Supernatural Caper ‘The Room VR: A Dark Matter’ Now Available on Quest and the Rift Platform
Fans of The Room — rejoice! The Room VR: A Dark Matter is available today on Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform. The first installment in the award-winning series made exclusively for VR, A Dark Matter transports players to early 20th century London to investigate the disappearance of several prominent scientists. Using a collection of obscure gadgets and supernatural abilities, players will travel to exotic locations in search of clues.
A series originally designed for mobile devices, The Room specializes in a unique brand of tactile gameplay—using your hands to decipher mechanical puzzles, like the Rubik’s Cube or the Tangram.
Can you give us the elevator pitch for The Room VR: A DARK MATTER?
Barry Meade: For years, we’ve suspected the atmospheric gameplay we specialize in would be hugely magnified by VR. In other words, we’ve recreated our famously immersive, tactile interactive gameplay on a famously immersive platform, and it’s a perfect hand-in-glove fit.
The Room has always featured dollhouse-like puzzles and physical riddles. How do you usually design these puzzles, and did that process change when designing for VR?
BM: We start by doing our homework. We then marry these estranged worlds both through the visual style and gameplay. We have beautifully crafted wood and brass 19th Century spaces and objects, but with a creepy edge to them.
Can you talk about one specific puzzle you feel is particularly unique in VR, either because of hand presence or the level of immersion afforded by VR headsets? It’s simple, but everything about it is tactile, satisfying to use, and the payoff is fantastic. It’s the kind of mechanism that only makes sense in VR, and I love it.
What’s something about A Dark Matter you feel will surprise longtime fans of the series?
I think the extra believability in VR will make even veteran players sit up and take notice. I hope players feel a kind of perfect immersion where they’re completely lost in the grimly beautiful world we’ve created. On top of that, I hope this version of the game—with an all-new story, setting, and characters on a very different platform—feels familiar to longtime fans.
What lessons did you take away from developing your first VR game, Omega Agent, and did that experience influence work on The Room VR? We made Omega Agent to learn how to design for VR and we learned it brilliantly by doing everything absolutely wrong. If you have good VR legs, however, it’s an absolute blast to play and there aren’t many games like it, certainly not these days. In terms of how it affected A Dark Matter, making Omega Agent taught us there’s only one way to make VR games: never port an experience; always make something unique for VR.
What’s the most challenging aspect of VR game development? What’s the best thing about it?
It’s hard to design a game that takes advantage of the best that VR can offer because the leading platforms vary so wildly in capability. It’s debatable, but the ideal Room game in VR would likely be room-scale and feature full freedom movement—we couldn’t do this in A Dark Matter due to the differences in the major platforms. We hope that if we make another Room VR game, things will have moved on, and we’ll be able to push what the technology can do.
Mar 28, 2020 at 00:07