Among The Sleep Developer Abandoning VR Version
Killbrite admits its game is not well suited to the experience, is considering making a smaller demo.
Killbrite Studio, the developer of PC first-person horror title Among the Sleep, has announced it is no longer working on the VR version of the game, following a rethink about its suitability for the tech.
Explaining the decision on its official website, the studio described VR as "wonderful, immersive, engaging, and powerful," but added that "you really need to design your game for VR from the ground up, not the other way around."
Killbrite continued to address some of the key factors in the decision, focusing specifically on the feel of the game.
"A huge focus when creating Among the Sleep was to make the player feel like he or she was controlling a small child. To accomplish this we spent a lot of time on camera movement," it explained.
"One of the first things we learned when experimenting with VR is that the player needs to be in control. All the time. When a player puts on a headset to play your game he is basically placed inside the game ... A very common technique in story driven first person games is to take away the players control of the camera when you want to tell some story ... This feels horrible in VR."
It continued: "If you do this in VR it basically feels like someone is physically grabbing your head and forcing you to watch something. Suddenly your entire body is paralysed and the sense of freedom of perspective and immersion that VR does so well is shattered. It’s a violation of the trust you are building up between your game and the player."
Reflecting on the experience of developing for VR, Killbrite said it was convinced "the story we want to tell and the relationship we want to build between the player and the child – isn’t doable for virtual reality."
Looking forward, the team is considering using "assets from the game for a smaller and more focused VR-demo."
The experience would be a "tight and focused experience tailored for VR ... a small part of the game, stand alone from the rest of the story, but a much better VR-experience than the original game forced into virtual reality."
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In GameSpot's Among the Sleep review we said the game "doesn't leverage its intriguing concept to tell a more memorable story" but "the journey is far from wasted.
"Among the Sleep is a distinctive and promising first game from new Norwegian studio Krillbite, and though the dreams it conjures might be scary, it ultimately leaves you with the feeling that you're strong enough to face your fears, in dreams or otherwise."
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