Have you ever had a bad dream so bad that you thought you were awake and the nightmares were so bad that they seemed so real that you woke up in a sweat of your own fears? Were you able to go back to sleep afterward or did you have to stay awake only to fear what would happen if you did enter your dreams again? Horror and Virtual Reality can play tricks on the mind as you enter the world that can turn what you fear most, into a reality of nightmares. So when I heard that developer CREATIVE VR 3D was bringing the nightmare where control of senses will be part of the experience. So I reached out and the project manager, Marc Cancemi, was happy to talk about their newest game, Bad Dreams, and also about Virtual Reality.
Interview with the product manager of CREATIVE 3DVR, Marc Cancemi
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at Creative VR3D?
“Hello, my name is Marc Cancemi and I am a project manager for the CREATIVE VR3D team.”
Growing up, what were some of your favorite game genres and what was that one VR moment that really drew you in?
“When I was young, my favorite genres were platform games and racing games (FPS didn’t exist yet). As I grew up, I began to like all types of games, and now my favorite genre is the big action-adventure games like Last of Us, Uncharted, God of War… etc I got to know VR in the 90s at the Futuroscope in Poitiers in France but it was really very, very light. It was with the arrival of Cardboard that we started to put a foot in virtual reality, we created our first experience “A Time in Space” which was immediately well received on the Playstore with 800,000 downloads, from there we began to equip ourselves and professionalize ourselves on the field. continuing to release experiences in VR on phone than on Samsung Gear, since we’re developing on PSVR and Steam VR.”
Creative VR3D came out with Darkness Rollercoaster and then Darkness Rollercoaster – The Ultimate Edition for PlayStation VR and Steam. Your newest game still has the darkness, but almost on a different level. What can you tell us about Bad Dreams and the lead character?
“To tell you the truth, we think with hindsight that the title “Darkness Rollercoaster” was a bad choice, we never wanted to scare but rather reproduce an atmosphere between Tim Burton and Disney, a fantastic and childish universe. For Bad Dreams, however, the goal is to put the player to the test! The player is a person waking up on a deserted beach after sleeping in front of his TV at the hotel, we want the player to feel like this character so we will not name him.”
Looking at the trailer, it goes from a cell to a fiery pit of skulls to even having weapons. What exactly is going on here?
“The players must go through different levels to understand what is happening to them. First, he must avoid being killed by the enemies but also avoid sinking into madness otherwise he will find himself in the “limbo of the Madness” where he will have to get out of a randomly generated Maze in less than a minute if he succeeds he will find himself in the same place of the level where he was. On the other hand, if he does not succeed, it is the Game Over and he will have to start again from its last save.”
I like the words that are used, ” Concentrate, Explore, Run, Defend, Dream, But Never Ever Fall Into Madness”. Just from seeing these words, it seems like there may be some hiding in some parts as well as being chased. What can you tell us about the different types of enemies that one may encounter?
“Yes there will be hiding places but not only. There will be pursuits, escalations, fights … etc. The different enemies encountered in Bad Dreams range from Zombies, mutants, to Humans not necessarily very friendly like the butcher with his chainsaw, some enemies will be sensitive to light and others not, others will be able to run on the walls or reach you by the ceiling, some of them will be there only to scare you and raise your madness gauge, most enemies will also be dismemberable depending on the impact force.”
When the player dies, and I am sure that will happen a lot, do they start back at a checkpoint or will they have to start the whole game/level over?
“Good question! As explained above, this will depend on several factors, if he dies he will start over at his last checkpoint, it is up to the player to save his progress by “signing” on a slate, if he goes into the limbo of madness he can either return exactly where he was or his last save.”
Since the theme here is horror and bad dreams, I take it there is not a scarce of jump scares throughout the game?
“There are some but we don’t want to play just on that! As he progresses he will see strange appearances all over the levels, but he should not look at their eyes because this will increase his madness gauge. Imagine you go through a hallway with enemies to the right and to the left. You will have to pass by lowering your head without looking at them but you will also need to be ready in case one of them jumps on you to fight.”
