04 Aug Operation Wolf Returns: First Mission VR – Meet Aurélien LEVEQUE and Martin SCHUCHEWYTSCH
Operation Wolf was released in 1987 on Arcade. At the time, it was one of the first rail shooters in history. Were you familiar with it at the time, and how did you feel about working on this remake?
So not only did we know it, but because of our generation (my partner and I were born in the 80s), we even had the chance to play it, whether on the arcade (at the time, I mean) or on the Sega master system with its Light Gun. So, like a Proust madeleine, it was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to work on the remake of this title.
The game was very influenced by 80s action films like Commando, Rambo... Is that also the case with this remake?
The game was very much influenced by the 80’s action movie craze, and we wanted to keep that atmosphere, with self-confident heroes, spectacular and numerous deaths, explosions in every direction and bullets galore. We’ve kept these clichés, but we’ve added a lot of second-degree humor in keeping with the original license. the original license, which was already caricatured.
The game is closely linked to the 80s, particularly in terms of the representation of the women who had to be rescued, usually dressed in nothing more than a bikini. How do you adapt such a title today (in relation to violence, sexualisation) given that society has changed?
That’s a question we obviously asked ourselves, and we chose a cartoonish artistic direction to keep the spirit of the 80s, but in an offbeat way.
The omnipresent violence in this type of game was able to be de-dramatized. The cartoonish animations and the “low-key” soldiers contribute to the second-degree approach. One of our cinematic references for the spirit was “Hot Shots”, a 90s parody of Rambo.
As for the representation of the women, we wanted to keep the nod to the original game, but chose not to depict the hostage in a bikini, but rather in a patched dress, which makes more sense when you’re a hostage. We’ve also added male hostages.
One of our cinematic references for the spirit was "Hot Shots", a 90s parody of Rambo.
Did the development of the game on PSVR2 go smoothly?
Yes, in broad terms, first of all we were discovering the hardware, we knew the PS5’s possibilities but not its limitations when coupled with a VR headset. Once the limits had been defined and the ideal rendering pipeline found, development went smoothly. With its ups and downs, but nothing exceptional in the gaming world.
Can you tell us about the extra features in this version?
We really wanted to make the most of the PSVR2’s features! Adaptive triggers and haptic feedback give a better shooting feel and greater differentiation between weapons. We also used the headset’s vibrations to simulate the impact of a bullet received, which really enhances immersion.
Virtuallyz Gaming specialises in Virtual Reality. Can you tell us more about the studio and how you see the future of VR video games?
Virtuallyz Gaming was born of our combined experience in video gaming (over 10 years’ experience and 35 games shippered) and VR for training, a sector in which we have specialized for over 5 years. Today, our two specialties come together, enabling us to make the most of both.
We’re still somewhere in the early days of VR, but it’s just starting to become more democratic. Hardware power and screen quality will have to follow the same exponential curve of evolution as consoles and PCs did at the beginning.
As a result, the future of VR will be even more immersive, with high quality screens that no longer let pixels show through, graphics cards enabling fluid experiences with the same capabilities as NextGen consoles, the abolition of joysticks and the natural use of our hands, and real-time emotion analysis. But it could go even further with third-party hardware, an exoskeleton to feel the virtual, a module to add smell, and so on. The idea is always to fool our five senses.
Do you have any anecdotes about the development of the game?
A bit like in the action movie Ocean Eleven, we’ve called back a lot of former colleagues, enthusiasts, people who for some had hung up their spikes and created a team of enthusiasts, we hope players will feel this passion when playing. 😉
We’ve also added an easter egg at the very end of the game, to symbolize this team!