Wales Interactive talks about its thrilling new VR game

If there’s one technology that’s gained a lot of traction over the past year, it’s virtual reality. Firms like Samsung, HTC and Oculus have all launched VR devices.

While the benefits of virtual reality are pretty broad, it’s making the most impact in the world of gaming. Using the latest VR kit, gamers can immerse themselves in virtual worlds.

Pencoed-based Wales Interactive, an award-winning indie video games developer and publisher, is one of the companies creating amazing VR games. We speak to the firm about its new title, Don’t Knock Twice.

TD: What is Don’t Knock Twice and its narrative?

WI: Don’t Knock Twice is a first-person virtual reality horror game based on a psychologically terrifying urban legend. The game is being developed alongside the upcoming horror film, Don’t Knock Twice, starring Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) and directed by Caradog James (The Machine).

Both the film and the game are being produced in South Wales, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Red and Black Films and Ffilm Cymru Wales on what is our most exciting project to date.

In the game, you take the role of a guilt-ridden mother who must save her estranged daughter by uncovering the frightening truth behind the urban tale of a vengeful, demonic witch.

You will explore a grand manor house environment in VR and interact with almost every object you see. To find and save your daughter, you will explore all depths of the manor, searching for hidden clues and using items to fight or escape the terror that surrounds you.

TD: Which platforms does it work on, and when was it launched?

WI: This is our most ambitious project yet with the game being developed for both VR and non-VR platforms. We currently have a VR demo out now on Steam for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, which is just a teaser into the game mechanics with a few scares thrown in. The full game will be out on PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in April 2017 to coincide with the launch of the film.

TD: How long had the game been in development, and how has it been received so far?

WI: The game has been in development for roughly 4-5 months, which is a relatively short development cycle for a game that’s being ported to at least 6 different platforms. What complicates the development more is designing for both VR and non-VR. What works in one may not work in the other, and so a lot of R&D has to go into working for both platforms.

The demo has been live since Halloween and so far we’ve had such a positive response. Just search for the game on YouTube, and you’ll find a bunch of hilarious playthroughs, some even bringing grown adults to the ground in terror!

We’ve also had a lot of feedback on how strong the visuals are, something that’s very uncommon in a lot of VR games on the market at the moment. We have a strong team working behind this, and so we are pushing the limits of the game engine to produce the best possible results.

TD: What else are you working on in VR?

WI: We’re actually making good progress on another VR exclusive title, which we are yet to announce. I can’t give away too much here, but I can promise this one is all about the game mechanics, realistic visuals and extreme fun factor.

Since the birth of the studio, we’ve always had a place in our hearts for adventure games with a strong narrative, Master Reboot, Soul Axiom and The Bunker for example. This time, we are trying something different and we hope our fans will like what we’re creating.

TD: You’re up for an award. What is VRDB Top 50, and how did you get the opportunity?

WI: VRDB is the newest addition to the DBolical Network (you may have heard of IndieDB or ModDB), which is a site dedicated to covering all aspects of virtual reality including games, hardware, software and peripherals.

Essentially, it acts as a database and landing page for developers to promote their games. We have our own page, which tracks how popular the game is based on page views and we also have the chance to post news and updates to the community. The VRDB Top 50 is a new award that showcases the best the VR industry has to offer. You can visit the Don’t Knock Twice page here.

TD: When is the overall winner announced, and what does this mean to you?

WI: The competition for the overall winner ends on 21 December 2016. We’re so excited to have already achieved the Top 50 award, especially as we’re up against the likes of Minecraft and Tomb Raider, and so you could see why winning the overall award would be a huge boost for the Don’t Knock Twice VR game It’s this sort of recognition that will help indie games like ours stand out amongst the rest

TD: Where next for your company? 

WI: We’re best known for being game developers, but in 2016 we kickstarted our third party publishing label. This means we have the opportunity to help other indie studios bring their titles to all the major consoles including PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U.

We’ve already had a lot of success with the likes of Coffin Dodgers and The Bunker, and so 2017 will see the release of at least 4 titles including Knee Deep, an episodic adventure game due out end of January. 2017 will also bring the Nintendo NX, and while we have nothing set in stone for that yet, we do have a strong relationship with Nintendo so don’t be surprised to hear we’ll be adding that console port to our publishing label.