Since its launch in November 2019, Pistol Whip has been letting VR gamers live out their action movie fantasies in pure EDM style on Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform. Today, developer Cloudhead Games is back with a treat for fans of the fast-paced title, adding a new level featuring “Akuma” by HVDES.
We sat down with Designer Antony Stevens and Project Lead Joel Green to learn more about this breakout hit that’s taken the VR world by storm.
Antony Stevens: We’ve been blown away by the response—it’s almost hard to describe. We started as an adventure game studio pioneering VR in 2013, and developing The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Starseed for the launch of Oculus Touch in 2016, but Pistol Whip is a completely different beast built for replayability and community. It feels like players truly understand what we’re trying to do with Pistol Whip, and they want to see the game do well enough to bolster VR as a whole—the way Beat Saber has before.
We’re almost four months since launch, and Pistol Whip continues to grow with every update. We’re starting to plan tournaments and long-term roadmap features, and we have a loving community on Discord who continues to give feedback and suggestions. On Quest in particular, players are sharing the game with their friends and family (including some VR naysayers) thanks to the tetherless form factor, and everyone comes out with a smile on their face.
With Quest, Pistol Whip is like an arcade game at any time and any place, and I think it builds community naturally, the same way sharing a quarter did back in the day.
How did your partnership with Kannibalen Records come about?
Joel Green: From the very beginning of development we knew that the game’s soundtrack was its beating heart. We wanted to find tracks that conveyed the grittier, more aggressive tone of Pistol Whip when compared with other music games. The whole team started throwing out ideas and diving down rabbit holes until we started to zero in on something that felt right.
Once we found Kannibalen Records, it became clear that they were a perfect partner. Not only does their catalog have the exact vibe we were looking for, but they also happen to be an ambitious, independent Canadian team who likes taking risks—much like Cloudhead Games. It was an instant kinship, and they continue to be awesome partners.
What’s your favorite part of the new DLC and why?
AS: There’s a moment near the beginning of Akuma where an army of baddies line up in the distance. You see them only for a couple seconds before they’re out of sight, but you know what’s coming. There’s a lull in the music—a calm before the storm—and as you get closer, tightening the grip on your controller, you duck under an obstacle and the bullets start flying.
I like that Akuma is all about rhythm and movement; through all the chaos, you’ll really need to feel the beat to get a high score.
What’s next for you? Any exciting updates in the works?
JG: So many! Frankly I’m having a hard time keeping track of them all. The monthly free updates will continue, and we have much bigger plans taking shape for the longer term. We believe that Pistol Whip’s core gameplay is a super solid foundation, and we intend to build it into an experience that pushes boundaries and surprises players for a long time to come.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
AS: We want to thank everyone for their support so far! Keep tweeting at us @PistolWhipVR, keep leaving reviews on the Oculus Store, and keep dropping feedback in our Discord. We read everything, and it helps us shape the game with each new update. We’re excited for Pistol Whip to continue growing with your help, building to the ultimate action hero experience.