What can you tell about taking control of your senses and how that will work?
“The control of the senses is one of the most original aspects of the game. Of course, there is the “touch” like in many other games where you can grab weapons, objects with haptic feedback, but there is also the force exerted, meaning that if you put a big blow with a weapon the enemy will receive more important damage than if you “tap” him weakly. In terms of possible interactions we have focused on a maximum of action to be done with real gestures without using buttons, for example, to run you will have to swing your arms, to release smoke you will have to sweep the environment with your arms, to avoid breathing a poisonous gas you will have to block your nose, to resist the madness that overwhelms you you will have to take your head with both hands … etc of course you can also equip yourself with a gas mask but this one reduces your field of vision a bit, so it’s up to the player to decide if they prefer to put on their goggles and keep both hands free for weapons or to cover their noses and have a better vision but having only one hand free to equip a weapon. He will also be able to “dispel” the smoke with his hands. At the moment, physic is present as soon as you close your hands or hold an object, so you can move other objects in the environment, it is also possible to climb ladders, to hang on chains, to ziplines, catch boards to use them as shields for enemies who send you weapons, put boards across walls or windows to protect yourself from enemy waves (even if these will still break them at the end of a moment, it is above all to give the players a little respite).”
How does playing with a friend work in Bad Dreams?
“Co-op mode is the main thing for which we want to launch a Kickstarter campaign, we are working with our own financial background and the single-player campaign mode has already taken a year to develop. We have high expectations for the Co-op mode because we have in mind many gameplay ideas like performing synchronized actions, thinking about who will be holding the flashlight and who will be holding a weapon, etc…. Also when players go mad, will they of course be followed by their friends or an enemy? This will make Bad Dreams a pretty innovative co-op component game.”
The music for the game seems kind of intense like you know you are being chased. How important is the sound in the game such as hearing the screams, to help bring the player into this world?
“The sound is always a primordial element, we can almost consider that it is as important as the graphics in a game, at this level we have some surprises and cold sweats for players when they will enter limbo madness, but hush I can not reveal more here without giving you a clue about the plot”
When there is horror and VR mixed, graphics help with the immersion. Did you do anything special with the graphics such as the lighting, to make sure the player felt like they were having a bad dream?
“There is some that yes, especially when your madness gauge increases, we will reveal more about it in September when the Kickstarter campaign will be launched.”
What have been the top three things that feel are the most important when creating for Virtual Reality?
“First of all, we need to ensure that the player does not feel any motion sickness which immediately harms the experience, then you have to be able to capture his attention without losing sight of the actions in the game, it’s a job of lighting and sound that allows doing this, finally we want the player to feel like doing a lot of different things thanks to the many interactions of the game.”
If you entered a door into THE VR DIMENSION, but could never return and could be anyone from any time period, who would you be, from when, and how well do you think you do in the world of Bad Dreams?
“Difficult question! If I could choose an era or a dimension I would certainly choose to be on Mount Olympus drinking mead with the gods! so the little adventures of Bad Dreams would seem easy to me because I would only have to wake up my players!”
Bad Dreams is coming out for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2, PlayStation VR/2, Steam, and Viveport. Do we have a release date and do you also see the game coming out for Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and even Viveport in the future?
“We are planning a release at the end of the year on Steam and PSVR, and later in 2022 on Quest 2, finally we are planning a release on PSVR2 as soon as it becomes available.”
With the content of VR continuing to grow, what would you say to someone as why they should experience Bad Dreams?
“Because it is a different experience from classic FPS or survival games, here you will have the possibility of many interactions, allowing players to never have the feeling of doing the same actions.”
I really want to thank Marc for taking the time out of their day and giving us a closer look at Bad Dreams and for also talking about Virtual Reality.
Bad Dreams will be coming to the PlayStation VR and Steam by the end of 2021, Oculus Store and Viveport later in 2022, and on PlayStation VR 2 when it’s available.
To be notified of the Kickstarter, click here.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.