Have you ever seen horror movies where there is a scene involving a summoning and sometimes it may go right, but there are times when you knew the characters should have not gotten involved. Then later on in the movie, we were right and chaos and horror start to unfold. But when I heard that developer Rhine Games was making a game about a summoning gone wrong that involves plush animals, I wanted to know more. So I reached out and the founder and Solo-Developer, André Braun was happy to talk about his newest game, Plush Madness, as well as talking about Virtual Reality.
Interview with André Braun, the founder and Solo-Developer of Rhine Games
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at Rhine Games?
“Thank you for the interview! My name is André Braun, I’m the founder and Solo-Developer of Rhine Games. I do everything, from art to design to coding. I am still employed at Ubisoft, so this is more of a side-project of mine, but maybe one day I can work full-time on the games I love to do.”
Growing up, what were some of your fondest gaming memories and what was that one VR moment that made you want to work with Virtual Reality?
“During my teenager days, I often invited friends over to play some Call of Duty, where I would just grab a knife and jump scare them. It was one of the best times. With VR I had my first interaction with Superhot. It was so immersive that I wanted all of my games to support VR. We’re currently in a time where VR is still to become a standard, but I hope that one day VR will be a thing just like our smartphone is one now.”
Rhine Games released Train Chase in May of 2021 and your newest game, Plush Madness just recently released. What can you tell us about the game?
“Plush Madness is about a summoning that has gone bad. You and up to one friend now have to redo it and fight the demons that have possessed the plushies. When I started, I wanted to make a fighting game in VR. I quickly came to the idea that fighting plushies would be quite fun in VR. So I built a story around that and started making the game.
It hasn’t quite become what I initially thought, but I’m still proud of having it finished and it’s leading the way to better games.”
What can you tell us about the maze and does it periodically change?
“Not only the plushies have been possessed but the house too. So rooms are not next to each other as they should be.
When you go through a door, you could land in the bathroom, the next room could be the basement, next room the living room. So you have to find out, which room is behind which door.”
One of the things that caught my attention with the trailer is how you can rip the body parts off of the plush animals. What are some of the other ways that you can destroy them?
“So the base mechanic is hitting the plushies. If you hit them often, they’ll just drop dead. But you can also hit them hard enough, which will make their body parts fall off. In VR, you can also pick them up and rip each body part off and throw it away.”
What do the symbols do in the game?
“The symbols are a way to open (and close) doors. It is an additional layer to the maze. You’ll have to find out, which symbols to use to open specific doors in the maze.”
So there really is a time limit?
“There is a timer on your hands which is decreasing every second. Once the timer hits zero, you’ll be returned to the lobby. The timer also decreases, when a plushie hits you. But luckily, the timer increases when you defeat a plushie.
So you’ve gotta be fast to go through the maze.”
What has been the most surprising to you when it comes to creating for Virtual Reality?
“Seeing your creation in a 1:1 scale of the world. When developing for a flat screen, you cannot see all the details. In VR, you can just look under the table, behind things. You can see so many details that get lost otherwise. This also opens ways for having extras which were not possible before.”
When it comes to graphics, what do you feel is the most important rule to get the most out of design?
“Staying consistent. A lot of people tend to buy assets and just put them together. But sadly often, those do not look good together because they were made by other people with different art styles. Which was one of the reasons I started to make my own assets, even though I’m a programmer which is the reason my first game was low-poly, as I had to get used to it.”
There is something eerie about the music from the trailer, what can you tell us about it?
“I wanted to have a dramatic music to cut the video based on that. It should give you a feeling to hurry, to be quick, but also kind of a horror drive to it.”
Where do you see VR in 5-10 years?
“I can see VR being more accepted and with more people using it. Seeing the new PSVR coming up and their appeal for AAA developers to develop a VR Version, I can see that bringing a next level of quality to VR.”
Are there any plans to bring Plush Madness to other platforms such as Oculus or PlayStation VR?
“For Oculus, yes. Sadly it takes time to get approved, but I’ve got everything ready for that and I’m just waiting for Oculus. For Playstation VR, this will sadly not happen. They require a higher quality which Plush Madness does not give.
But with my next game, I’m planning to get it on the PSVR, as I’ve learned from my previous games and will aim to produce higher-quality games.”
Will there be any leaderboards to see who can escape within the quickest amount of time?
“No, unlike Train Chase I haven’t implemented a leaderboard, but I might add it in the future.”
What are the top three things you wish you could tell your younger self?
“I’d actually just say one thing. Start small and finish, instead of starting and giving up. I could have released more games when I did not give up that early.”
With the amount of content containing to expand for VR, what would you say to someone as to why they should experience Plush Madness?
“If you’ve always wanted to tear some plushies apart, but did not want to do that with your beloved ones, now you can do so in the game. That is the main thing I do like the most about the game and with the time limit and the maze, it is an additional exploration and thinking to it.”
I want to thank André for taking the time out of his busy schedule to give us a closer look at Plush Madness as well as talking about Virtual Reality.
Plush Madness is out now on Steam and will be coming to the Oculus Store.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.