In virtual reality, holding a sword should actually feel like holding a sword. As simple as that sounds, it's a challenge that involves more than just tricky technical problems. In the case of Asgard’s Wrath, it started with a single question: What do players actually want? It’s a question Michael Doran, executive producer at Oculus Studios, asked himself and the team behind Asgard’s Wrath throughout years of rigorous play testing.
“Gamers want basic actions to feel as real as possible,” says Doran, “so we started with accurately portraying how it feels to block and attack with a sword.” After years of iteration and research, and the slaughter of many virtual minions, the team felt it nailed sword combat and began layering additional mechanics to the mix. “We started adding breakable weapons, defensive parries, and so on, all using Sanzaru’s custom version of the Unreal engine.”
It all sounds complicated, but the payoff couldn’t be simpler: everything just feels good. There’s a moment in Asgard’s Wrath when it all clicks: it might be the first time you draw a virtual sword like it was dangling on your real belt. Or it could be moments later, when you slide the sword back into its sheath after cutting through a rabble of monsters. Maybe you’ve slain virtual villains before, but there’s a new sense of “I just did that!” all over this game that elevates the experience above your everyday virtual adventure.
Fighting monsters with sword and shield is nothing new, but using physical skill and real-world brawn certainly is. This sensation of physical accomplishment is what Asgard's Wrath is all about, and it’s only possible through technologies that Sanzaru Games has refined through titles such as VR Sports Challenge and MARVEL Powers United VR. So, while it's an old-school action-adventure role-playing game at heart, Asgard's Wrath is designed for immersive questing.