Into The Radius is an open-world hardcore post-apocalyptic story-driven VR shooter with heavy influences from a wide gamut of entertainment media properties. It released on Steam Early Access last November and is dropping on the Oculus Home Store in Early Access today.
Game developers that work in VR often cite very different influences than the ones that work on non-VR games. If you ask a developer what got them into traditional game development you’ll likely get a list of old-school retro games, maybe some movies and TV shows, or books that they wanted to emulate. But in the case of VR, since the medium is so new, a lot of developers cite modern, contemporary games as key influences. In the case of Into the Radius, it’s a bit of both.
Taken from the game’s store page description:
Into the Radius is a single-player survival shooter developed exclusively for premium Virtual Reality headsets. The game is a dark mix of eldritch horror, open-world exploration, realistic weapon handling and intriguing storyline that will make you feel like you’re in the middle of the post-apocalyptic Pechorsk Radius zone.
Life and death intertwine inside the Radius, lurking somewhere in the middle of everything is the answer to a question you can’t quite remember. Through the flickering memories of your tarnished life as a former resident of Pechorsk and now UNSPC specialist, your only means of survival is to stalk the strange and threatening zone and complete the missions assigned to you.
We spoke to Brandon Marsh from CM Games about the game’s release, early reception, and future plans. These questions and answers were conducted over email in late November, but due to a busy release season, holidays, and packed schedules we’re just now publishing it to coincide with the Oculus Home release.
UploadVR: Tell me more about some of the main inspirations for Into the Radius, both VR and non-VR inspirations.
Brandon Marsh: The source material the game is based on is ‘Roadside Picnic’ by the Stugatsky Brothers. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R series and their mods share the same source material, it has a diehard community and we see Into the Radius as following in that tradition.
Other Non-VR inspirations include Myst (solo exploration with a narrative) and Darksouls (Hardcore gameplay, subtle / cryptic story, Death is included as a mechanic).
VR inspiration would be Onward, which was one of the first games that showed that free locomotion shooters have commercial appeal.
UVR: Many of the main complaints about the game early on seemed to be about the slow pace and “unfinished” feeling — are these things you plan on addressing.
BM: Early Access was a major milestone for us, the primary focus was to implement the systems with placeholder assets, make the game more immersive and focus on playability and functionality over style and cosmetics. We’ve been able to quickly test everything and got a lot of feedback from the community on what is working and what needs improvements.
Right now the game has its core mechanics fully playable. There is a big open terrain map to explore, a hub to pick missions, along with buying and selling of a basic arsenal of firearms and helpful items.
Regarding the game’s pacing, Into the Radius is much more of a survival / stealth game, not a straight forward guns blazing FPS. We strive to provide tension via player decisions, skill and exploration of the unknown rather than an overwhelming sensory stimulation.
UVR: What are some of the major ways you plan to update/improve the game while in Early Access?
BM: We’re still finalizing the development roadmap from now until launch. When it’s ready we’ll be sharing it out with the community. Next week we are releasing to Oculus Store Early Access as well as setting up a HTC Viveport ‘Coming Soon’ page.
Since the release, the team has been doing a lot of bug fixing and patching getting the game in a stable, playable state for everyone. We are working on the balance especially for starter players to make the difficulty more manageable, same with improving the tutorial (which is iterated every release.)
We’ve made a quite complex systemic game with an indie sized team, there are a lot of placeholder assets to be replaced, textured and finalized over the next few months. Things like additional content (maps, weapons, anomalies and artifacts), replacing the cassette tape subtitle and text-to-speech placeholders with voice actors, the storyline and special missions will start to be inserted into the game.
UVR: How has the reception been so far in terms of sales? You probably can’t give specifics, but if you could describe the reception versus expectations that would be great.
BM: We knew getting into this that the VR games market is very niche and our game is even more niche (catering to single player hardcore). Very few premium VR games even manage to surpass 5000+ copies sold, so our expectations were pretty tempered.
That being said, initial sales have been slow, we’re launching on more platforms and continuing to do a strong marketing push to build up momentum for the full release.
UVR: What other games have you worked on before?
BM: As a group we’ve all been in the industry with an average 6-12+ years experience. Starting from PC-console game outsource to development of top mobile games.
Some of those titles include: Nitro Nation, Mushroom Wars, The X-Files: Deep State, UFO: Resistance (Android), ZooCraft, Digger HD and Hot Wheels Infinite Loop.
Into The Radius is available on both Oculus Home for Rift and Steam for all major PC VR platforms for $29.99. The Steam page states an expected Early Access duration of 6-10 months, meaning a planned full release sometime later this year. The price will increase when it comes time for full launch.