Welcome to The PlayStation Brahs. Please introduce yourself. So what is it like working at Archiact?
“Archiact is a great studio located in downtown Vancouver, Canada. The company has been working exclusively in VR (and now AR) for 5 years. We’ve grown a lot from when I started over 3 years ago, but my last two years on Evasion have truly been the highlight. I’ve been so fortunate to collaborate with an incredible, passionate team who aim high and wanted to create one of VR’s first great shooter titles.”
So can you tell us about the process of bringing content into Virtual Reality?
“We develop exclusively for VR so we are constantly in and out of the headsets, playing prototypes and reviewing how things will actually look and work in VR. It is a very agile process, requiring a lot of testing and iteration. It’s important to actually think “outside the box” or in this case outside of the “screen” to understand what might work best. Our focus was on fun gameplay and intense action, so that drove a lot of our design decisions when making Evasion.”
So if anyone has an idea for Virtual Reality, is there anyone or a specific department in particular, where they would make share their idea?
“We generally expect our core design team to lead in terms of exploring and developing ideas for new games – however great ideas can come from anyone on the team and we work very collaboratively. Once ideas are shared they are reviewed and refined by the design team and for larger project assessments, as the producer, I would assess the viability of a game for the market – ie. Who is the audience for this? What hasn’t been done in this space yet and specifically for us, is there a reason to develop this for VR? What does it bring to the space or the medium that we’re not seeing in other games?”
Archiact VR has been part of some amazing titles, especially with PlayStation VR. What are some of the game that Archiact VR has either developed or published that some of the gamers who are new to PlayStation VR, that they might not be aware of? Do you have a favorite?
“We have two games that we developed internally for PlayStation VR: Waddle Home (a PS VR launch title) and Evasion. While we were building Evasion, Archiact’s publishing team also worked with other developers to publish their games on PlayStation, games like Smashbox Arena, Darknet & Blasters of the Universe. We learned a lot about publishing on the platform (especially regarding the QA process) from their experiences launching those games. I’d have to say my favorites are Waddle Home, because I developed the original version for Gear VR and loved how it was transformed with the use of the Move Controllers, and Smashbox Arena, which is just a really fun dodgeball game that is a whole lot of silly, yet competitive fun.”
So Evasion gets announced and truly looks amazing. So tell us about the story and gameplay. Will there be cross-platform support?
“Evasion is an intense bullet-hell shooter that takes place on Faro Colony, a mining colony that has been overrun by the lethal Optera. Players take on the role of a member of “The Vanguard” an elite military special operatives team that is sent to discover why the Optera have broken a decades-old armistice by invading this remote mining colony. From the first moments, Evasion puts you under an all-out assault as you fight your way through while learning more about the colonists and how you can help them.
Evasion is available on Steam, Oculus Store and PlayStation VR. All 3 stores have their own matchmaking systems, so there isn’t cross-play support. However, Steam VR supports Oculus & Vive, so players on Steam can all play together, no matter which device they are using.”
Thank you so much for adding Aim controller support. Was this one of the main focus points when coming up with the idea of Evasion on PlayStation VR or was it thought about being added later?
“When we began developing for the PlayStation VR, we knew that people who had the AIM controller (like myself) were hungry for more content and we loved the immersion of holding a gun in your hands. Our very first prototypes with the Aim were immediately fun and we knew that, once we refined it, it would feel really good.”
Did you find working with the Aim controller more challenging than what you expected? How would you say developing for the Aim controller differs than with the DualShock 4 controller? Any advantages or disadvantages?
We thought about it a lot before developing for it because we had to combine our two-handed gameplay into a single controller experience. That took some tuning and testing; however, we immediately loved the shield and tether at the front of the weapon. We originally thought it looked “odd.” but we knew it was fun and our motto is “gameplay first” so we really leaned into what was fun and worried about appearance later.
I would say that the Dualshock was a similar experience where we didn’t know quite how it would feel until we tried it. Personally, I immediately felt comfortable. Dualshock controls are so intuitive for FPS controls, and it really felt great integrating it for console gamers. As much as I love intuitive controls like the Aim and the Touch controllers, there’s something equally as great about the tradition FPS controller experience. I love that Evasion can play whichever controller you choose and still feel great.
One tip for PS VR players: if you’re having “tracking” issues, make sure the camera can see your light ball or light bar on your controller at all times in the camera settings. You can solve a lot of tracking issues that way. I the drift is bad, put down your controller for 5 seconds on a flat surface. These solved nearly all tracking issues with our QA team.”
So Evasion allows us to go at it alone or with others. Please tell us about the multiplayer aspect and how joining the squad will work. How many players will be allowed in multiplayer and will there be a different type of gameplay modes, such as Deathmatch or something maybe some surprises that maybe we have not seen before?
“Evasion allows you to get in there with a partner for all of the game modes, Campaign and Survival. Survival mode really requires players to rely on each other, so I would recommend going in there with someone who won’t forget to heal and revive you! You’ll need the support, since that mode varies each time you play, introducing different objectives and new enemies (including the fearsome “Rhino King”).”
About how many levels are in the game? Any global leaderboards?
“Our story includes 9 campaign missions, where you learn about the secrets of the Optera and what this invasion means for humanity. We also have Survival mode, which takes place on 3 of our maps but is a different battle every time. There are currently no global leaderboards, but we’re always assessing potential features. All of the content is playable single player or co-op with any class combination.”
Will, there be a physical edition as well or just digital? Maybe an Aim controller bundle that you would like to announce?
“Currently there are just the digital editions, but if there is an appetite for a physical version (especially an Aim bundle) please let us know!”
When you approached Sony with the idea for Evasion, did they have any suggestions or where you pretty much have given the green light?
“Sony has been really supportive of our vision and has been a great partner in helping us to bring Evasion to PlayStation VR. They provided feedback on our use of the controller and, as with any VR game, we went through their VR consultation service, which helped us find issues with player comfort and performance issues. They really are committed to making sure that everything on the platform reaches a high level of quality.”
Is there any future DLC planned such as additional weapons or classes?
“Can’t make any announcements yet, but we have a team working on updates.”
With the library of PlayStation VR games and experiences growing, what would you say to someone on why they should pick up Evasion?
“If you have an Aim controller, I hope it’s an easy choice. If not, Evasion is all about great gameplay and having a great time in the headset. Try out co-op, go on missions and really enjoy the rush of surviving an intense onslaught of enemies in a beautiful sci-fi landscape. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, I promise that Evasion will deliver a high quality, awesome experience that you’ll remember. And if you’re on a PC, try turning up those graphics settings – better explosions, a richer environment, and more destruction await if you do. We hope you’ll check it out!”
I really want to thank Jennifer Dowding for taking time out of her busy schedule, the team at Archiact, and for Melissa Guzman for setting up everything. To learn more about Evasion, please visit the site and make sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Archiact, please visit their site and make sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Also, make sure you follow Jennifer as you never know what she will be helping to create next.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.