Windlands: We Discuss The Ingenious VR Game With Developer Psytec
After our short but thoroughly enjoyable hands on with Windlands, we caught up with Jon Hibbins and Simo Saino, developer and sound & music designer on the game respectively for a quick chat about this fantastic VR title.
GAMR: The soundtrack is one of the most surprising aspects of the game, so much so that we spent a lot of time focusing solely on the in-game music, how long was the soundtrack in production for?
Psytec: We had about three years to mature the soundtrack, which has gone through several different iterations, there is actually a full album of 22 tracks. It really helps bring you into the world and bring the environments to life in a really interesting way.
GAMR: There are parts of the game which can be quite stressful and panicky due to the great heights that you are constantly moving at, was this intentional?
Psytec: Yes, with Windlands the whole point was that we wanted to give the audience a feeling that you need to gain skills in order to survive. Skills such as parkour and trajectory become pivotal as the game goes on. There are some environments which can be very vertigo inducing, but this all plays into the feel of the game.
We as gamers want adrenaline, we want to feel a part of what is happening on screen. So if we can give you an experience that adds to that, then that’s a good thing and sometimes people are too quick to knock VR without thinking it through, because this is the next level of gaming.
GAMR: What has it been like working with Sony on this venture? And has it been helpful for you to have a company involved that truly believes VR is the future?
Psytec: Well we originally met Sony when we showed them another game of ours called Crystal Rift, which will eventually be on VR platforms, but Windlands is on a slightly bigger scale to a wider audience. Sony have always been straight forward and honest with us and have been incredibly supportive. It’s not been a simple process for us but it’s one we have relished.
GAMR: Windlands is a narrative driven VR game, was it difficult to gauge how much attention you should pay between the experience and the story?
Psytec: Well VR is all about having the player at the forefront, and creating a story in VR is very difficult, because in none-VR games the camera can pan to the left to show you something that you need to see, obviously in VR you can’t do any of that. So what we do is create amazing scenes in the game which tell you everything you need. We’ve got incredible writers working with us to make sure the story is told in the perfect way.
VR is a completely new medium, so almost everyone is still trying to work and figure out what works and what doesn’t, we’re well on track to perfecting it but we’re still learning all the time too.
GAMR: Have we got a set date for when the game is out on PlayStation VR?
Psytec: We’re hoping to be launch day, if we don’t quite make launch day then we’ll be really, really close.
Windlands is currently available on Steam and will be releasing on PSVR in the not too distant future. We really loved our hands on with the game and can’t wait to step back into the wonderful of Windlands upon its release.
Kris Pugh | @KrisPugh_X