I've written a few times about the future of fitness, an how playing "normal" VR games is the future. Just look at the success of Gorilla Tag and how good of an upper body workout that game is without it even being a fitness game.
Well, Kim Bauman Larsen the co-founder of Viewalk introduced me to Brain Allen, the owner of Bearhammer games last week. What struck me most about Brian, is we share the same thoughts on the future of VR Fitness Games.
So after a long Zoom call and some email exchanges I got a real understanding about Brian, where his passion lies, and that of the indie team he's built over the last couple of years.
Slashing boxes with a light sabre this is not, its a journey, a mission, a real test of skill and stamina.
Venture's Gauntlet is currently available in early-access on Steam.
Not Just Another Day at the Gym..
Tackle an intense obstacle course through a beautiful environment inspired by the Scottish Highlands, traversing your way through 6 challenging stages before finally reaching the top of the castle and claiming victory! Climb over chasms, swing over streams and duck under lasers in a workout that will have you feeling like Lara Croft or Indiana Jones.
Brian and the team wanted to really lean into the physicality of VR while freeing players of the restraints of standard fitness apps. In Venture's Gauntlet players are able to freely explore and climb their way through the world using our arm-swing controls. They spent months iterating over these controls to make them the smoothest we could and minimize discomfort while playing.
Giving Players a Sense of Journey
Brian said they really wanted to give the players a satisfying feeling of accomplishment for completing the course, and decided to go about this by having a persistent landmark to help you orient yourself within the world.
This landmark is the castle and it is also the players final destination. They designed multiple 'vista points' throughout the game that act as a way to frame the players journey, whilst giving a tangible sense of getting closer to the players goal.
When you finally reach the top and look back, it's a really special moment seeing how far you've come.
The Team Behind the Game
As I eluded to before, they're a small indie team mostly scattered across Europe and the UK. Brian started the studio a few years ago while living in Edinburgh, working as a solo dev on the studio's namesake game: BearHammer.
He eventually expanded the team to include programmer Joao, and artist Connor and they started working on what would become Venture's Gauntlet. Over the course of development, the team grew to include many more talented members.
Working together on a single project as a fully remote team has a lot of challenges, but Brian commented that they learned to work really effectively as a team to overcome them.
The Future of VR Fitness
Brian made it prety clear that the teams aim is to build VR's ultimate sport and their early-access release of Venture's Gauntlet is only the first step on that road.
While Venture's Gauntlet is currently only available for PCVR, they are already working hard on bringing it to standalone VR devices and give players a truly untethered experience.
They're planning to build new courses to complete and challenges to overcome. A multipayer experience is on it's way so it can be played with friends socially.
Have you got the minerals?
Venture's Gauntlet is the ultimate VR challenge and is only going to get bigger. Do you have what it takes to run the gauntlet?