Project Demigod enters full release today on Quest and PC VR, and we spoke with Omnifarious Studios to learn more. Read on for our full interview.
It's been a long journey for Project Demigod. Initially launched in October 2021, the VR superhero sim has made steady progress, reaching 100k sales last December across Quest App Lab and Steam Early Access. It's mostly been a solo development for Cory Robertson, who tells UploadVR that he initially envisioned the sandbox superhero sim during his time at Columbia University.
"Project Demigod began while I was still at Columbia, either in 2017 or 2018. As soon as I had seen that VR had finally become a thing, the thing we'd all been waiting for since we were kids, I jumped into it wholeheartedly," he tells me over a video call.
Since starting the project, Roberston's mostly handled this alone, with Fast Travel Games taking over publishing duties in August 2023, while eventually hiring two full-time artists last October. As a solo developer in an emerging field where VR conventions are still being established, he calls this a "huge challenge."
You have to wear a lot of hats, learn just enough about 100 subjects to be good enough to implement it. VR presents its own challenges because it's a rapidly evolving field. Software, plugins and game engines are constantly being updated, not always for the better. There's been many unforeseen hurdles that I've navigated over the last few years but it's been good because I really enjoy learning new things. Every time I learn something new, I add it to the game and Project Demigod is that much better.
Robertson explains Project Demigod came about as a combination of two things - his love of superheroes, alongside frustrations regarding what he considers a lack of player freedom in video game combat.
"There’s a spectrum where you have Blade and Sorcery at one end, while World of Warcraft fight animations are the same thing every single time, no matter what you do," Robertson continues, explaining he wanted more stylized reactions when enemies are attacked. This then progressed through using powers in different ways, like making enemies explode upwards by throwing fireballs at their feet.
As someone who's yet to go hands-on, I queried how Project Demigod has changed since the initial launch. "Night and day," Robertson replies, who explained it's been constantly changing throughout early access. "I released it on Steam as an early release mainly to see what people thought, there were maybe 3 or 4 powers and very simple enemies," he elaborates.
In its current state, Project Demigod is purely a sandbox experience. Robertson compared it to Blade & Sorcery, only with a heavy superhero powers focus and "a much bigger emphasis on a bigger world." Previously, he mentioned looking into a solo campaign with a storyline and progression on the Steam Early Access FAQ; I asked if that's still being considered.
"It is. We're kind of at a weird point in that there's so many potential features with the game that we can see going forward. It's just about time, effort and which direction we're going to go in. So, that's a bit up in the air. We have some plans and designs but right now, it's purely a sandbox."
So, what is it about today's update that made Robertson label this the full release?
"We finally came to a point where we wanted to have an established 1.0, this is the game’s baseline… we feel like we're at a really good place now with choice in powers, enemies and optimization," he explains, though there's still a long way to go. "I have about a thousand ideas I still want to implement."
While Version 1.0 establishes the game's baseline, Fast Travel Games previously mentioned a post-launch roadmap, so I asked what future updates might bring. Giant-sized enemies are part of this.
"I wanted to explore new and different combat types. Who doesn't love a Superman versus Godzilla-type fight?" he tells me. Robertson also outlines plans to switch between day and night in some levels, alongside power customizations for switching out ability colors.
Do these future plans involve additional VR platforms? Robertson doesn't confirm anything but he explains how PSVR 2 "would definitely be a goal for us... it's a fantastic headset and that's definitely a market that I think would like our game."
I'm also told Pico is a possibility.
Project Demigod arrives today on the Meta Quest platform and Steam for $19.99.