From exotic beaches to snowy slopes and beyond, Angry Birds VR offers 50-plus levels (and counting!) that let you approach the gameplay from multiple angles to take your best shot. We sat down with Resolution Games Producer Huiting Wang, and she’s here to deliver the inside scoop!
How did the partnership between Resolution Games and Rovio first come about? Huiting Wang: Rovio first approached us to collaborate on an AR game for Magic Leap, but we didn’t yet have a Magic Leap headset, so the first builds we made were done in a VR headset to simulate AR. As soon as we had the first build, we knew it would only be natural to make a VR version.
For the AR version, we discussed different ways we could use the Angry Birds characters, structures, and the world in a way that could naturally fit in someone’s environment — like their room, a living room, or kitchen even. We thought about it as something that would be tangible and right in front of you, but also a part of your environment. We then expanded on that thinking to include the limitless possibilities of AR gameplay and visuals to give players an experience they could never have on a 2D screen or in the real world. For VR, we took it several steps further to allow fans of the IP to truly immerse themselves in the Angry Birds world and interact with the characters and gameplay they know and love in a deeper way than ever before possible.
What areas did you focus on while bringing this beloved IP to VR? HW: It was really exciting to bring Angry Birds to VR. It was incredibly important to us to build a reminiscent and stunning environment, as players have such familiarity and love for the brand, so that was one of our major focuses as we were developing for VR. We also wanted to expand the popular gameplay physics to full 3D, which adds a layers of complexity and new territory to explore.
Another factor we had to get right was mobility. Our player research indicated that players often prefer to explore a space in VR from a stationary position vs. walking around, whereas in the AR version, walking around the play area was a draw. Therefore, we had to rethink how players would take advantage of the entire space. In Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, we provide different teleportation points around the level to enable players’ movement through the large distance coupled with the ability to move in the small area around one teleportation point to look for different points of weakness in the structure or to get creative with their shots.
What’s it been like to watch players demo the game? HW: Whenever someone puts on a headset, they smile. They instantly recognize what they’re playing, and they’re ready to jump in. Players are in the action and having fun in seconds. They already know what to do, and when they realize they’re in a first-person perspective, they light up. When they see the birds waving, saluting, and getting into it, they also get further into it. And when the pigs start taunting them, it fires them up. It’s truly awesome to see the engagement with the scenery and characters from the moment they enter the game.
What can Angry Birds fans expect from this new title? What will keep them coming back for more? HW: It’s the physics-based gameplay and well-known characters fans have come to love, but players are fully immersed in their world. We were able to bring the characters to life and make them even more realistic and engaging. The birds interact and follow you throughout the game with a wave or salute. The pigs also taunt you and cower when you aim at them. Because you can change the location of your slingshot, players can make their way through the levels in a variety of different ways to earn the most points and stars per round and even destroy the structure in one hit. We see people wanting to go back to previous levels to perfect their approach.
We’ll be adding levels in the coming months, so once players download this game, they’ll get the next release of levels as well. We’re also exploring new ways to enrich the gameplay to make it even more exciting and engaging and plan to continue adding to the game over time.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers? This is only the beginning. We’ll be not only adding to this game, but we have several other games on the horizon. As a company, we’re very interested in social gameplay and are exploring more genres and ways to have that penultimate games experience in VR. It’s a very exciting time in the industry, and we feel fortunate to be a part of it all.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Huiting. We can’t wait to see what comes next. Crash some greedy green pigs’ vacation like never before with Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs on Rift!