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How PS VR takes Until Dawn: Rush of Blood’s gory gunplay to the next level

Supermassive Games talks us through how combat works in its upcoming shooter

Hi everyone! I spent a lot of time on this project figuring out how our combat was going to work in VR and how our enemies should behave, so I’m going to talk a bit about that today.

Rush of Blood sees you strapped into the world’s most horrifying rollercoaster on a twisted dive into madness. In between stomach lurching drops and atmospheric scares, you get to come to a stop and blast away at the worst our nightmare descent has to offer. VR gunplay provided some really interesting gaming possibilities, but we needed to solve a few tricky issues first.

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

We challenged ourselves to omit all traditional heads-up displays. This meant ammo and score counters had to be placed in-world – in this case on the rollercoaster cart you ride in. Checking up on these things in the heat of battle could get you killed, so we show you how near you are to running out of ammo by heating the barrel of your gun. A bright orange glow and a burst of smoke lets you know that it’s time to reload.

All this extra work more than pays off when you are in the moment-to-moment gunplay. Being able to quickly assess incoming threats by looking in one direction, while blasting enemies in another, adds a new dynamic that feels natural but still takes time to master. Having the kind of dexterity and situational awareness afforded by VR when you’re surrounded by enemies is just plain thrilling, and leads us neatly on to one of the main pillars of our combat: crowd control.

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

Killing the momentum of your enemies is a key strategy in Until Dawn: Rush of Blood as you can’t leave the safety of your cart. Aim for the legs to slow enemies down or use a high impact weapon – like the shotgun – to knock them completely off their feet. Arms can even be blasted off to do more damage and cause enemies to drop their weapons. These tactics will give you a few more precious seconds to deal with any other threats, but sometimes a swift, skull-exploding revolver bullet between the eyes is the only way to go!

Weapon choice is important, as each gun fills a critical, well-defined role. Rush of Blood uses the motion capabilities of the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller or PS Move motion controllers to let you wield a gun in each hand, so using two different weapons on two different enemies at the same time is a tricky but vital skill. Dealing rapid damage with an Uzi in one hand, while you shotgun an enemy with the other is a very powerful combo.

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

This threw up some interesting challenges when it came to designing our control systems for both the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller and PS Move motion controllers. We wanted to support dual wielding on the DS4 and solved this by letting you adjust your in-game arms to switch from focusing on one enemy at a time to two.

While this accessible control scheme works well on the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller, the way two PS Move motion controllers more closely mimic your hands resulted in what we think is a more immersive and satisfying experience. It’s definitely a trickier proposition initially – and some people find the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller suits their playstyle better – but we found that wielding twin PS Move motion controllers eventually rewards those who put the time in, with a slight edge over the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller.

Until Dawn: Rush of BloodUntil Dawn: Rush of Blood

 
We want you to take total advantage of the freedom our controls provide, so we’ve stuffed the game full of “nightmare fuel” for you to blast into tiny pieces. Enemies will dodge your shots, take cover, overwhelm you with their numbers and then vomit burning acid sludge for you to blast out of the sky.

Because VR gives you such a natural way to look around, we designed our enemies to approach from all angles. For example, they perch themselves on higher ground and jump onto walls. I haven’t even mentioned the unique and terrifying bosses you’ll face at the end of each level, but perhaps that’s something best left unspoiled…

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

For those who dare to venture into our nightmare world, we salute your bravery. I hope this post illuminates some of the thinking that went into the horrors you’ll meet and the ways you’ll be sending them back to the hell that spawned them. Until then, keep one eye open and two fingers on those triggers.

13 Comments
0 Author replies

Its a rail shooter. They could’ve done this on the TV.

1.1

Until Dawn on the TV scared the crap out of me, I repeatedly left the seat. You can get the reaction on the TV if you just put in the effort.

1.2

vr is whole diffrent experience, I strongly recommend going to a demo and you’ll see why this will be 5 times better in vr

1.3

Already did, I wasn’t impressed. It just isn’t that good.

I really wanted this. But since i’m happy with my current PS4, won’t buy PS4 “pro” and i don’t trust Sony anymore i’m worried my VR experience will be bad because i won’t “upgrade”. So passing this. Sorry Supermassive Games, i still love you and Until Dawn

2.1

all demos of psvr and all game play footage is psvr running in standard ps4.

This lacks any real substance. It exist only to showcase VR. Essentially a tech demo disguised as a full retail game. Motion control is happening all over again. Eventually will all get off this VR train to nowhere.

3.1

Yeah man. My theory is that Sony made like four million move remotes and they only sold a quarter, so this is a conspiracy to get rid of them as opposed to destroying and landfilling them.

3.2

clearly you havnt tried vr yet, it’s a whole diffrent experience. priced at $20 I do t think they are trying to sell this as a full retail game

3.3

I already tried both Oculus and Vive and no-name stuff and non-disclosure agreement. Many of the limitations make VR impractical. Now there are still more issues to fix. I honestly think things are too early to have a product and slap a price on it, a £450 price.

4

I’m stoked and so ready to get into this when it launches, it looks superb. Just what I’m looking for.

No doubt VR can evolve beyond on-the-rails games, but I think it’s a good place to start and lets both developers and consumers adapt to the new tech.

And seeing how the VR set can be used in “cinematic mode” for every other game and streaming services, I’m so happy to have mine on pre-order. A replay of the original Until Dawn might be on the cards… :D

Interesting thing I saw at Madrid Games Week exhibition last year. They had a clear plastic booth where one player sat on a chair with Sony VR headset and they also attached vibrating sensors to the players hands / legs / arms whilst they played Until Dawn .. dunno who the physical feedback worked though or how it was synced to the game.

Sorry, when I heard Until Dawn was getting some form of VR treatment, a Rail Shooter was the last thing that came to mind. I loved the original game, easily one of my top favorite gaming experiences, loved the characters, the setting, the story, the music and ambience…this however sullies what fantastic praise and love was earned by that game. I understand people worked on this and put in time, money and effort…but this is so unneeded.

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