The developers of Crisis VRigade, the most popular download on the SideQuest sideloading platform for Oculus Quest, say they’ve been rejected for sale on Facebook’s official store for a second time.
Diego Martín of developer Sumalab confirmed as much on Twitter this weekend. An email from the Oculus submissions process reads: “After a thorough review of your submission, your application has not been accepted to receive Oculus Quest publishing access at this time.” Instead, the email suggests submitting the game to Oculus Start, a program to support independent VR developers.
— Diego Martín (@diempuntoes) February 29, 2020
Crisis VRigade is an arcade-style shooter in which players shoot their way through a handful of levels. Since its first rejection, the game amassed over 70,000 downloads as a free app on SideQuest. We’re quite fond of it, but the game is light on content, with just a few levels to play through on PC VR and PSVR.
Speaking to me over email, Martín stated that the developer doesn’t know why the game has been rejected a second time; Facebook hasn’t given the team any indication. “Maybe the blocky graphics that can be misleading about the graphic capacity of the Quest,” Martín speculated. “Another guess is about the Trump masks we’re using as an [sic] tribute to Point Break (A movie from 1991). No pro/anti Trump intention here, but it may have some sensitivities that we’re not aware of.”
This lack of information, Martín says, is a source of frustration for the team. “We’re not against strict curation process,” the dev explained. “The Sony curation process is hard and very thorough indeed, but the main difference is that Sony provide an explanation of the things they want you to change to publish your game. We’re open to make changes to our game, but we’re blind here, they send a template mail rejecting our game but with no explanation why they don’t want it. So we don’t know what to change to be approved.”
Facebook introduced a strict curation policy for Quest when it launched the headset last year. It’s meant that the standalone device has seen a paced rollout of mostly high-quality games. But plenty of other developers beyond Sumalab have also had their games rejected for sale. Arvore’s Pixel Ripped 1995 is coming to the platform, for example, but the original game, Pixel Ripped 1989, isn’t. Meanwhile Electric Hat Games started selling the Quest version of its VR climbing game, To The Top, on SideQuest instead. In fact it’s sold enough to encourage the team to keep working on a sequel.
Martín, meanwhile, told me that Sumalab considered selling Crisis through SideQuest too, though the team is yet to decide on next steps following the rejection. That said, it will continue to work on the Quest version, and will soon be adding support for three player co-op — which arrived on PC VR and PSVR earlier in the year — and the game’s third level soon. It’s also working on a sequel to the game, called Crisis VRigade 2.