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How Endeavor One used an expert swordsman and dogs to create the virtual reality game ‘Arashi: Castles of Sin’

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(Endeavor One images)

Seattle-based virtual reality company Effort one plans to release its first game, Arashi: Castles of Sin, exclusive to PlayStation VR later this summer.

Endeavor One has been active in virtual, mixed, and augmented reality spaces for the past seven years. His past projects include collaborations such as Halo: Recruit for Windows Mixed Reality and Dome of the dead, a 2019 4 player cooperative shooter for Vulcan HoloDome.

According to the co-founder of Endeavor One Tom doyle, Arashi is Endeavor One’s first “game with a capital”, created by a 30-person team in Unity 3D, with the support of the Unity Seattle office, over the past two years. The team includes several veterans of the aura other Destination franchises, as well as various people who have worked on Microsoft AR and HoloLens.

Initially announced in early June via the official PlayStation blog, Arashi is a Kurosawa-influenced action / stealth game set in Japan in the early 16th century, relatively early in the It was Sengoku. As Kenshiro, the last surviving son of the noble house of Arashi, you have returned from exile to reclaim six castles from the Six Oni of Iga, a clan of bandits that have taken over much of Japan.

It’s you, your family’s katana, and your pet wolf against a small army, so you must do whatever it takes to equalize the odds.

Kenshiro is an assassin by trade, so all options are on the table. That can include stealth, infiltration, subtle target neutralization, a full pacifist run where you achieve Kenshiro’s goals without killing anyone, or simply wading the enemy with an arsenal of age-appropriate weapons.

“We want to make these weapons, these things that you interact with, very meaningful,” Doyle said in an interview with GeekWire. “That is the experience of our team: creating best-in-class IPs. We like great and great stories, and as much as the characters and locations, we want your tools to be iconic too. What we wanted to do was make that sword and how you use it as incredible as possible. “

Doyle describes By Arashi designed as a “combat sandbox”, made to be played in seven to nine hours, which is the long side for a modern virtual reality game. You must move through the game like a ninja, using your preferred tactics to liberate the six castles of Six Oni.

“We don’t skimp on details here,” said Doyle. “We employed teacher Russell McCartney, et al. Japanese fencing world record holder, and provided motion capture for the fighters you will train against in the game. You won’t just be fighting a bad guy who wields a sword; you are actually facing one of the best swordsmen alive. We really strive for authenticity. “

That includes your buddy in Arashi, Haru, Kenshiro’s wolf, who fights by your side throughout the game. (Korean wolves were relatively common in 16th century Japan, but they were driven to extinction during the Meiji era a couple of hundred years later.) To make a realistically modeled virtual wolf, Endeavor One ended up going to Canada to get some canine motion capture.

“It was a two-part excursion,” said Doyle. “We work with a partner in Canada, Beyond the catch, which has this stable of actors, and these actors have four legs and are hairy. They are fantastically trained, beautiful, and disciplined animals, and we had the opportunity to work with them to make sure our experience with Haru is as authentic as humanly possible. “

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “you cannot capture a wolf in motion, because they are wild animals. We use dogs, German Shepherds, who are incredibly similar in terms of physique. We did it, just for the benefit of the animation and art teams, we went to the wolf sanctuary, Predators of the heart, that’s because of Anacortes. We have to go hang out with dozens of these beautiful animals. “

Doyle has been an artist in the video game industry since 2002. He spent just under twelve years at Bungie, where he worked as a lead artist on Destination, all its expansions, and Destiny 2 before leaving the company in 2016.

“What’s ultimately so exciting about virtual reality is that there isn’t a playbook yet,” said Doyle. “Experiences are constantly being made and improved. That’s one of the things we try to do with our game, is get to the heart of what makes it an incredible moment-to-moment experience and not get caught up in expectations of what a ‘flat’ is. [2D, non-VR] provides the game “.

At the time of writing, Arashi does not have a specific release date other than “this summer”. It is planned to receive a physical release, however, through the publishing house Perp.

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