What if you could be s samurai and along with that you all the honor and values that were bestowed upon you as you grew up and trained. Do you think you would ever need to use the skills that you possessed or do you think through clear thinking and meditation, you could overcome any obstacle that came your way? We may never train like samurais or be forced into that situation (hopefully), but it’s one thing to think about how we would do vs how we would react. That’s when I heard that developer, Tab Games, was allowing anyone to become a samurai to use stealth, creativity, or even brute force along with physics to allow us to enter the world of the samurai, with Samurai Slaughter House. So I reached out, and Justin Rosete was happy to discuss his newest game as well as talking about Virtual Reality.
Interview with Owner of Tab Games, Justin “Tab” Rosete
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at Tab Games?
“Hello and thank you for having me on THE VR DIMENSION! My name is Justin Rosete, Tab is also a nickname I go by.
Although I do contract out sometimes, Tab Games is just me, so I do pretty much everything.”
So you really are a jack of all trades as being an artist, musician, and solo game developer?
“That’s right. I’ve done a little bit of everything from playing in bands, to doing illustrations, and even doing a little bit of tattooing. What I like about game development is that I’ve been able to use all my talents and focus them on a single project.”
For those who may not be aware, what have been some of the projects that you have worked on either from developing or creating the music for?
“I was in a couple of different bands that played small shows in the Los Angeles area and as far as game development goes, I’ve made several fan games and a few quick freeware games that I tossed together for fun. The first things I’ve done both game development and music-wise that have shown up on people’s radar is Samurai Slaughter House and the Samurai Slaughter House Soundtrack, which is available to listen to for free on SoundCloud and I upload new tracks regularly as I make them.”
Your newest game, Samurai Slaughter House recently released on Viveport and also coming to Steam, what can you tell us about the game?
“So the version on Viveport is an early prototype that I put together. It has a system based on JRPG games where you move tiles that trigger random arcade-style battles where you have to fight a wave of enemies before continuing. The prototype is definitely fun and is worth checking out if you have a Viveport Infinity subscription. The thing to really be excited about is the final version that I’m currently working on. I took everything I learned from making the prototype and am creating something that’s on a whole other league. The tile system has been dropped and the game will now take place in an open-world sandbox. You’ll be able to use a huge variety of weapons and you’ll be able to unlock abilities that can be used in combat and will also allow you to access new areas.
The game will have a full campaign with interactive NPCs and lite character progression. You’ll be able to approach combat using different techniques, including stealth. And of course, it’s all in a beautifully stylized world inspired by Japanese manga and Edo period artwork.”
One thing that really caught my eye is the art style that seems to work very well in VR. Was this always the direction for the style you wanted or did the game look different from the initial concept?
“This may sound odd but the origin of the game is actually the art style. I was prototyping a rogue-like maze shooter and I wanted to have different themes and when playing around I discovered how cool a black and white manga theme looked. The look was so cool, I decided it needed its own game. Around the same time I was working on a melee system that worked great on its own, but didn’t mesh well with the shooting aspect.
So I had this awesome manga look and a melee combat system, to the logical conclusion… samurai! From there I brought in the blood effect and the look was born. I did do a lot of fine-tuning from there, but I would say the look was improved on rather than really changed.”
What can you tell us about the different weapons in the game and it really is an open world?
“The variety of weapons is what’s going to make the game really fun. There will of course be a selection of samurai swords that will be able to be stored and drawn from their sheaths. There will be throwing knives and shuriken, spears, chains weapons, both smoke bombs and ones with gunpowder, and traps too.
It will be an open-world but still with a linear aspect to it. It will sort of be like Zelda games where you have your choice of where you want to go and explore but you do have to complete certain quests, find certain items, or gain certain abilities in order to access new areas and find new secrets.”
What can you tell us about some of the bosses we will face and which one is your favorite?
“I don’t have any huge oversized monster bosses yet (although I’m not saying there won’t be any!), but I do have several boss enemies, some of which you’ll be fighting more than once. One of my favorite recurring boss characters is definitely the Oni Samurai. He’ll appear in certain parts of the story but also randomly when you least expect it. Despite being killed, he keeps coming back to harass you and part of the game will be trying to figure out why he keeps coming back, so you can stop him.”
Will there be any leaderboards to see who slaughtered the best?
“At least for the moment, the challenge mode from the prototype isn’t in the version I’m working on now. If it is integrated, it will be done in a more organic fashion. You’ll likely find an area during the story that holds contests or something like that. Although you may be excited to hear that I am looking in to the possibility of having multiplayer co-op and/or PvP.”
Are there any plans of either having some DLC down the line or maybe a sequel to Samurai Slaughter House?
“For right now I’m just focusing on creating a full and complete game. After the game is out, I may add some free post-launch DLC if I miss any weapons that should have made it into the game. I do have some ideas for other projects after Samurai Slaughter House is complete, but if people do want a sequel or expansion, I’m open to the possibility.”
Do you have any plans of bringing the game to other platforms like the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and/or PlayStation VR or possibly PlayStation VR 2?
“I am planning to port the game to the Quest after the PCVR version is released. I personally don’t know much about PSVR, but I’ve spoken to publishers that are interested in the publishing the game to PSVR and they said they know technical teams that can see if it’s possible and take care of it. So there is definitely a possibility of a PSVR port, although there may be another team involved in porting the game.”
What has been the most surprising to you when developing a game for VR?
“I think what surprised me the most is how much the PC and Oculus Quest can handle with a few tricks and some good optimization. When I first made the prototype, I used all low poly graphics and I was afraid to use too many colliders. I started upping the graphical quality a little at a time and I was surprised to realize that I didn’t have to sacrifice my artistic vision to have a smooth running game, and that is something I’m really excited about.”
Since you are a musician and a developer when creating the music and the game, do you find that you are harder on yourself because you know how you want the game to sound, but at the same time you know how you want the game to look like?
“I wouldn’t say I’m hard on myself as much as I would say I’m very meticulous and detail-oriented, which is one reason why I do like doing everything myself. If I’m fine-tuning things and I notice a texture doesn’t look quite right in the scene lighting or I notice a section of a song should be longer, I don’t have to go back to the creator and try to explain exactly what I want and hope they understand what I’m asking for. I’m able to make as many changes as I want and I’m able to see my changes in the game right away and see what needs adjustment.”
Let’s say you found a door that allowed you to enter a dimension into VR, but you would be in that world forever, who would you be, what would you be doing, and what would your music sound like when you entered the scene?
“I’d like to be somewhere with a beautiful view and plenty of places to explore and find food. Something like the beach area in Ark on a private server, but without dinosaurs trying to kill me, lol. I’d say for a beach setting, some nice reggae and ska would do nicely. :)”
So what’s next for you and Tab Games?
“For right now I’m just focusing on finishing the game. I’m currently overhauling the AI and combat system. Next will be the audio/sfx and last I’ll be on to the really fun part, which will be focusing on the characters, narrative, and level design.”
With the list of games continuing to grow, what would you say to someone as to why they should experience Samurai Slaughter House?
“First off, I just have to say that I love how much VR is growing. I think the more great unique games are out there, the more we’ll draw in newcomers to become ‘one of us’. What will really set Samurai Slaughter House apart from other VR experiences is its rich adventure mode where you’ll be exploring epic landscapes and have multiple ways to use the sandbox to defeat your enemies.
I want to really think Justin for taking time out of his schedule to give us a closer look at Samurai Slaughter House as well as talking about Virtual Reality.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.