The Killing Floor franchise just got an immersive upgrade, with both co-op carnage and a narrative-driven single-player campaign. Get ready for some Zed-induced nightmares—Killing Floor: Incursion is now available for Rift on the Oculus Store!
We hit up Tripwire Interactive President and Co-Owner John Gibson and Project Lead Leland Scali to take us into the belly of the beast.
What motivated Tripwire to bring the Killing Floor universe into VR?
Leland Scali: When I first put on Rift and got my hands on the Touch controllers, I was amazed at what they meant for VR. We could be somewhere we’ve always wanted to go—inside the world we had been crafting for years. As a developer who’s been working 10+ years on games, I personally wanted a new challenge and to be a part of this platform that was changing everything. We wanted to push ourselves as developers to solve a new set of problems, get in on the ground floor, and help define what VR could be.
John Gibson: Killing Floor felt like such a perfect fit with its emphasis on sci-fi horror. After trying out the early Touch controller prototypes and basic demos, we knew that—if given the opportunity—we could really set the standard for amazing gunplay in VR and take things to a whole new level.
What will fans of the franchise appreciate most about Incursion?
JG: Even though fans of the franchise have been fighting some of the iconic Killing Floor monsters for years, there’s something so special about seeing and fighting them in VR. It’s like you’re only really seeing them for the first time. There’s so much more of a palpable sense of fear when you see the spider-like Crawler enemy scampering toward you. The sheer horror of seeing a nine-foot-tall Fleshpound is incredible—you really appreciate just how big this guy is in VR. It feels like you’re truly inside the Killing Floor universe.
LS: Incursion is a different style of game than Killing Floor, with a layer of puzzle-solving inside a full-story campaign. Fans of Killing Floor will enjoy a different narrative of the key characters within the KF universe and uncover story elements untold in the other games of the franchise. As with any Tripwire Game, gunplay is a big focus. We tried to bring the Tripwire touch to the weapons and make the core combat fun and exciting.
On the flipside, what will newcomers to the series enjoy most?
LS: Hopefully all of it! A new player can expect to hop right into the story without knowing much about the Killing Floor universe and still have a great time. We’ve made all efforts to give the player a sense of power, while still giving them a challenge to overcome.
JG: They’ll also enjoy actually feeling like the hero in their own action movie, dual-wielding weapons in slow motion with chaos all around them. Newcomers will find out how amazing it is to share this experience with a friend in co-op as they fight through the story together, watching each other’s backs to survive.
What was the initial inspiration for Killing Floor: Incursion? What sets it apart from its predecessors, and how did the project change over time?
LS: Early in development, we wanted more of a defense game with minimal story. The players would choose a location to defend until they died and then try to do better next time. Then, as we worked on fleshing out the designs, the challenge of creating a narrative-driven, single-player/co-op experience sounded more exciting.
JG: As we spent more time in VR we realized that it was a completely new medium that had the potential to be more immersive than any medium before it. Everything in VR is more visceral and impactful, so we felt that being able to tell a story in VR—especially a great story with real emotional impact—would allow us to reach players in a way we had never been able to before. That was very exciting for us, and it still is.
LS: We had never really focused on a single-player game as a studio, and we thought it was time to try. Over the course of development, we just kept asking ourselves how we could make it better and then acted on it. We also let people play and spent time collecting their feedback and making changes until we felt the game was great.
What’s your favorite part of the game?
JG: Without giving away any spoilers, the final battle is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in VR, and I think players are going to be blown away when they experience it. It’s such a unique experience that really plays to the strengths of VR and pushes the player to think outside of the box. The voice actor for the character Emma, Morgana Robinson, did such an amazing job of conveying the emotion and weight of the moment. It was such a brilliant performance—around the office, we started calling it her “Oscar moment.”
LS: This is a tough one, but I would have to say the moments that happen when you get a co-op game going and start playing with dismembered body parts. You really get to know your partner when you see what they’ll do with a decapitated head and dismembered arm in their hands.
Would Killing Floor: Incursion have been possible outside of VR? What does VR add to the experience that’s missing from more traditional gaming platforms?
JG: The game was created from the ground up with VR in mind to provide a unique experience. It could still be a great game outside of VR, but it wouldn’t be the same. Without VR, you can’t have a player truly feel like they’re there, and we use that so much throughout the game.
LS: You gain so much immersion when you're there in VR. In a standard shooter, you line the target up to the center of the screen and click. In VR, there is no center of the screen—you actually need to learn how to aim. In a traditional game, you don’t fully appreciate the sense of scale or the atmosphere of an environment like you do in VR. It feels more authentic when you turn around and see that unexpected enemy staring at you from only four inches away, standing at about your height.
Where do you think VR will take us next?
LS: I truly feel that VR will enrich our lives in a lot of different areas. VR games are very compelling and have the potential to let us do things we’ve never done in a game. Education will benefit tremendously from VR. It’ll be amazing to actually go places and learn about things as they’re being broken down and described right in front of you. VR has its place in almost every entertainment medium—someone just needs to take advantage of it.
JG: The technology is advancing rapidly. First we’re going to cut the cord and have more freedom of movement in VR. Technology such as eye tracking and foveated rendering will let developers create much more realistic and detailed worlds. The way we interface with VR will improve to tracking all of your fingers, your body, even your facial expression. All of this will allow game developers to create even more immersive experiences, while also opening up the door to new kinds of social interactions. I’m looking forward to the day when I can get into VR and be in the same virtual room with a friend across the globe, being able to see every facial expression and gesture that they make. It’ll be like being in the same room together, and it will be revolutionary.
LS: It’ll take time, but as long as we have developers willing to take on the challenge of creating something that has no roadmap, VR will succeed. Then we can all enjoy the unique experiences that can only come from a medium as immersive as VR.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JG: We think it’s really important for players to know that Killing Floor: Incursion is not a “jump scare” game. Many players have tried playing games like that in VR and just don’t like them. The games that put players in the creepiest situations and force them to see something super scary jump out and scare them to death—they put some people off. Killing Floor: Incursion is not that type of game. Yes, you will be scared, and yes, sometimes you won’t notice a monster walking up behind you until you turn around. But we don’t force players into situations where we’re trying to get a cheap jump scare. The fear is situational, and the scares are due to the challenges ahead of you. It’s a visceral game, but it’s primarily a blend of action, sci-fi, and horror with a compelling story and amazing combat.
Thanks for the inside scoop, John and Leland. We can’t wait for everyone to get an immersive taste of the Killing Floor universe.
Grab your copy of Killing Floor: Incursion on the Oculus Store today!
— The Oculus Team