Resolution Games Launches PvP Dueling Title ‘Blaston’ on Oculus Quest

Oculus Blog
October 8, 2020

What if you could combine the bullet time ballet of The Matrix with the intensity of a PvP duel and the strategy of real-time card games? Resolution Games has cracked that nut, and the end result is Blastonnow available on Oculus Quest.

In development for just over a year, Blaston started out as an old Western shootout. During prototyping, the team slowed down the bullets and reduced the space between players, ultimately arriving at what Shacknews called “a futuristic slow-motion bullet hell.”

We sat down with Resolution Games Chief Creative Officer Mathieu Castelli to learn more.

How does Blatson build off of your earlier work in VR?

Mathieu Castelli: Resolution Games is well known for its multiplayer titles like Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! and Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, and Blaston definitely builds on that. At their core, we aim for all of our games to be experiences players can get into and start having fun immediately—no matter their skill level—while providing a platform for them to increase their skills and have infinite fun. Also, we strive for an inclusive approach to gaming: taking “comfort” as a principle, no graphic violence, and vying for imaginary rather than realistic.

However, it’s worth noting that Blaston is very much a first for us and something unlike anything we’ve done in the past, which makes it that much more exciting. Until now, we’ve never had a game with guns and were actually pretty apprehensive at first. In fact, we tried a few versions with some different weapons to see if there were a way around it, but after various attempts fell flat (slingshots, anyone?), we came to the conclusion to leave it as is, and we are super proud of the result.

What’s your favorite part of the game and why?

MC: The tactics and tricks that emerge from the release weapons. We often run a series of duels where each player is allowed to change one weapon only between each fight, and it’s satisfying to experience how different the duels feel after just one change to the loadouts.

What influenced the overall look and feel of the game?

MC: Louise, our art director, helped lay the groundwork for the art style with the vision being inspired by underground club culture: dark and gritty floors, walls contrasting with neon lights, and characters dressed to impress. It’s a spectacle of blue and pink, combining elements of sport and punk, where everything comes together with the sole purpose of putting on a damn good show.

For the weapons design, the breakthrough came looking at ’80s ski outfits and sports hardware such as tennis rackets!

For the locations, we imagined that Blaston was a grassroots game, so that players would spontaneously use “abandoned locations” to hold their competitions. The abandoned theatre is the first one, but we’re working on a back-street corner, unused warehouse, harbor docks, and more along with additional weapons, avatars, and fine-tuning the gameplay as we see how the game is played once launched.

Who did you work with on the soundtrack and sound design? What was that experience like?

MC: All Resolution Games music is made in-house by our multi-talented sound genius, Linus. The music is inspired by dystopia, gritty and messy but still modern and pulsing, beats that correspond to the fast-paced choreographed action of the arena. The instrumentation mainly uses electronic elements like synthesizers and drum machines to convey a combination of retro and a fresh sci-fi feeling.

For sounds, we initially worked with Magnus Walterstad as a star consultant from Battlefield, Medal of Honor, and Mirror’s Edge fame. He then went on to amplify the aesthetics of Blaston with an electro punk fusion soundscape that was so good that we had to hire him!

What’s the best reaction you’ve seen while playtesting the game?

MC: Our boss and CFO came in for their first playtest all dressed up in suits. After 15 minutes of dueling, they both went back to their desks, changed into gym clothes, and battled an hour more for the first to 21 victories.

If people take one thing away from the game, what do you hope it would be and why?

MC: The rush of adrenaline from the intensity and the freshness of each battle/match. We hope players remember their first FPS experience and how vibrant it felt.

Also, that sense of presence you get when essentially looking your opponent in the eye is so rare for a FPS and is something that really shines through in this game through the power of a 3D virtual environment. We hope people enjoy that experience as much as we have.

Any fun anecdotes from the development process to share?

MC: There have been countless fun moments, but the first that comes to mind is when, one morning, a team member came in and said, “We should totally do a Wanted gun that you curve with arm rotation.”

Me: “Nah, it’s not going to work.”

Me, 30 mins later: “That’s my new favorite gun!”

Another was about three months into production when we decided to organize a company-wide (50 people back then) Blaston tournament at our holiday dinner. By the time the quarter finals arrived, we were all screaming at the top of our lungs. I think at that moment, we all knew we had something pretty special.

What’s next for you?

MC: We’re already hard at work at bringing the next weapons, avatars, and arenas for future updates. We’re discussing themed events, spectating, replays—but we’re mostly getting ready to digest all the feedback we’re about to receive and act fast on it to work with the community to really help shape the game.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

MC: We’ve heard several times that Blaston is very much a Resolution Games game. We are so proud that that means that this game is really appealing to everyone. Never played a FPS game? No problem, it’s super intuitive once you get in there (everyone knows, for example, what a shotgun does, so you grab and shoot; if a bullet is flying toward your head, you duck; etc.). Are you a hardcore gamer who wants to spend 30+ hours battling to become champion? Let me challenge you to a duel and teach you a thing or two!

Every component of this game—from the restricted area of the platform you stand on all the way to the spawning of weapons around you—is very intentional. For example, the restricted platform challenges you to be hyper aware and very intentional in all of your movements as well as those of your opponent. The weapons spawning around you are as though a dealer is divvying out cards, and you have to decide how you can best use them to your advantage (did you know you can also throw your weapons at your opponent when they’re out of ammo?!). The slow-motion speed of the projectiles can lead you into a sense of security, but don’t let that fool you: Your opponent may have figured out how to not only move side-to-side and up-and-down on the platform but forward-and-back as well to change the apparent speed of the projectiles.

There is just so much to this game that makes it fun and challenging at the same time. We invite players to truly experience the depth of this game, because once you get in there and explore the weapons and the environment and how they can strategically be used, you’re in for a wild ride.

Also, when you’re fighting and you don’t know if you’re fighting a bot or a player, you’ll have to thank Mike Booth for that. He joined Resolution’s board this year, and we asked him to apply all his Left 4 Dead and Counter-Strike bot-master knowledge to making bots for Blaston!

Ready for a robotc duel of your own? Given Blaston a shot on Quest today.