At the EA booth at Gamescom, EA Community Manager Mathew Everett sat down with James Svensson, Producer at Criterion Games, to discuss Star Wars Battlefront XWing VR Mission, the first Star Wars adventure to enter virtual reality. Here's their conversation straight from Everett's PlayStation Blog:
Q: What has your role been during development of Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission?Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission is headed to PlayStation VR this year.
James Svensson: I’m a Producer at Criterion Games in the UK. My role is to guide the game to be a great, fun, and authentic experience and to support the team in any way I can. For the past few months, my office chair has been an X-wing cockpit. Doesn’t get much better.
How did the studio decide to develop a VR experience for Star Wars Battlefront?
JS: Criterion has a passion for making spectacular vehicle action games, and we had a lot of fun making the speeder bikes for Star Wars Battlefront. This was the perfect opportunity to apply our passion to something new — a new way for people to connect to Star Wars in a spectacular X-wing VR gaming experience.
At E3, we saw the Star Destroyer looming overhead. Can you tell us more about how this plays in the Mission?
JS: These things are huge and powerful with a belly full of TIE fighters. Being in a fight with a Star Destroyer is not a situation an X-wing pilot wants to find themselves in, but that’s where the player ends up. The player will have to keep their wits about them, with intense battle ensuing from every direction, to keep them and their wingmen alive as they complete a critical mission for the Rebellion.
How is the X-wing mission integrated into the current Star Wars Battlefront setting?
JS: Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission is an extension of the base game, which is known as a truly authentic Star Wars video game. It’s been really important for us to hit that high bar, working closely with Lucasfilm to ensure that the VR experience is fun and exciting for Star Wars fans. The VR Mission will be available for free to all owners of Star Wars Battlefront and a PlayStation VR headset on PS4.
The name is different from when we last heard. Is this now focused on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?
JS: Rogue One is in the same time period the base game covers, so to be relevant in the ever-evolving Star Wars universe we’ve since been able to work with Lucasfilm to make the connection here.
How did the team create an immersive environment for the experience?
JS: Frostbite allows us to deliver the best-looking game on PS VR, and we were able to leverage the latest rendering technologies from across EA. But also, the positional audio on PS VR is awesome — there’s a point where everything looks and sounds good enough and your brain is tricked into believing what’s around you.
What are the intricacies of developing on a new gaming platform?
JS: VR isn’t just a new platform, it’s a new medium. For the player in the headset, there is no “screen,” you just feel like you’re in a different space. There’s a really creative buzz in the studio trying to invent new ways to play and interact.
How do you see the future of VR?
JS: VR is part of an amazing, sci-fi future we’ve been promised for so long, alongside robots and hover-cars. One aspect I love is how social it can be. Being able to see where another player is looking, how they’re moving, you get a sense of it being a real person.
As you’re here at the EA Booth at GamesCom, what other EA Games are you most excited about?
JS: I’m a big fan of Star Wars Battlefront as a game, so I’m really looking forward to the Death Star and Rogue One expansions when they release this year. Maybe Battlefield 1? Titanfall 2? So spoiled for choices over Christmas.
We don't have them yet, but we'll publish a story as soon as we pick up the Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission trophies.