Don’t Blink: Supermassive’s new horror game ‘Switchback VR’ is watching you

Can you explain how you decided to create what appears to be a roller coaster ride through the greatest hits of The Dark Picture Anthology’s first season? 

Will Doyle, Supermassive Games Creative Director:

Rush of Blood was a huge success for us on PS VR, and Switchback is very much its spiritual successor for PS VR2. Over the last few years, we’ve built a rich, imagined universe around the Dark Pictures, with its own villains, supernatural threats, and frightening locations. Switchback gives us a chance to revisit that world—but most importantly, put our fans right inside it. You’ll get up close with some of our scariest creations.

Why did it make sense for the game to take place on a roller coaster?

Gallardo: Immersion is key for VR and with the PlayStation VR2’s new innovation features, we knew we could deliver an improved roller coaster experience with haptic feedback so you can feel the motion of the roller coaster…and of course, the player has to progress through the game, no matter how scared they get! 

What challenges did you face in creating your first Dark Pictures VR game and how did Unreal Engine help you solve them? 

Gallardo: Our relationship with Epic has been incredible since we started the project. They quickly implemented the support for the new tech and their continued updates to the FireAnt plugin helped overcome any technical issues we faced with the evolving technology. Also, their constant technical support, with extremely quick response to any of the new features implemented or blockers our engineers found, made the production very smooth.

How did you decide which scenes and creatures from the first season’s titles to place into Switchback?

Gallardo: Through research and audience feedback, we identified those that made the players jump, or made them feel uneasy, such as the stalker Sailor Girl from Man of Medan whose gruesome transformations haunts players. Many of the characters are also based on phobias for example, our masked mannequins are based on automatonophobia, the fear of human-like figures. 

What sort of work did you do to ensure that they would be updated to make the best use of the PS VR2’s visual acuity? 

Gallardo: The PS VR2’s visual acuity is very impressive and we have worked to ensure our assets in-game are up to this same standard. Therefore, we remade a lot of the 3D art that we had to make sure they were up to the quality of the PS VR2.

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