Not all racing games are created equal, and today, we’re thrilled to introduce a new title that challenges you to drive to survive. Coming soon from OZWE Games to Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform, Death Lap pulls no punches and breaks all the traditional rules of the road. Buckle up because if the speed doesn’t kill you, the driver next to you just might.
Fans of the Anshar franchise should be well familiar with OZWE Games, a disruptive VR dev that’s been making strides in the industry since 2014 and the Gear VR Innovator Edition launch. In their upcoming release, they’ve mashed up a Twisted Metal tribute with the zany antics of go-kart-style racing games like Mario Kart for a darkly comic racing game that will have you howling with laughter even as you put your life on the line. The game takes its name from an annual tournament held once a year, where drivers wield deadly short- and long-range weapons and the first to cross the finish line wins. Behind it all is the host, Nitro Saint Payne—a marvelous yet tragic man with a definite need for speed.
We sat down with OZWE Games CEO Stéphane Intissar to get the inside track on Death Lap.
Did you draw upon any cultural references to come up with the character of Nitro Saint Payne?
Stéphane Intissar: Nitro Saint Payne is a fictional character inspired by a mix of famous supervillains—Arcade from Marvel Comics, a combination of an evil genius and a hitman; Mojo from Marvel Comics, a ruler, slave trader, and host of a deadly show; Dan Killian in The Running Man, a science fiction novel written by Stephen King; the Joker, the criminal mastermind and archenemy of the superhero Batman; and last, but not least, Cruella de Vil, the main antagonist of The Hundred and One Dalmatians, a pop-culture type epitomizing a person who is very, very mean and has an enormous ego.
Nitro is portrayed as a prodigious former racing champion who turned into a network host for a deadly racing game. He is originally French, but he toured the world, taking first place in every match, course, Grand Prix, and marathon. He suffered a tragedy of his own, but from tragedy, comes his one masterpiece, "Death Lap."
How did you amp up the action on the track?
SI: Besides weapons, players can use items to get an edge over their opponents: traps, secret paths, and pickup items spread throughout the 3D environments. There is a general "if the speed doesn't kill you, the driver beside you will" tone, giving the play a sweet dose of dark humor.
To spice up the game, players can be eaten by a colossal piranha, electrified by the malicious clown, and crushed by a giant dice over the ruthless rides.
There are five vehicles to choose from—each car has its own unique personality and character with gameplay variations and different weapons. Each vehicle features a variety of strengths, weaponry, and special abilities.
Nitro has created five devious tracks: a psychedelic desert, oil on fire in the desert, Las Vegas by night, an abandoned theme park, and a giant pinball.
Single or multiplayer, this game allows up to six players to fight each other with integrated VoIP enabling players to communicate with their opponents easily. Also, racers rank against others on the global leaderboard.
What best practices or lessons learned from your previous VR development experience did you draw upon while concepting and iterating on Death Lap?
SI: Despite our experience with locomotion in VR in the Anshar Wars series, we found that it was difficult to drive and shoot at the same time while players control their cars in first- or third-person view. The player steers the vehicle with the left controller (stick or tilt) and controls the weapons with the right controller. So a lot of iterations went on, making both actions easy to learn and master.
Racing in VR is also more complicated for comfort and performance due to the physics vehicle system, but we were able to come up with an innovative control scheme and utilize our technical experience in optimizing for mobile CPU/GPU to overcome those issues.
If people take one thing away from the game, what do you hope it would be and why?
SI: Shooting while driving is super fun in VR!
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SI: I guess the only thing left to say is to keep an eye on us until Death Lap is released!
Thanks for taking us along for the ride, Stéphane. We can’t wait to share new details in the months ahead.