Andy Schuette has been gaming ever since he could hold a SNES controller in his hands and has been loving every minute of it. He's the funniest guy he knows, and the least funny guy everyone else knows.
Valiant has certainly made its own little niche in the land of Kickstarter as the team at Offpeak Games has brought mounted Medieval fighting to the crowdfunding stage. While it hasn’t gone viral (yet), the game seems to have found a great hook to bring people in: virtual reality. Indeed, Valiant will be made exclusively for use on both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices.
I know what you’re probably thinking: that’s nice and all but virtual reality isn’t big news anymore. That’s true, after the awe of the initial announcement of the Oculus Rift the excitement on the VR front has slowed quite a bit, especially considering everyone and their great aunt has their own VR headset in production. Yet in the wake of waning interest, Offpeak Games has an ambitious plan for their newest project. Instead of just putting you into the game, they are adding others to your experience for a PvP multiplayer game in a virtual reality world.
Players will take one of three roles as they mount their horse and prepare for combat: lancer, archer, or slayer. The classes differ in their weaponry, ranging from bows, lances, crossbows, maces, javelins, and swords. The variety of weapons will make for strategic choices when considering your own role as well as those who you are fighting.
Offpeak is really looking to give the feeling of immersion when you begin your journey in Valiant. Visually, you have the option to see the field of battle with unobstructed eyes or, if you’re feeling authentic, you can opt for wearing a helmet to really show you how it looks to be in combat with the armor of the time.
However you choose to see Valiant, it will be tracking your head as you look around the battlefield so it can adjust your player model accordingly. This means that as you look over to your friend riding alongside you they can see you look over, and you can see them as they look back with confidence, ready to knock the enemy to the ground.
Cool visuals are not the only way they want to make you feel as though you are truly in a feudal battle; audio is just as important in the game to give a more immersive experience. The dedicated VOIP system and the in-game audio will be positional (basically it means that the closer you are to someone the better you can hear them, and if you are facing away you don’t hear as clearly, much like how it works in real life).
According to their Kickstarter page, including positional VOIP gives an opportunity to “strategize with teammates or demoralize opponents.” They may have too high of an expectation for the maturity of players in online multiplayer games, or maybe I’ve just been stuck in the wrong lobbies. Either way, the first thought that sprang to mind with demoralizing opponents is how people will hear over and over again all the awful things that people have theoretically done with their mothers.
Now for the big question: why bring this project to Kickstarter for crowdfunding? Aside from the obvious answer of wanting money and asking the crowd to fund them, they are looking to really push the game forward, let it grow, and get it finished. There was a free alpha release made for Oculus Share over a year ago. In that time, they have continued to support the game and headset based on feedback received from the community.
With the money raised in their crowdfunding campaign, Offpeak will look to add new weapons, armor, and maps to its current line-up. That’s not all though: fancy new dressings for your player may be exciting, but new game modes can be even better, especially to keep the game fresh and replayable. With the help of the fine Kickstarter backers, Valiant will be able to add new modes like Capture the Flag and King of the Hill so you have more ways to play when you don your helm and climb atop your trusty steed.
Offpeak wants to thank those who contribute with some additional motivation and content. As far as base incentives go, Kickstarter backers will receive the game at a discounted price, on top of getting lifetime beta access to new builds to help improve the game even after launch. There are also two exclusive weapon effects shown on swords as Royal Flame and Noble Frost.
At time of writing the campaign has raised just over $2,300 of its $11,150 goal ($15,500 AUD) with 16 days remaining. If virtual reality is of interest to you then this is surely a good project to check out.
Overall, the game looks pretty ambitious. The exclusive use of emerging technology is a risky move that they hope will pay off. As it stands not many people have access to a VR headset but when it becomes more commercially available, Valiant looks like a game that will be a household name as it grows.