Imagine being out with nothing but having to survive on your mind as the sky turns from light to dark and all you have is some woods and the sounds that live in those woods to keep you company. Do you think you would make it? Do you think whatever might be out there that might be looking at you from afar, would finally take its toll on you and your mind start to play games? Or do you think you could actually last as long as necessary and be able to survive from whatever nature may throw your way? These are all good questions that anyone, given the situation, could face. So when I saw that Developer Bad Julie was making a game where staying alive and surviving in the woods for Virtual Reality called WOODS Chapter 1, I needed to know more. So I reached out and J. Rodin, the founder, and CEO of BadJulie Games gave us more details about the game and to talk about Virtual Reality.
Interview with the founder, and CEO of BadJulie, J Rodin
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Could you please introduce yourself and what you do at Bad Julie Games?
“Thank you! I’m J Rodin, founder, and CEO of BadJulie.”
I really like your motto “BadJulie is forged in winter. No two snowflakes are the same, and the same should be said of gaming experiences. We will lead the way in the adventure of game design, leaving our footprints in the snow for others to follow. We embrace this as our ideology, and are ever committed to forging ahead with new exciting games.” It’s so true. Can you tell us more about this?
“We view ourselves as both unique, and also part of a greater picture. We may be but one snowflake, but together with other game companies and players, we form the winter landscape. We grow, and will continue to grow like snow landing upon the ground.”
Your first game WOODS Chapter 1, is currently being worked on. Can you give us the story behind it and what the WOODS is about?
“18 months ago. I got myself in a situation where I had snow up to my knees as I was chopping firewood. When my hands started to turn blue, a slight feeling of survival overcame me. At that moment, a little idea sparked into my mind. WOODS…
WOODS is a survival game with a deep narrative, and mechanics focused within VR that improves the player as opposed to just a stat, as well as environmental beauty surrounding the player.”
The chance of survival is in the WOODS. Are there any chances of escaping the woods and if so, will there be certain outcomes?
“In the first part of the game there will be no escape. It is setting up for a bigger story which will take place in later parts. But, in those later parts there might be a chance to escape.”
Now, without giving too much away, when you have woods and darkness, things can happen. Can the player expect any visits from certain characters or creatures?
“That is a possibility… ;)”
What type of survival techniques will the player expect to be doing in order to survive? Are there any consequences for not completing any of the survival tasks?
“Well, the player will be required to fend for themselves. This means keeping wood for the fire ready, fishing and hunting for food, and of course making sure they don’t die!”
Was it always the idea to have Woods be in Virtual Reality?
“Yes, right from the start. With the main reason being that we wanted the players to feel more involved with the game. It’s easy to dismiss the hardship when you see a character. But when you are the character? Then it becomes personal.”
WOODS Chapter 1 leaves the impression that there will be more chapters in the future. Is there an idea of how many chapters you are wanting to do or that you have planned for?
“The vision for the WOODS franchise is big. Starting with WOODS as a two part series with each part consisting of 3 chapters.”
What have been some of the challenges you have come across when working with VR?
“Functionality is definitely the trickiest part. Making mechanics that fall in line with the vision of the game, and then adjusting if a portion falls flat.”
Do you feel it’s better to develop for VR vs non-VR?
“A tricky question indeed! It really depends on your vision for your game. For the WOODS game, VR was a better approach. It puts you right into the action!”
What has been the number one rule that you have learned when creating in VR?
“Testing. So much testing and double checking things interact as they are supposed to.”
If you could tell your younger self three things, what would they be?
“1/ You’re not ALWAYS right.
2/ Keep up the hard work, and keep dreaming!
3/ Start saving $$$!!!!!”
Do we have a release date or a time frame when Woods will be released? What platforms will WOODS be released on?
“Currently we are looking at an optimistic Spring release in 2021. It will be available for SteamVR and Oculus with the goal to launch on PSVR and Quest as later on.”
With the library of Virtual Reality games and experiences continuing to grow, what would you say to someone looking for that new game or experience on why they should experience WOODS?
“Want to experience a unique survival game with an awesome narrative? Well, then check out the WOODS.“
I really want to think J Rodin of Bad Julie from taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to THE VR DIMENSION about Virtual Reality and a closer look into WOODS coming to PCVR.
In case you missed the trailer, pelase enjoy.