Run Dorothy Run will be releasing on PlayStation VR next month, so we got in touch with Jordan Brighton, Virtro Entertainment Co-Founder, to talk about the game’s development for Sony’s VR hardware.
PS4Blog: Morning! Thank you for joining us at PS4Blog.net today. Could you please get us going by introducing yourself to our readers and telling them a bit about yourself and your work?
We’re a small, passionate group of designers, developers, and creatives who make up Virtro Entertainment. We’re based out of Vancouver, Canada, which is a rapidly growing center of excellence in VR, AR, and MR. For Lee and I – she’s my partner in business and in life – Virtro Entertainment is our 3rd business; we’re originally from Australia, and we’ve designed content management platforms, database systems, children’s television, and all sorts of things in between. We’re thrilled to blend our love of storytelling with technical expertise in this brave new world of VR.
PS4B: Run Dorothy Run is making its way to PlayStation VR next month on December 12. How would you describe the game to someone who’s never heard about it?
It’s an action-packed, hyper-energetic rhythm runner, good for those new to VR as well as those with a lot more experience and expectations of their games. We took the fantastical elements of the classic story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and just had so much fun with it. The Wizard – who we affectionately refer to as “Ozzy” – has been dumped by the Wicked Witch of the West – “Effie” – and tricks Dorothy (that’s you) into helping him get his stuff back. Mayhem ensues, with you gathering crystals, dodging enemies, dancing through numerous worlds, listening to wise-cracks, and figuring out who you can trust, and who you can’t. Oh yeah…and this is all to a great electro-swing beat.
PS4Blog: What drew you to working on a game set in the land of Oz?
Pardon the cliche, but Oz was just so ripe for the picking! I was re-reading the book, and little gems just kept cropping up…lines like “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” and “Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning” started to bounce around in my brain, and then the line where Dorothy says “If we walk far enough, we shall sometime come to someplace” just gave me that sit-up-in-bed moment where I knew we were going to design a visual feast of a game with Dorothy as an endless runner through Oz. We really wanted to stay true to the whimsy and irreverence of the book, and I think we did it.
PS4B: Where there any particular challenges or hurdles you had to overcome while developing the game?
VR gaming is still pretty new – most of the major headsets only launched last year – so there’s still A LOT to be learned about how to develop for VR, and a huge part of our process was – and is – learning by trial and error. We worked tirelessly to beat the the motion sickness issues that some people may experience in virtual reality. I won’t go into the technical details, but I’m pretty confident in telling you that we had some of the “queasiest” folks we know test the game, and they emerged from the experience – whether it was 10 minutes or 40 minutes – asking for more of the fun.
PS4B: And now it is time for us to go. Would you like to add anything else before we end this?
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Run Dorothy Run. It’s our first VR title, and we’re pretty excited to see it debut on Sony PlayStation. Our 200+ playtesters provided us with feedback on every aspect of the game – music, movement, jokes, artwork – and we really took that feedback to heart to constantly improve the overall experience. After many months of design, re-work, testing, more re-work, and A LOT of dancing, we’re finally releasing our “baby” into the world. We hope you like her.