When you step into Virtual Reality, what are some of your favorite places to go? Maybe it’s a distant planet where you can be a hero, maybe it’s a museum in a different country, or maybe it’s getting closer to animals. All those are exceptional choices when you want to escape. But has your mind ever wandered into the screams and scares of horror? A genre that when combined with Virtual Reality, can take things to another level and playing tricks on your eyes and imagination. It really does immerse you in its universe. But when I heard that developer, Incuvo, and publisher, Bloober Team, was bringing the Virtual Reality horror, Layers of Fear VR to PlayStation VR, I had to know more. So I reached out and the VP of Production at Incuvo was happy to talk about the game as well as about Virtual Reality?
Interview with VP of Production, Radomir Kucharski
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at Incuvo?
“Radomir Kucharski VP of Production at Incuvo.”
Bloober Team really has developed and published some amazing games such as The Medium, Brawl, Layers of Fear, Layers of Fear 2, and Blair Witch to name a few? Growing up, what have been some of your influences that really wanted to make you work with games?
“The original Unreal and Quake games are what influenced me the most, especially when the availability of level editors created the whole mod culture.”
In 2019, Bloober Team published the game Layers of Fear VR and then in October 2020, you released Blair Witch: Oculus Quest Edition. Now, you are bringing Layers of Fear VR to PlayStation VR. What can you tell us about the game?
“Layers of Fear VR is a psychedelic horror game that puts you in the mind of an insane painter to discover the secret of his madness. With the Virtual Reality headset, you can explore the constantly changing victorian mansion, painter’s house, distorted through his twisted mind, in a way you could never experience in a flat, traditional game.”
So you really will be questioning your own eyes and mind?
“I bet, Bloober is famous for psychological horrors and stories which mess with player’s minds. Layers of Fear is no different and VR only makes losing your mind even more intense and realistic. The whole experience of living in the house which is more creation of insane mind than bricks and mortar is amplified by VR technology.”
Horror and VR are a perfect mix due to the immersion of VR. And with that perfect mix, you will have jump scares and if done right, can be truly scary for the player. Have additional jump scares been added since the PCVR release for PlayStation VR and did you make sure to turn up the insanity of fear or Layers of Fear VR?
“We have not added new jump scares compared to the PCVR version. We felt it’s important to stick to the original character of the game being a psychological horror and to not build atmosphere by abusing cheap jump scares.”
When making a game that was originally non-VR and giving it the VR treatment, have you found some things that are more challenging to make work in VR that was originally not thought about?
“Layers of Fear was not our first VR game so we had a pretty good idea of the problems we would encounter. Firstly it is performance. VR games need a way higher frame rate to avoid discomfort to players. On top of that, it has to be rendered twice (for each eye). considering that the flat version was a PC/current-gen consoles game, porting such a game to PSVR is super challenging and involves some smart optimizations. We found the dynamically changed mansion especially difficult to recreate on PSVR, due to the fact that we had to get rid of many optimization techniques like prebuilt light and shadows.”
Sound can really bring the immersion, was there anything special to make sure the sound immersion of Layers of Fear VR was just right?
“We used an audio spatializer and made sure all the sound sources were properly placed in space, for example, the phone had a ringing sound connected to its physical position to improve immersion.”
What was the most surprising about bringing the game to PlayStation VR?
“Sony certification process was something that took us by surprise, we knew it would be tough but it was still way tougher than expected.”
Is there anything interesting you had to do for the controls of the PlayStation Move controllers?
“Movement control without any physical stick on the controller was an interesting challenge, we are happy with how well you can play now with Playstation Move Motion Controller.”
For the players who will be stepping into the world of Layers of Fear VR for the first time on PlayStation VR, what do you think will be the most surprising for them to experience?
“Dense atmosphere created by visual quality and special effects which are so intense that they are turned off by default and need to be turned on in options.”
Now, Layers of Fear has some expansions such as Layers of Fear: Inheritance, Layers of Fear: Solitude that was on Google Daydream, and even Layers of Fear Legacy on the Nintendo eShop. Will there be any plans to bring those and Layers of Fear 2 into VR in the future on platforms like PlayStation VR and Oculus Quest/Quest 2?
“For now, we do not want to communicate our plans, but stay tuned:)”
If you entered a door into another VR horror world, what type of horror would it be, and do you think you would be able to survive the terror?
“We can stomach every VR terror the future brings our way.”
When will Layers of Fear VR be available on PlayStation VR?
With the content of games growing for Virtual Reality, what would you say to someone as to why they should experience Layers of Fear VR?
“LoF is a unique experience of viewing the world through the insane mind of a crazy artist, as such, it is a must-have on a list of every fan of psychological horrors.”
I really want to thank Radomir for taking time out of his day to give us a closer look at Layers of Fear VR and for talking about Virtual Reality.
To learn more about Incuvo, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. To learn more about Bloober Team, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.