Archangel: Hellfire Interview: Selling The VR Mech Fantasy

The team at Skydance set out to create the ultimate VR multiplayer mech experience. We speak with them about the process of making the fantasy a reality.

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Since the debut of Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries back in the mid-90s, PC gamers have had an intense love affair with mech combat. Countless titles have come and gone over the years attempting to simulate the experience of piloting a mech, but the emergence of VR completely changes the level of immersion a player can experience. The team at Skydance have prepared what may be the ultimate mech combat sim with their new game, Archangel: Hellfire. The follow-up to the PSVR-exclusive Archangel, Hellfire puts you in the pilot seat with the help of your VR headset and drops you into 2v2 multiplayer arenas. We got to have an extended chat with Guy Costantini and Pablo Leon-Luna of Skydance Interactive during E3 and they spoke about constructing the game to be the ultimate mech experience.

The conversation jumps directly into the specifics of making the pilot seat experience believable for the player. Leon-Luna goes into depth on the design of the cockpits and HUD elements and how they work together to help sell the mech fantasy. Things like button and lever placement are critical for making the cockpit feel real. Switches and toggles needed to be user-operable to make the pilot seat perspective feel real.

The Skydance duo also dive into the reasons behind the player count choices. In a world where developers are seemingly engaging in an arms race to see who can offer higher player counts, Archangel: Hellfire limits encounters to 2v2. Leon-Luna explains that above all else, making sure that the player does not experience frame drops during gameplay is a top priority. Such drops break immersion and can take the player out of the experience. The hardware required to support enormous multiplayer VR mech battles is not yet available and the team decided to focus on designing and balancing the experience for the 2v2 game mode.

Shacknews reviews editor Blake Morse penned a preview of his experience with the game and we recently featured Hellfire during our Reality Bytes Twitch stream feature. Owners of the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive can hop into the pilot seat right now as Archangel: Hellfire is available on Steam.

For more videos, including gameplay and interviews, visit the Shacknews and GamerHub.tv YouTube channels.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty

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    June 26, 2018 12:15 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Archangel: Hellfire Interview: Selling The VR Mech Fantasy

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      June 26, 2018 12:35 PM

      Neat, I'm looking forward to this... Though if really prefer a strong single player game instead :(

      Also, MechWarrior 2 was a damned monster well before Mercenaries came along. Like, it changed fucking everything and I think that it's actually aged surprisingly well as long as you can resist the urge to try to crank the resolution above a scaled 640x480.

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      June 26, 2018 12:37 PM

      Why would we need this after experiencing the definitive entry in the genre: Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor