Remember picking up your favorite comic book and just being part of that story? As you read, the action appeared before your eyes even if others could not see what you saw. Well, imagine a story where the town you grew up in was a small town and everyone knew everyone. But as you grew up, you had to leave your friends…your family…the place you called home. But when you get the news that something is wrong you have to come back home, but the home you thought you knew is now different. The locals, the ones that you knew, have become infected. How would you handle that story? What choices would you make? These are all great questions where anything could happen. But I always wondered, what if we could enter into a world where the comic book style unfolds allowing us to have the story unfold around us. So when I heard that Drifter Entertainment was bringing a survival horror story with a comic book style, I had to learn more. So I reached out to Drifter Entertainment and they were more than happy to allow a peek inside Lies Beneath and give us some of their thoughts about Virtual Reality.
Interview with Kenneth Scott, Brian Murphy, and Hunter Huspeth of Drifter Entertainment.
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at Drifter VR?
- Kenneth Scott, Art Director [KS]
- Brian Murphy, Creative Director [BM]
- Hunter Hudspeth, Executive Producer [HH]
For those that may not be aware, Drifter VR has been part of some special titles such as Gunheart, ROTG, and Robo Recall. What other games or projects have you been a part of?
[HH] “Those are the titles we’ve released so far as a studio, but our individual experiences cover a huge variety of games including Gears of War, Halo, Doom, Unreal, Quake, Fable, Just Cause and many more.”
Lies Beneath is coming soon. Can you give more details about the game and what it’s about?
[HH] “It’s a survival horror game about a college student returning to her small Alaskan town to find that something terrible has happened. Considering some of the inspirations for the game, it’s obvious that things will get weirder and weirder as Mae tries to survive long enough to figure out what is going on.”
What was some of the inspiration for Lies Beneath?
[BM] “For the gameplay, we were inspired by the classics of the genre. The overall pacing of the game borrows heavily from games like Silent Hill. Where creepy atmosphere and mood propels the sense of dread and exhilaration forward more than tons of jump scares (though we have a few of those too). We borrowed our survival mechanics from games like the Resident Evil series. The game world is made of intimate and creepy spaces that force the player to confront the monsters up close. You’ll be counting every bullet as you weigh the risk of getting into arms reach with a rusty melee weapon.”
The comic book art style is something that for me and I am sure others are being drawn towards. Has this always been the direction from the start and will the gameplay have that comic book style such as pages turning or entering a new frame as you progress?
[KS] “Comics have long been dear to Drifter hearts, and they have arguably been the match that lit a lot of our childhood creative fires. We adopted horror comics and manga as a creative rudder very early in the process. Pairing horror comics with the newfound freedom and mobility the Quest offered was a peanut butter/chocolate combo we had to taste. Nom Nom Nom.”
Lies Beneath is survival horror game, can expect a lot of jump scares or should players expect the unexpected?
[BM] “We believed a good jump scare had to be earned. Cheap scares startle you when you don’t expect it. Great scares happen when you know it’s coming and then you get freaked the hell out anyways.”
Can you tell us about some of the weapons that can be used within the game? Any surprises that haven’t been mentioned yet?
[BM] “One of the weapons we haven’t featured in many of the videos yet is the spear gun. It’s got some great 2 handed interaction where you have to actually pull back a lever to reload it. Part of what makes it unique is you can spear things from a distance, and yank them back toward you. It feels great when you spot some precious ammo across the room, yank it close with a spear, pop it in your gun and take out the baddie right in front you.”
What’s been the safest rule that you have found when developing for Virtual Reality?
[BM] “VR is an extremely personal medium so we try to give players as many options as we can while still maintaining the core experience of the game. The classic example of this is offering all the various options for locomotion, to accommodate various levels of motion sickness. We actually created a new type of “teleport” control for this game that is inspired by original Resident Evil tank controls kinda, but adapted for VR. It’s pretty fun to try out even if you are a smooth motion style player.”
Virtual Reality continues to improve, what has been the most surprising thing you have come across when developing for Virtual Reality?
[BM] “I think pairing cordless with full motion control is probably the biggest innovation in the space in recent memory. Once you can move freely in the virtual world without worrying about getting tangled up it unlocks a completely new level of immersion and physicality. It’s kind of funny really because before I tried It out I didn’t really think it would be that big of a deal, but once we tried it out, it became one of the main reasons I wanted to develop for the Oculus Quest as the primary platform.”
I really want to thank Kenneth Scott, Brian Murphy, and Hunter Hudspeth of Drifter Entertainment for taking time out of their busy schedule to talk about their experience with VR and to give us a closer look into Lies Beneath.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy…