Flying through space is something we have all thought about at some point in our lives. The ability to fly and see different planets while admiring the calm that would surround us. But, if that flight turned out to be a combat to do whatever you could to save mankind, how are would you be willing to go and risk it all? It’s quite fascinating when you think about not only good times that could be had, but with the bad that would come with the territory as well. So when I heard that developer OZWE Games was bringing one of their games and remaking it for the Quest 2, I had to know more. So I reached out and the CEO, Stephane Intissar was happy to talk about their newest game, Anshar 2: Hyperdrive as well as talking about Virtual Reality.
Interview with the CEO of OZWE Games, Stephane Intissar
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at OZWE Games?
“I am Stephane Intissar, CEO at OZWE Games, and the original creator of the Anshar Wars franchise. I mostly do development and specialize in optimization for performances on mobile chipsets.”
Growing up were there some games that really inspired you and what was that one VR moment that really drew you towards Virtual Reality?
“Rogue Squadron is THE game that I always wanted to play in VR. That triggered the need to create a similar type of game when the DK1 was released. This became the Anshar Wars franchise.”
OZWE Games has a portfolio of games that include the Anshar franchise, VRtiller, and Deathlap. What do you feel the formula that OZWE Games uses to make sure everyone has the best experience possible?
“Over the years we have developed an expertise in motion-based games, where players don’t feel motion sickness. It works spectacularly well in third-person view.”
Your latest game, Anshar 2: Hyperdrive has been remade for the Quest 2. For those who may not be aware, what can you tell us about the game?
“It is a full-fledged space shooter, with awesome visuals, with 13 solo missions, multiplayer battle royale, deathmatch, and coop for 6dof VR. The response from the community has been fantastic, with 10/10 ratings.”
Can you tell us more about the dogfighting aspect?
“You have full control in all 3D directions of your ship. You fly at super speed, and while by default you are equipped with blasters, missiles, and backward teleporter, you collect power ups to pump your damage power over the enemies
It is a blast to be able to fly anywhere and come up with the best strategy to take the high ground over your opponents.”
There is a single-player campaign along with online modes that include a co-op mission, deathmatch, and even a Battle Royale. How many players can play at one time what information can you provide about the different modes?
“Right now, each match can have up to 6 players. There are 3 multiplayer modes: Battle Royale, a last man standing mode where the reachable map is shrinking over time (my favorite), a pure deathmatch mode where the player with the highest number of kills wins, and a coop mode, where the player must group to defeat an enemy that is nearly impossible to defeat alone
Every week one of those three modes is featured and players can earn twice the amount of XP while playing them.”
There is also unlockable content in the form of cosmetic skins for ship and helmet. Which ones are your favorite and is there one skin that someone has not been able to unlock yet?
“All skins are inspired from superheroes. My preferred one is the one you unlock at level 50, which is based on a superhero that wears a very advanced suit, red and gold ;).”
For someone new to VR and jumping right into Anshar 2: Hyperdrive, what has been done to make sure everyone has a smooth experience?
“The third person controls are super intuitive and do not induce motion sickness. For the first time, a player can move around and not feel anything wrong!”
Is there a steep learning curve for the game?
“Not really, but you need to get used to controlling a ship with the hand, but it is very natural since this is what we did when we were kids.”
Virtual Reality is about immersion and I can only imagine being inside your ship is an experience all in itself. Was there anything special or challenging about bringing Anshar 2: Hyperdrive to a platform like Quest 2 and making sure that the player would be as immersed as possible?
“Our biggest challenge was to implement the first-person view. When running on a mobile chipset, flying over maps that are 100 km wide and maintaining an accuracy of one inch is extremely difficult. If maps were just 1 km wide, it would be easy, but in Anshar 2: Hyperdrive the GPU starts to have precision errors when you are flying far from the origin. Fortunately, we carefully balanced the power budget and we have been able to address this issue without the player noticing it.”
If you could tell your younger self anything about Virtual Reality, what would they be?
“Virtual Reality is not just about reproducing reality in a digital world, like the Matrix for instance. It is about feeling and doing something you can’t in the real world.”
Do you see the game coming to other platforms like PlayStation VR/2, Steam VR, and/or Viveport?
“Absolutely! We want to port the game on PSVR, but we need to get a SDK for this first 😉 If you know someone at Playstation who can send us one, please reach out!”
If you walked through the door into THE VR DIMENSION, but in the world of Anshar 2: Hyperdrive, but had to pick three other pilots from any other time period to dogfight against, who would it be and why?
“Anakin, Luke, and Starfox?”
So what’s next for you and OZWE games?
“We are adding more content to the multiplayer part, then we will localize the game in several languages, like the original version.”
With the content for Virtual Reality continuing to grow, what would you say to someone as to why they should experience Anshar 2: Hyperdrive?
“This game definitely stands out in its genre. It would be a shame to not experience such a game. The community that is supporting the game is awesome and very welcoming. This is the best surprise we had when we released the game.”
I really want to thank Stephane for taking time out of their day to give us a closer look into Anshar 2: Hyperdrive and for also talking about Virtual Reality.
Anshar 2: Hyperdrive is out now for Quest 2 on the Oculus Store.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.