The thrill and terror of open-world survival is coming to the Quest Platform and PC VR like never before with Green Hell VR, out now for $29.99 USD. In Incuvo’s tense survival simulation, players will find themselves stranded deep in the Amazon jungle where they must rely on real-world survival skills to make it out alive.
Green HellVR is more than just a survival sandbox, though. It features a narrative spanning 10+ hours; in-depth interactive gameplay including the need to hunt, fight, craft, and cook; and a treacherous forest lurking with dangers amidst extreme conditions. You’ll even get to take your makeshift shelter and gradually upgrade it until you’ve constructed your own forest fortress.
The storyline puts players in the shoes of Jake Higgins, a famed anthropologist who finds himself stranded deep within the Amazonian rain forest. Surrounded by predators with nothing at first but a smartwatch, backpack, and brief survival guidebook, you’ll have to find your way through the inhospitable jungle as you fight for your life.
To learn more about how Incuvo created one of the most complex and authentic survival games in VR yet with Green Hell VR, we spoke with Radomir Kucharski, CEO of Incuvo, and Martin Kulawik, producer for Green Hell Quest Edition.
We’ve seen a few ambitious VR games adopt survival mechanics, but Green Hell is a deep, complex survival game with tons of moving parts and authentic scenarios. What was it like bringing such a detailed game to VR?
Radomir Kucharski and Martin Kulawik: While it was fun to develop such a game, it was also very challenging from a technical standpoint. Green Hell is a huge game both in terms of open-world level design and scope of gameplay mechanics. Both aspects were challenging to bring to a mobile platform like Meta Quest. We had to streamline level design, optimize art and scale down the blueprints for crafting and building to make the game actually work on Meta Quest 2, and to keep the experience enjoyable and not outright tedious. It’s much more work to lay the same amount of palm leaves in VR using VR controllers to build a hut than just dropping them with a mouse button in the flat version of the game.
In what ways has Green Hell been rebuilt with VR in mind?
Kucharski and Kulawik: Except for performance restrictions, the whole experience of crafting, building, hunting, and gathering resources — pretty much all core gameplay mechanics — is redesigned and redeveloped with VR controllers in mind to achieve the best possible immersion. We wanted to make use of VR`s unique advantages over flat platforms. Meta controllers offer so much more than traditional mouse and keyboard setups or even gamepads; we just had to use them for better VR gameplay and experience. When you want to craft something like, for example, a stone axe, you need to fix a stone to a stick with a piece of rope like you would do in real life, mimicking the same hand movements and gestures. That kind of gameplay is uniquely exclusive to VR and is just so much more immersive and fun.
What are some of the ways that you’ve included “real-life survival techniques” to make Green Hell feel as realistic as possible?
Kucharski and Kulawik: Oh we didn’t plan to make Green Hell VR as realistic as possible; we wanted it to be highly authentic but also fundamentally fun to play. Extreme realism is not really that fun. Imagine having to craft arrowheads from scratch using what nature provides, even with the knowledge, it would still take days to accomplish. Green Hell VR is very authentic; you need to gather resources, craft tools, and weapons, use real-life survival techniques like striking a flint with a knife to throw sparks on dry leaves to start a campfire. Green Hell VR teaches you that there are a lot of details in the jungle that make a difference between life and death. If you are hurt, you need to treat your wounds because any infection could be fatal. Also, food poisoning from raw or rotten meat can lead to dehydration and body fever.You have to manage your vitals such as hydration, prepare a camp to raise survival chances. Our game tries to remain authentic to real-life survival strategies.
Players will of course spend a lot of time hunting, crafting, and building—but let’s talk about combat. What types of enemies are there, which weapons can we use, and how much time will players spend fighting things?
Combat is pretty challenging in the game, there are wild and dangerous predators, including venomous and poisonous ones, but there are also hostile indigenous tribe members. In most cases, the player will get out of those fights , if alive at all, hurt. It's often better to avoid the fight by keeping a low profile and cautiously navigating through the jungle or at least be well prepared with crafted weapons and wound treatments. There is a wide range of weapons the player can craft from resources found in the jungle - knives, spears, axes, bows. Also, we have a plethora of plants that could be used as medicines to treat wounds or poisoning.
Green Hell packs about 10 to 15 hours of narrative-based content. What type of story are you telling here? Is it just about Jake’s mission to escape and survive?
You are Jake Higgins, a famous anthropologist, who is thrown deep into the emerald and impenetrable Amazonian rain forest. The green hell. It's a dramatic love story where you have to save your loved one, meanwhile keeping yourself alive in extreme conditions, facing ruthless situations, isolation, fighting to survive another day while keeping yourself from losing your mind. There is a twist and I cannot say more not to spoil the story.
Due to the tense premise and isolating setting, Green Hell can get a bit terrifying for players. Would you describe this as a part-horror / part-survival game in a way?
Kucharski and Kulawik: Yeah, it's pretty intense on higher levels of difficulty. There is a tourist difficulty level which is just a relaxing exotic vacation experience, but on higher levels of difficulty there is danger hiding almost behind every bush and in every water pond, especially at night. The darkness and jungle life sounds are scary, especially in VR.
The world of Green Hell is unforgiving. What are some tips you have for new survivalists out there to help them on their adventure?
Kucharski and Kulawik: You have to understand the jungle, its dangers and opportunities, learn to avoid the first and use the second to your advantage, craft a lot, gather everything, experiment - pretty much find your own way to survive.
Green Hell VR is out now on the Quest Platform for $29.99 USD, so you can venture into the dangers of the Amazon for yourself—if you dare!