Survios is quickly showing that they may be the heavyweight champ of VR game development
GDC 2018 was definitely not my first rodeo at a major gaming event and I have seen my fair share of the gaming dog and pony show. Having been to several E3's and even having been present at the controversial THQ Homefront red balloon event I've been around the block. Part of the thrill of game journalism is the rumors and I have been waiting to see who would be the VR company that people would be gossiping about months before events like they do about the Bethesda's and Naughty Dog's of the PC and console world.
Sure Oculus and HTC get articles written about them but that is mostly for the hardware side. This year at GDC, Survios showed me that they are more than a flash in the pan VR contender. Garnering acclaim for Raw Data, a VR game that was the first make 1 million dollars in sales, the team got the attention of MGM and is now moving faster at making VR HITS than any other VR development company in the space.
The team had their latest hit game Sprint Vector on display but also set a high bar for VR gaming at GDC with their super fun entry into the VR Music space, Electronauts, as well as their first game partnered with MGM, CREED: RISE TO GLORY.
Electronauts is a VR sonic experience where users can remix, compose, jam, and perform on uniquely designed electronic instruments. My hands on demo showed an intuitive and fun platform that was easy to pick up and easy to see how much sonic potential it had. There are people in the media that are quick to say that VR is dead, experiences like Electronauts show why they may be jumping the gun. The experience of mixing was satisfying and one that is shareable in many ways. During the Unity GDC party, Electronauts Audio Engineer showed the party potential of the VR software while mixed along side a scratch DJ.
Music is one of the most fundamental social languages that exist and many have tried to tap into that in VR to help grow the ecosystem. With Electronauts, Survios may have found a winning formula that can bring more celebrity endorsements to VR. During GDC noted WWE superstar and video game evangelist Xavier Woods tweeted that Electronauts was one of the coolest musical experiences he had in along time, not just for VR but for music as a whole.
Since Xavier Woods used to go by the name Consequences Creed this is a good segue into the other new title Survios had on display. The companies fourth game and first collaborative project with MGM, CREED: Rise to Glory is cinematic boxing game inspired by the latest entry into the Rocky movie universe.
“In all the VR experiences we build, we aim to make our players feel empowered, and REED: RISE TO GLORY™ accomplishes this in a very cinematic and active way," said James Iliff, Survios co-founder and Chief Creative Officer. “We’re throwing players into iconic boxing arenas, trading blows with the top fighters from the franchise, all while experiencing the thrills and showtime dramatics of the ultimate Hollywood-style boxing exhibition. With our new Phantom Melee Technology™, the game provides an authentic immersive experience that truly makes you feel like a boxing world champion."
With CREED, Survios had one of the only VR games to have a line at GDC and created a immersive spectacle with a boxing ring that reminded me of E3. The ring did add an extra level of immersion and offered a great view of the experience for spectators and people in line. The game was one of the best VR boxing experiences I have played and only the fact of my limited playtime kept it from being the best. The visuals are very well done and though not completely realistic they are also not cartoony. Lets just say if their was a realistic Rocky Balboa comic book this is what it would look like. In fact I swore that I heard Rocky grunt at me during the training portion only to find out that there was no audio for him yet. The game feels like a boxing training simulator and it was a pretty good workout as well. After playing a few rounds I got a chance to interview some of the team.
Since this is the fourth game from Survios I asked producer Kim Marlis about what lessons from the previous games did they apply to CREED: RISE TO GLORY.
"We utilized all the tech from previous games and made it work with what we are trying to accomplish with CREED. We also looked back at all the pain points of previous games so we don't have to go through them again. At Survios we like to learn from our past experiences and become better. We are taking all the useful data from our previous games and applying them to CREED."
Seeing how fast Survios has moved since having a hit with Raw Data, they seem very poised to keep getting better. If they continue at this rate they may very well be the VR company people associate with quality VR. I think there is a saying that goes like a rising tide floats all boats or something to that effect. My point is that the success of the Survios team is a success for VR as a whole. Once VR grows just a bit more Survios looks to be the team to get the name recognition like the Naughty Dog's of the world. I wish the team the best and hope by writing this I can get an invite to that eventual Survios E3 party featuring Dr. Dre, Michael B. Jordan, and Wiz Khalifa. :)