When I first heard about Code 51: Mecha Arena, I had this idea about how it would play out in Virtual Reality. Could the hope of having mechs in a deathmatch multiplayer really happen? When I had the opportunity to review it, my hopes became a reality and I have been having a great time playing ever since. When a game is made, I like to not only appreciate the hard work that goes into making someone’s dream, but I also like to think about the developmental and publishing aspects as well. What does it really take to make and publish a game? So I reached out to see if I could get some thoughts about Virtual Reality, the process, and what the future may hold for Code 51: Mecha Arena, and both Smelly River and DeerVR Games were more than happy to help out.
The Development team of Smellyriver Studios
Hello and welcome to The PlayStation Brahs. Please introduce yourself. What do you do at Smellyriver Studios?
“My name is Edward Wu, from Shanghai China. I’m the game producer of Code51.”
How long has Smellyriver been in the gaming industry?
“Smellyriver was founded in 2012, nearby a river that was very smelly and polluted when I was a child. We have been engaged in game development from the first-day studio founded.”
What are some of the games you have been involved with that some of the gamers out there might not have been aware of?
“All the games we have developed before Code51 only published in China. It is worth mentioning that we developed a game tool for them. This game tool was very popular with the player in Europe. The player would learn how to battle in a tank of through our tools easily.”
Code 51: Mecha Arena just launched on PlayStation VR. Who came up with the idea?
“I have a dream that became a pilot driving the mech and fighting other mechs like what Amuro Ray did at UC0079 or Hikaru Ichijyo did in Macross. When I first tried a VR game, I realized that I should create a VR mech game to make my dream come true, and bring it to all the mech fans like me. Thereof Code 51: Mecha Arena was developed.”
I do like the fact that Code: 51 is an online-only deathmatch game, was this always the plan? Were there some ideas that were thought about, but scrapped at the last minute?
“In the beginning, the game was made for arcade as a B2B project. So we focused on imagery, mech driving experience and shooting experience, and the most important anti-vertigo at first. Later we decided to make it a console/PC game. We chose to first release on PSVR because the test of PSVR is one of the most stringent steps for release. Once our game passed the test and released on PSVR, it could also release on other platforms easily. It’s very important for us to make more players in different areas to experience and play together especially now when the VR players are not as many.”
Using head tracking is an interesting approach, but it somehow seems to connect you with your mech in VR. Were there other ideas about tracking?
“There are many army fans in the development team. They know the head tracking has been already used in attack helicopter and fighters, so when the first time we talked about the turning control, they came up with head tracking.
After the release of some previews, we just realized that right stick turning control was very popular in FPS players, so we’ve added it in the first patch.”
How was the process of working with Sony and PlayStation VR? Did Sony suggest things that maybe you did not think about when making Code 51: Mecha Arena?
“The account manager in North America also came to experience games before and he liked it very much. Since this is the first time for us to release a game on PlayStation, we had a lot of hard work in getting through the test. We submitted 6 times for test before Code51: Mecha Arena was finally released.”
Are there any plans for more mechs, maps either as paid or free DLC? Any chance for any leaderboards or ranking system in the future?
“We do have some new mechs and map design, but they haven’t been tested yet and still need to be improved. Leaderboardsares being made, we will release player ranking and some player behavior data on our community: https://www.reddit.com/r/Code51_Mecha_Arena/
With the catalog of PlayStation VR titles, as well as players increasing weekly, what would you say to someone who was looking to add to their collection, on why they should pick up Code 51: Mecha Arena?
“NOW you get to see what serious mech combat looks like!”
Are there any future projects that Smellyriver Studios is coming up with for PlayStation VR that we should be on the lookout for in the future?
“Yes, we are trying something new, you will see.”
Publisher of Code 51: Mecha Arena
Hello and welcome to The PlayStation Brahs. Please introduce yourself. What do you do at DeerVR Games?
“Hello! We’re DeerVR Games, a Chinese game publisher focusing on VR games. This time we are the publisher of Code51: Mecha Arena.”
How long as DeerVR Games been in the gaming industry?
“We’ve been in the gaming industry since 2016 when we found VRCORE Community, which now has become the biggest VR developer community in China. We’ve also hold VRCORE Awards twice, it’s an international VR content contest, where many outstanding content and teams have won the awards in the past two years. Code51: Mecha Arena is one of the winners in 2016. As a publisher, Code51 is the first game we published and we hope to bring more excellent Chinese games to gamers overseas.”
What are some of the games that DeerVR Games have been involved with that some of the gamers might not have been aware of?
“Code51 is our first game. We have a plan for publishing more games in the future.”
Some gamers, as well as players, may not be aware of what the actual Publisher does when it comes to games. Can you give us some more detail and what goes on in the process?
“There’s actually an NDA about the detail, but what can be revealed is, that publisher is an important role to bring the game from the developer side to the platform. For developers, they may not be familiar with the customer market or not good at promotion. So we’re responsible for doing some communication and promotion to let more fans know about the game.”
When the idea of Code 51: Mecha Arena came about, were there any suggestions that DeerVR gave that should be part of the game?
“We’ve provided some test and survey before, in order to help the development team getting some advice from the market and test players. The team would decide in the end.”
Did DeerVR Games have any input on the names for the mechs?
“No, we didn’t. All the mechs were named after their performance. In the background story, it’s the mech designer who gives the name to their mechs and we totally respect the decision made by the team.”
Is there a chance that we will be able to see a DeerVR Games vs Smellyriver Studios match? Possibly with some friendly wagers that the viewers can vote on?
“That’s a good idea! But the developers will definitely kick our ass, in the end, it’s their game and they’re all masters of it.”
Do you feel that Virtual Reality is the future of gaming?
“Yes, for sure. The VR content developers are doing better and providing more and more games to the users. We believe VR game will gradually become the mainstream of game in the future, but it’ll still take some time, maybe years.”
With the catalog of PlayStation VR games and experiences as well as gamers growing, what would you say to someone on why they should pick up Code 51: Mecha Arena?
“If you are looking for a VR online multiplayer game, if you are FPS fans, or if you are keen to giant mechs, then Code51: Mecha Arena is definitely a game you shouldn’t miss. Try it yourself, and you’ll find it’s much more interesting than only watch gameplay videos.”
Are there any future projects that DeerVR Games is coming up with PlayStation VR that we should be on the lookout for?
“In our plan, we’ll publish 3 more games on PSVR this year if everything goes well. We also look forward to having cooperation with developers all over the world to make more games known by more fans.”
I really want to thank both Smellyriver Studios and DeerVR Games for taking the time out of their busy schedules and just giving us their thoughts and passion not only for gaming but for Virtual Reality.
Also, check out the review.
To learn more about Smellyriver follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel. To learn more about DeerVR Games, make sure you follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.