Fans of virtual reality might remember a little on-rails mech combat sim that released last year called Archangel. The game was created and developed by Skydance Interactive and was released on the PSVR and PC. Now, though, after hearing from the fans, and putting in a ton of work, Skydance has finally released a huge update to Archangel in the form of Archangel: Hellfire. We caught up with Guy Costantini, the Vice President of Global Interaction Marketing at Skydance, to discuss the upcoming changes and the studio’s plans for the game in the future.
The Winds of Change
During our conversation with Guy, we spoke about the game, and some of the changes that came with the new update. The campaign, which was originally an on-rails shooter, changed quite a bit as they went to make the multiplayer segment, with it taking on a very competitive 2v2 system, which really gives players a depth that isn’t available in other mech games that we’ve seen.
One particularly interesting part of the conversation came into play when we started discussing esports, and Archangel: Hellfire’s place in the competitive world.
During our chat withGuy he stated. “It’s (Archangel: Hellfire) really, really fun competitively. We also have a leaderboard up on our website, and we’re potentially going to have more depth to that—profiles and an ongoing war map. We’re coming out with a bunch of community tournaments for the launch where people can jump in, win some money, and try to be the best mech pilot ever.”
From here we shifted into talking about esports and whether the studio has any kind of goals of bringing it to the VR esports stage.
Competition Becomes Fierce
Guy responded, “Usually with esports—the way I like to look at it—is that the players will tell you if it should be in esports. Just put a basic competitive system in place, give them rewards for competing with one another, and see if they’ll actually like that.”
It’s interesting to see the studio taking such an interesting approach to the esports angle, and it’s definitely not a bad approach to take. On top of esports talk, though, we also discussed the evolution of the game from the original product that released back in 2017, to the final product that players can dive into now with Archangel: Hellfire.
Evolving Beyond It’s Original Idea
The original game was an on-rails shooter that focused primarily on a single-player campaign. While this fed the initial craving for a great mech shooter in virtual reality, fans of the game were quick to speak up and ask that Skydance create an experience that not only catered to the immersive feeling of being inside of a mech in virtual reality, but also allowed them to fully experience what it would be like.
The team dove in and began to work on the update which includes intense 2v2 free-fly matches with highly destructible environments that allow the battlefield to change shape depending on how you fight. On top of focusing on free-fly in PVP, the developers also went to work creating a cooperative experience that would allow players to team up with their friends and take on enemy mechs, all while still enjoying the full breadth of the experience.
Of course, doing all of this in virtual reality means taking a hit when it comes to motion sickness, right? Not exactly. According to Guy, while the game is punishing when it comes to skill level, the actual experience itself is very smooth. He stated, “It’s actually surprisingly comfortable. One of the things that we did—You can turn off snap turning, which I advise not doing, because that will really put your body to the test…But, about 99% of people are okay with the game with snap turning, and it works really well because of the fact that you’re in a mech. There are a lot of frames of reference, and the motion is very much triggered by you, which creates a very comfortable experience for the range of motion that you have.”
Continuing on, Guy talked about how many of the people who have tried out the game have found themselves comfortable with it, even surprised at how easy it is to get into and enjoy without worrying about getting sick or anything. This is really good news, as Archangel: Hellfire is by far one of the most intense experiences we’ve ever tried in virtual reality. The sheer level of action happening in the game at all times can be overwhelming at first, but with the systems that they’ve put in place working the way they do, it all comes off surprisingly well.
Archangel: Hellfire is a very promising title, and it was a huge pleasure getting to talk to Guy about the game last week. On top of being one of the best mech games available in virtual reality, players can also pick up Archangel: Hellfire’s multiplayer PVP modes for absolutely nothing, giving them the perfect chance to dive in and become a king in the mech combat arena.