe as well as an emphasis on human voices, the studio tapped composers Frédéric Seraphine and Jorge Mehdi Castro to complete the meditative soundtrack.
The music is undoubtedly poetic, and the game capitalizes on VR’s sense of immersion and presence to up the stakes. “It’s not the same feeling as trying to solve puzzles on a phone, tablet, or monitor,” explains Bensaid. “If you’re playing Rangi in VR and you’re surrounded by moving spiked walls, you really feel the threat.”
Following Ubisoft Casablanca’s closure in 2016, several game devs struck out on their own to bring new voices and perspectives to the industry ecosystem. While Rangi started out as an experiment in VR development, positive community responses and the team’s enthusiasm steadily grew, prompting Funsoft to build out a robust puzzle adventure game.
Looking forward, Bensaid is largely optimistic—both for Africa’s game industry and the future of VR and AR.
“Despite a relatively difficult context,” he says, “there’s a large community of gamers and indie developers in Africa—gaming is the second most popular entertainment activity after music—and a will to develop the industry, especially now that Casablanca is hosting the first Africa Game Show in September, which expects more than 30K visitors.”
“VR is obviously at its very beginning,” Bensaid continues. “As a developer, there are many new methods and tools to bring different experiences to players. This will offer plenty of ideas to explore!”
— The Oculus Team