After the made-in-India VR game Speedy Gun Savage stealthily popped on Steam, IGN India managed to get in touch with studio Gamitronics so that we could discuss Speedy Gun Savage, the studio’s decision to go with VR, and inspirations. Speaking with Gamitronics CEO Rajat Ojha shed quite a bit of light on the development of Speedy Gun Savage for PC VR in addition to a soon to be revealed PlayStation VR (PSVR) release.
Why Virtual Reality?
The first thing we talked about was Gamitronics’ decision to go with VR for Speedy Gun Savage. Not only has the technology been quite expensive all over the world, it’s quite difficult to get a VR headset in India to begin with.
“We make games for gamers and in this case, gamers who have VR headsets or will get some day,” says Ojha. “If I look around and see what people in India are playing, I find them playing Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Uncharted, and Call of Duty, so I don’t think gamers should be categorised demographically. Gamers are gamers and they’ll play whatever is good.”
It also helped that Gamitronics released Speedy Gun Savage in arcades the world over. The response to that version guided and informed its decision to bring it to VR.
“The early version of Speedy Gun Savage is already out and has clocked over ten thousand hours in over 140 arcades, and is loved by people visiting those arcades, which gave us the confidence to treat it afresh and make it ready for consumer edition,” says Ojha.
Speedy Gun Savage Will Be India’s First PSVR Game
Thankfully, despite there only being a Steam listing for Speedy Gun Savage, the game will also be making its way on to PlayStation VR.
“We are coming on PSVR also, just not right now,” says Ojha. “As we all know PSVR audience is sticky audience, we want to ensure everything is right before pushing our game on PSVR. We have devkits and will push it to PSVR very soon.”
VR is an important avenue for Gamitronics, with Ojha describing the technology as the driving force for the studio. The studio’s work with amusement park VR rides has helped it quite a bit in developing the game.
“We start with VR as the visualisation of the theme park always happens in VR,” says Ojha. “We worked on the theme park version of Resident Evil, Battlefield, and many known IPs in VR and have huge toolset built around VR.”
“Our entire understanding of VR comes from theme park business as our VR content has been experienced by the eight to sixty years age group, so it’s easier for us to understand how to keep it simple and use VR as effective medium,” he continues. “We also understand what an experienced gamer misses in VR and we are filling that void.”
When we asked Ojha about how Speedy Gun Savage fits in with Gamitronics’ overall strategy and what kind of audience the studio expects to find with the game, he stated that the team isn’t expecting to attract an audience to the degree that Half-Life: Alyx did.
“I’m not expecting newcomers for our VR as Half Life Alyx did it,” says Ojha. “Their standards are unmatched and they have done good job in bringing new audience in VR which will help us. We’ll keep on pushing our title and will continue to excite newcomers but claiming that will happen is a long shot.”
Virtual Reality and Motion Sickness
One of VR’s biggest problems with a considerable percentage of gamers is its potential to cause motion sickness. Plenty of games have figured out a few different ways in approaching the issue, with the most common ones being the ability to teleport around the map, and the game applying a vignette effect around the edges of the screen. Gamitronics was faced with similar issues, leading to game design decisions.
“I actually wanted horse, trains and falling sequence in the game but had to remove because those could cause motion sickness,” Ojha says. “We still have early implementations of those mechanics and I used to have all the fun seeing people falling here and there but nope, can’t do that with end-users.”
Ultimately, Speedy Gun Savage features refined movement so as to avoid motion sickness in its players. The game has a controlled frame rate throughout, avoiding problems, and the modern hardware capabilities of gaming PCs and VR headsets help mitigate these problems even further.
The Origin of Speedy Gun Savage
Ojha told us quite a bit about how Speedy Gun Savage came into existence from the unlikeliest of places. Rather than building out from its arcade business, the game had much humbler beginnings – as a smartphone game. “We know how to build games but could not learn how to make money with IAP (in-app purchases) model so we cancelled it,” says Ojha. It also features influences from classics like Wolfenstein 3D.
“The original idea came to me recalling my days playing Wolfenstein 3D with my brother where we used to compete how far we could run without dying hence the initial name of the game as Wolfrunner,” remembers Ojha. However, the game’s scope started to exceed the capabilities of the platform.
“I remember sitting with John Romero and discussing it with him and then few more industry friends and everyone said that it was way too much for mobile,” he recalls.
Ultimately, Speedy Gun Savage is quite different from Wolfenstein 3D or even the prototyped Wolfrunner.
“I don’t think there is any similarity left other than few enemies and few environments,” he says.
Why the Name Speedy Gun Savage?
Finally, we had to ask how Ojha and the team came up with the game’s name. Turns out it was inspired by country music. He left us with this.
“The name originated from Pat Boone’s song ‘Speedy Gonzales’ and I even spoke to Mr. Pat Boone for the song rights, he was super kicked about it,” he says. “But unfortunately recording company had the rights and recording companies usually have lot of IP conditions which don’t make business sense.”
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