“We took [the pandemic] very seriously and we worked really quickly to make sure that our team was safe,” Payton said. “Thankfully our team has been healthy and safe throughout this whole pandemic. And the other thing we’re thankful for is that we were in close contact with both Sony and Marvel. We told them that we’re going make sure that the team safety is paramount and the highest priority, and we don’t know what’s going to happen to the game’s production. They said that’s fine. Let’s take care of the team, we’ll make things work,” he continued.
After years of hard work, we are proud to announce that MARVEL’S IRON MAN VR has officially gone gold! We can’t wait for everyone to #SuitUp when the game releases exclusively for PlayStation VR on July 3. pic.twitter.com/NZnsG12Pgy
— Camouflaj (@Camouflaj) May 28, 2020
Payton noted that, given the timeline of the game’s development, as the team acclimated to working from home, it actually lined up with the team’s core focus — rather than needing to ideate on VR gameplay ideas, the Camouflaj team could be heads down, hard at work on fine tuning, bug fixing, and polishing the final game.
“Strangely enough, in the final months of development, especially now that we’ve gone gold, it’s mainly been focused on bug fixes and final polish and is interestingly compatible with remote work,” he explained, while also noting the team has been able to use this time to actually respond and improve the game based on player feedback from the demo.
“The one thing that we were looking forward to seeing is how really enthusiastic and hardcore PlayStation VR community was going to respond to the game,” he explained. “So seeing the reaction to the game was really encouraging. They also had a lot of specific feedback to the degree that they wanted to tweak the comfort settings. We do have a pretty robust array of settings already in our game, but we’re actually adding a number of additional options based on what that really passionate PlayStation VR community is asking for.”
Exploring Iron Man’s World in VR
Payton also explained how the team has been able to refine, polish, and integrate a series of “superhero actions” throughout the game that help exemplify the dream of being Iron Man…in VR, at least.
“When you’re interacting with the jet [in the demo], you can do these things we call superhero actions, where you can extinguish the fire, you can repair the wing, you can release the landing gear. And that was a feature that came in relatively late into the development of the game,” Payton explained. “We just started sprinkling the whole game with a lot of those unique, one-off experiences that really leverage the strengths of VR.”
The demo, which you can check out gameplay of above, allows players to jump into two early missions in Iron Man VR, which we demoed and enjoyed last year, as well as additional combat challenge missions. Combat challenges will appear in the main game, and as Payton explained, they’ve allowed the team to take advantage of the large — including larger than you’ve yet seen — environments in the campaign.
Iron Man VR New Gameplay Details
“These are optional missions that we do sprinkle throughout the game. that give the game more breadth. They take advantage of these large environments that we’ve been building beyond what you’ve seen. Malibu and the private jet missions are probably the two smallest environments that we have in the game,” Payton explained.
These missions aren’t just there to challenge players either — you’ll be able to earn research points from them, which can then in turn be used to upgrade the Impulse Armor Tony Stark has in the game. Players can unlock and advance new abilities, hone in on specific parts of the suit, and more. This upgrading is all done in Tony’s garage, an environment that Payton explained helps players live out both the Tony Stark and Iron Man experiences.
“One of the first things on our list [for playing as Tony] was allowing players to spend a lot of time in Tony’s garage and in between missions, not only see your suit first person, but also to get to inspect the Impulse Armor to see all the incredible work that the team has put into it,” he said.
“Through those research points, players are able to hone in on certain aspects of the suit, upgrade certain elements to go faster, to upgrade the HUD, and unlock all these auxiliary weapons, which is one of the features that I snuck into the demo.”Payton described how one of the upgrades players can acquire, missiles launched from the suit’s arms, in another attempt to make the best use out of this being a VR game.
“Initially we had a button change for when you’re shooting with your pulsars, and then you would change to missiles, and a number of people on the team said, ‘That’s stupid Ryan, why would you do that? Why use a button when you’re in VR and you’re Iron Man,'” he joked.
“Iron Man would just move his arms down. So that’s how the players access these auxiliary weapons…by just moving the Move controllers down horizontally,” he explained.As for that balance between a Tony and Iron Man story, having a villain that can speak to both aspects of the character was key for this original tale, and Payton explained why Ghost was such a good fit for his and the team’s story goals.
“When we sat down with Marvel and started thinking about the game’s story, they really encouraged us to create an original story that really paired nicely with the game that we wanted to create and for VR in particular. One of the story challenges we knew we needed to overcome is that we knew we wanted to tell a where a classic Iron Man story… That’s why we got to this idea of finding these deadly machines that Tony had created back when he was an arms dealer,” he said.
“So you then start asking yourselves these questions, ‘Who would get access to these old machines that he used to create before he was a superhero, who would hack those devices? And who would then want to attack Tony using them?’ And the moment I posed that question to Marvel, it almost sounds like I’m making this up, [Marvel Games’] Bill Rosemann and a bunch of other people at Marvel looked at each other and at the same time they said, ‘Ghost.'”
While we’ll have to wait longer to see more of how Ghost and Tony face off in Marvel’s Iron Man VR you can check out the PSVR bundle announced for the game ahead of its July 3 launch.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond! and PlayStation lead. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.