After being postponed, the Iron Man game for PlayStation VR is finally ready for debut. Here is the proof of the demo available for a few days on the PS Store and an interview with Game Designer Ryan Darcey
Two PlayStation games have suffered the most from the pandemic: the first is of course The Last of Us Part II, while the second is precisely this Marvel’s Iron Man VR. The Camouflaj Game Studios game was expected to arrive in 2019 but, after having encountered some technical problems, it was postponed for the first months of 2020 and the rest is history and a new release date: July 3rd.
As soon as we enter the site of the responsible software house, we are greeted by a long letter explaining how Covid-19 hit the Seattle area hard and consequently this young team. The history of the Camouflaj is linked at the moment to a single game, République, an adventure between puzzle and stealth initially released in episodic format for the mobile market and only in 2016 converted for PlayStation 4. Iron Man VR is their second project, in addition to be a game that can draw much more attention to itself; element that makes it an opportunity not to be mistaken for a software house that wants to grow and continue to develop increasingly complex titles.
Two Move and one armor
Sony also seems to believe so much in Marvel’s Iron Man VR, and how to blame it? Take advantage of the most advanced technology, virtual reality, one of the most loved characters, especially in the post Robert Downey Junior, and promises a compelling simulation of the famous armor. After trying the demo, available for a few days on PlayStation Network, we too can only confirm the feedback from last year, when this game was shown for the first time to a selected audience and immediately inserted in the Top 5 of the most anticipated VR games: Iron Man VR seems really fun.
Forgive us for the simple analysis but it is really like this: a blast. As soon as you enter thearmor branded Stark you feel immediately at ease, and if you know a little about the character just understand which keys to use to start hovering in the air just like your friend Tony would do. As you will probably know, Iron Man flies through a series of reactors positioned both under the boots (and we cannot control them) and on the palms of the hands, or the heart of the gameplay of this exclusive PlayStation VR. That’s why two are needed to play Iron Man VR PlayStation Move: to fly, but also to fight as the superhero would, it is in fact necessary to have full control of the upper limbs, which is possible only with two motion controllers.
The demo of Mavel’s Iron Man VR starts near the Tony Stark’s villa, with what is in all respects a tutorial. Here we will be shown the commands to fly and the different attack skills of the armor, and both lessons will culminate with two timed tests that, once the demo is completed, we will be able to face freely by loading them from the main menu. To fly, as we have already anticipated, it is a very natural and instinctive exercise: with the Move button, the largest one positioned on the back of the motion controllers, the thrusters are activated, to direct the flight instead, just move your hands so that they support us or support us push in the chosen direction.
To fly at maximum speed we will have to position both arms downwards, slightly towards the back, but it is possible to reach extra peaks by activating auxiliary thrusters. Shooting requires a more canonical action: you aim the enemy with one hand, and press the fire button. Unlike the reactors, the weapons Iron Man’s are subject to overheating, so you need to sip the shots or strategically alternate the two hands. In addition to the normal shot, the demo also allows you to launch super steel fists by loading the shot a few seconds earlier than necessary, for a move that will automatically project us towards the chosen enemy, if this is naturally within reach.
Since in order to shoot it will be necessary to completely or partially stop the flight maneuvers, this kind of precariousness always remains, which proves to be challenging to tame as much fun to deal with. Imagine shooting with one hand, while with the other you push yourself towards the enemy to launch the final attack; or to pirouette upwards to hit the enemies at the bottom to which you will slowly fall, since you will no longer have the support of the reactors on the hands. In short, just turn around: Iron Man VR can make you feel Iron Man … and it’s not a little.
Fly and fight
The demo is totally set in flight: the first part of the sea facing Tony Stark’s villa, the second part on board and in the surroundings of the hero’s private plane, which will be attacked by drones in the middle of the flight. These scenery, devoid of structures, allow to optimize the graphic capabilities of the engine entrusting the show to soft as realistic clouds, or to backdrops that show flashes of civilization with sufficient detail. It is possible to move and shoot 360 degrees, which Sony’s VR technology doesn’t deal with so well, so in addition to rotating on the spot we can use the smaller Move buttons to rotate the character directly in the game. Technically we are faced with a rather intelligent game, apparently able to circumvent the technical limits of Sony virtual reality and the increasingly stringent specifications of PlayStation 4.
Interview with Ryan Darcey
On the sidelines of the test we exchanged some lines with Ryan Darcey, Game Designer of the game, who told us about the genesis of the project and what we can expect from the full version.
How did the Marvel’s Iron Man VR project come about?
Camouflaj [il team di sviluppo] he was looking for a new project to work on and Ryan Payton, the founder of our studio, got in touch with Marvel. Chatting about the idea of making a VR game, he was asked which hero he would have liked to make such an experience and Ryan immediately replied Iron Man. For Marvel it is a Intellectual property very special, so to convince themselves they asked to come back to them in two weeks with a prototype that could put our intentions black and white: the team immediately got to work and devised the flight system and the shooting mechanics, the one which are still the heart of the experience today. With a very first demo we returned to LA from Marvel, who was thrilled with what was shown. Later we also sat down with Sony to develop the partnership that finally brought the game to PS VR.
What was it like working with Marvel?
They were all very helpful, they helped us a lot. We immediately agreed with them the idea of creating an original story, separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so as to have total creative freedom, something that was perfect to tell in VR. Our writers were immediately in contact with those of Marvel for the development of the characters and to understand how to best make the character of Tony. We started from the comics and in particular from the series The demon in the bottle. However, we collaborated with them on different aspects of the experience, for example for the design of the armor.
What was it like developing the control system to give the player the idea of being Iron Man?
Iron Man is a perfect character to be transposed into VR, just read the comics or watch the movies to understand in a minute how much the idea seems made on purpose. Users have a lot of references in mind about how Iron Man moves in the air, how its technology works: we wanted to start from there to make sure that the player, wearing PS VR and taking Move, has already had a idea of what to do, almost naturally.
What role does the storytelling in the game economy?
Camouflaj always intends to tell meaningful and interesting stories. We didn’t want to create a product that would only give way to fly and shoot, but would also be able to tell an impactful story and explore Tony’s character, his inner demons. With the demo itself we wanted to show how between a battle and the other we worked to make interesting encounters with characters like Nick Fury and Pepper Potts. In the game there will therefore be, on the sidelines of the action, all the development component of the armor in Tony’s Malibu villa but also a strong narrative imprint.
What can we expect in the course of the game besides what we felt in the demo?
We focused on three elements to continue the action throughout the game, to continue keeping the experience interesting. First of the iconic locations of the Marvel universe, so we will have different environments. Second, the evolution of the tools available to Tony, which, as I mentioned before, can be developed within the laboratory that Tony has in his home. Third, obviously there will be enemies always new and some familiar faces on which, however, at the moment I can not say anything.
Who knows if the full game will also implement sequences on the ground, with a real hand-to-hand combat, or if it will just make us fly around the world in a sort of peculiar flight simulator. The demo, however, pleasantly impressed us, both from a technical and gameplay point of view, although it is clear from now that Mavel’s Iron Man VR is not that very high budget game that perhaps many dreamed of. We’ll see.
- Nice flight system
- Graphically effective
- Will there be sections on the ground?
- When they attack you from behind, the Move often make a fuss