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Archangel: Hellfire Devs Talk Mech Expression and 'The Superman Fantasy'

Mech games are all about the connection between pilot and machine, and that human expression is at the center of Archangel: Hellfire.

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As modern virtual reality technology continues to mature, more and more developers are finding themselves entranced by the way that VR allows players to engage video games games in a way that correlates to a greater-than-usual degree of natural human expression. The best VR titles are those that allow users to look, move, and interact with the environment in a completely intuitive way, and that's one of the goals behind Archangel: Hellfire, the new free expansion to the latest mech-based game from Skydance Interactive.

In a new video, Peter Akemann, co-founder of Skydance Interactive, provides a lot of insight into his personal history with all things mech, including the early days of tabletop games like Battletech and how he and his friends would spend hours working on specific builds, poring over statistics, weapons, line-of-sight rules, and more. The passion is very much real, with the rest of the team mentioning similar fond experiences with past mech-based video games like Mechwarrior or Zone of the Enders, and they've brought that same sort of energy into Archangel: Hellfire.

Of course, much has changed since the days of more "primitive" mech video game releases, and Archangel: Hellfire is slated to include all of the modern touches that current-generation gamers demand. The team notes a particular emphasis on flight and hover-based sequences, with players having to make crucial decisions while soaring through the air, as well as the ability to deck out each of the game's six different mechs to the player's specific tastes.

One of the main elements that makes Archangel: Hellfire stand out from other modern mech titles is its virtual reality foundation. VR is a dramatically different way to experience video games, and those differences mean the developers at Skydance couldn't simply emulate past titles, not even ones like the studio's previous mech-based workshop title Ironclad. Instead, they've taken the lessons they've learned from other games and implemented changes that really work toward the natural expression and connection of mechs to their pilots:

"A mech is more than just a machine," Akemann said. "It's not simply a tank or a helicopter, [...] it's an anthropomorphic machine that looks and feels like me, that expresses my expressions. It's a projection of myself into something greater than myself — the Superman fantasy, in a sense."

Players rocking either the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift who are interested in picking up the latest mech-based VR experience can find Archangel: Hellfire over on Steam. The base game costs $19.99, and owners will be able to access the Hellfire expansion entirely for free.