Thursday just got topsy-turvy with the launch of Fail Factory!—now available on Gear VR. Put your multi-tasking skills to the test as you juggle tasks, robots, and whimsical puzzles on your chaotic quest for epic failure and fun.
We pulled Armature Studio Game Director Mark Pacini from the factory floor to ask him what makes Fail Factory! tick.Since announcing Fail Factory! in November, what kind of responses have you seen from the gaming community?
Mark Pacini: Armature has mainly been doing action-based titles, so creating a whimsical puzzle game is definitely different for us. The initial reaction has been a mix of excitement and positive anticipation—players were surprised to see us go this route. That being said, there’s been a lot of interest in the game and how we’ll add the Armature flair to a VR game. We can’t wait for players to check it out.
How about while demoing the game?
MP: I think hearing people murmur, “Oh crap, now I’m super stressed,” is pretty common! This often happens as the gameplay speeds up or when the route you have to navigate the robot through gets tricky. Escalating failure and the stress that comes with it is part of the game’s charm. It’s really fun seeing people get totally immersed in the stress of it all, which hopefully means that we created the experience we were going for.
How has the game evolved over time?
MP: We ended up iterating and evolving a lot of the game interactions based on us gaining a better understanding of the controller—how it would best work in our game and from a player usability standpoint. For example, in the Sorting Stations, we originally wanted the player to grab and then “flick” the objects. However, the data from the controller was too noisy to keep up with the rapid pace that we imagined for the game. So we changed the interaction to be more like a “gravity gun,” where you point and grab with the trigger button and then release the trigger to fire. Since this data is very reliable and consistent, we can expect the player to be able to quickly do this action repeatedly.
What motivated you to build Fail Factory! for VR as opposed to a more traditional gaming platform?
MP: When we were considering creating a VR project, most of the top VR titles at the time were either horror or “experiential.” It seemed that there could be some fertile ground and a chance for us to create a new experience if we went in a direction focused on wacky physics and quirky, lovable characters. The Gear VR Controller had just been announced around that time, so we though maybe a game in that vein could reach a different audience and bring some new people in to try VR.
Fail Factory! was specifically created to be a simple—but not simplistic—game. The mechanics were purposefully designed to be approachable for a wide range of ages and gaming experience. The Gear VR Controller is critical to this, making the game feel unique and intuitive, in comparison to using a traditional controller. We also wanted to created something that had scale, so with our ever-present fascination with gigantic robots, we set the game in a massive assembly factory that lets folks experience this is an immersive way. That’s why Fail Factory! was a good match for VR.
What’s next for you? Any exciting projects in the works?
MP: Fail Factory! was our studio’s first VR title, and we learned a lot, so we’re looking forward to using that knowledge and hitting the ground running on something new.
Thanks for the insights, Mark. We’re excited to see what Armature comes up with next.
Clock in at Fail Factory! on Gear VR today. We’ll see you on the factory floor!
— The Oculus Team