Posted by Alex Ward Creative Director, Three Fields Entertainment on Play Station
Welcome to VR Training Recruits!
I’m Alex Ward and I’m Creative Director at Three Fields Entertainment. Today we’re announcing our latest game: Lethal VR. As a UK based independent developer, we’re excited to be partnering with the brilliant UK team at publisher Team17 for this game.
Lethal VR gives players the chance to test their shooting and throwing skills in a virtual training environment. You’ll step into the shoes of an FBI Recruit and — if you’re good enough — recreate scenes from a few classic movies.
In order to complete your training, you’ll have to master a variety of different weapons and techniques. You’ll be tested with both handguns and knives, submachine guns and throwing stars. We’ll track how fast your Quickdraw is, but also your speed, accuracy and consistency. Special scores are awarded for both Bullseyes and Headshots. Your scores will be tracked and your performance will be rated in over 30 different challenges spread across 5 simulations. Do you have what it takes to earn a “Lethal” rating in every challenge?
As you successfully complete each Simulation, you’ll unlock some special Bonus challenges. These feature legendary weapons from the world of the movies. Online leaderboards will allow you to compare your scores against your friends on PSN.
You’ll be able to test you skills with the following weapons:
- A gold plated gun inspired by the weapon in “The Man With The Golden Gun”
- A very big knife inspired by the knife in “Crocodile Dundee”
- A Magnum revolver inspired by the weapon in “Magnum Force”
- Throwing Stars inspired by those seen in “Kill Bill”
- A razor tipped Bowler Hat inspired by the one thrown in “Goldfinger”
- An automatic machine pistol inspired by the one seen in “Robocop”
As developers, the arrival of PlayStation VR inspired us to think about both the stories we could tell and the worlds we could now allow you to step right into. We looked at some of the early demos and they set us thinking about the new types of games and experiences we wanted to create for PlayStation fans all over the world.
Ultimately, what got us most excited was giving players the chance to actually take part inside the game world itself and be able to physically act out the key movements of the gameplay for themselves.
Lethal VR was inspired by some famous sequences from some of my favourite movies.
The first sequence is inspired by the opening sequence to 1991’s “Point Break” which shows Keanu Reeves being assessed on his shooting skills at an FBI training range. It’s an iconic sequence featuring very fast gunfire at a variety of targets in the pouring rain.
The second sequence comes from the pistol shooting competition that features in the 1973 movie “Magnum Force” – the second “Dirty Harry” film. It shows Clint Eastwood compete against David Soul on a police training range in San Francisco. The scene is memorable as each character has to walk through a pretend street where different targets pop-up in front of them. The targets alternate between bad guys and friendly targets.
The third sequence is based on the opening sequence from the 1974 Bond film “The Man With The Golden Gun” – and shows the villain’s lair on his private island. A gangster is lured inside and confronts several pop-up shooting targets before being dispatched by Christopher Lee.
These sequences, and many more like that, have always stayed with me, and I’ve always wanted to try my luck on a shooting range like those shown in those movie clips. It turns out that in real life, it’s actually pretty hard to do! Real gun ranges often aren’t like you see in movies.
The closest I came was back in 2006. I was directing a shooting title called Black for PS2 in my previous job as Creative Director at Criterion Games. I spent countless hours watching shootout scenes from popular action movies. I also spent a few days at a gun range in Las Vegas. They had a system that projected DVD video scenes onto a special wall that you could fire real bullets at. It was designed to train US police officers and tested their skills in a variety of different situations. However, it was nothing like the sort of gun range that Keanu Reeves or Clint Eastwood got to use. Nor did the targets pop up suddenly as either “friend or foe.”
So I decided to start building the experience I’ve always wanted to play with the small but incredibly talented team here at Three Fields Entertainment.
Paul Phillpot used the power of Unreal Engine to build the first gun range environment in the space of a few hours. He began work on both making the weapons feel right in your virtual hands and making them fire in a satisfying way. VR games have to run at a high framerate and Paul’s range design looks great and runs well on PS VR.
Chris Roberts authored all 31 weapons challenges using his deep knowledge of action movies. This really helped us get gameplay up and running quickly. He focused on creating simple scenarios which would allow us to live out the fantasy of firing guns like an action movie superstar. Chris was the first person to dual wield our handguns in VR. And PS VR put him in the middle of his own John Woo movie for a few days!
Phil Maguire and Alex Veal took on all the programming side of the development. Alex worked on all of the gameplay and scoring rulesets, also overseeing the HUD and FE implementation. Phil worked on tracking controls with the PlayStation Move controllers, and really nailed the feeling of throwing a virtual knife through the air. Alex has the fastest Quickdraw time in the office, but Phil is most deadly with dual throwing knives and throwing stars.
Simon Phipps created all of the front-end screens, artwork, and FE flow. He also designed a brilliant original logo for the game. For the early part of the game development, we shot at the same black and white targets each day. However, we all feel that our game really came to life when Simon’s hand-drawn human ‘friend’ or ‘foe’ targets went into the software. His fast drawing talents really nailed an almost 1970’s comic book style for the targets.
All sound effects and title music for the game were created in-house by John Guscott. John was inspired by Simon’s early 80’s “Hollywood computer” style of presentation – influenced by movies such as “WarGames” and “Blue Thunder.” The audio design captures not only the energy and intensity needed for each weapon, but also the larger-than-life style we wanted to accomplish.