Crystal Rift is a grid-based dungeon-crawler, in classic first person perspective. An experiential horror challenge game that takes the player through a series of increasingly mysterious locations. With Crystal Rift out on PlayStation VR, I wanted to delve into the minds behind the game and reached out to Psytec Games on what inspired them and their thoughts of VR.

John Crystal Rift

John Hibbins, the founder of Psytec Games.

 Was were some of the influences for Crystal Rift?

“Early Grid Based dungeon crawlers like Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder, I loved these, actually being able to be there in the Dungeon in VR was a whole new experience. Originally I was developing an early prototype to Crystal Rift called Dungeon Director, an early screenshot here:

While that prototype led to Crystal Rift, it was the day I tried the code inside of an Oculus DK1 that made me say to myself, I HAVE to do this. I also added a jump scare for a bit of fun, and everybody screamed. It was clear to me then that VR is on a completely different level. and my mind exploded with the possibilities (I still feel that way today!)

When creating the game to the final version, did anyone on the team actually get scared and they suggested to tame it back a little or was that really the key point that you knew you were on the right track?

“Yes and No. Crystal Rift is soft horror, atmospheric and tongue in cheek fair ground house of horrors fun, nothing too serious. However, near the end of the game, level 20+ there is a big twist and change that was always planned from the start, everyone involved did their best work here and it shows, we went a little too far probably but i’m very proud of the result, I get plenty of Emails where people have to stop or pace themselves to get though that section.”

How was it working with the PlayStation VR compared to others?

“Consoles require much more work and investment. I sometimes see people question why console games cost more in some cases than PC, and it’s clear after I have been through the process that it’s a really costly process to embark on. Requirements such as local store text, multiple global stores, paperwork, age ratings and really detailed and complex quality requirements push the costs up dramatically. It took us almost 7 months of man hours to get the process done, i’m very proud we managed to do this for both titles self funded.”

Out of your experience, what genre do you feel is perfect for VR?

“Almost everything, I really can’t think of any examples where VR does not improve on the experience in some way.”

When the catalog of PlayStation VR games, if someone was just starting out or looking to buy that next VR hit, what makes Crystal Rift stand out?

Crystal Rift is different, it’s a long (10 hours+) game that’s just a fun adventure. It was made by a tiny team (Jon Hibbins & Nick Pittom) with a contractor for Music and Robert Ramsey for the Monster models. It’s pure indie and has got lots of twists and turns, a cool story, lots of traps and secrets. It’s “Old School” some people love that, some people don’t, but most people enjoy the ride.”

What VR games or experiences would you love to come over to PlayStation VR?

“Alien Isolation, Defense Grid 2 and PUBG.”

What do you feel is the top three points that are needed to make a VR game or experience stand out?

“VR games that are designed from the ground up for VR always stand out.”

Are there any future PlayStation VR games or experiences that Psytec Games is working on or that can be shared at this time?

“Yes and No, we have been working on our next title for a long time now, we expect to announce that this year, and we find it very hard to keep it a secret, it’s awesome.”

I want to thank John Hibbins for the interview and Luke Sanders for helping set this up. Crystal Rift is out now and please check out the review.

In case you missed the trailer…please enjoy.