Darkfield wants to be the Left 4 Dead of action-oriented virtual reality space dogfighting sims, which is one of those pitches that more closely resembles a series of nesting dolls, with the game they want to make positioned as the smallest doll inside the very large business of indie games.
"To be honest, when we started working on Darkfield in early 2013 we never thought about how big the audience will be," Mark Schramm of VR Bits told Polygon. "The number of people with an Oculus Rift at that time was very small, so we made a little Oculus Rift demo called Riftfighter and showed it to the community. The response was so immensely positive and we instantly knew that people were interested in our game."
"Initially, we only had planned for a team death match shooter, but soon we realized that actually playing together, instead of against each other is the most fun we ever had in Virtual Reality," he continued. "Knowing that your friend is out there in space, fighting with you and watching your back is an incredible feeling. It is also what other space games are lacking at the moment."
The game can also be played on standard monitors, or while using a TrackIR or multi-screen rigs. If you decide to pick up an Oculus Rift later, the game is ready to go. If you have a development kit, you can play it that way now.
"Gameplay-wise, we have always been huge fans of games like Payday and Left 4 Dead and that's why in Darkfield's missions you will require the skills of every single one of your wing-men to succeed," Schramm explained.
There are other games that do something like this of course, even games with Oculus Rift support, but nothing else focuses on the co-op experience with missions tightly designed for that style of play. Darkfield fills a hole in the market, even if that hole may be very small.
"When we create the missions, we make sure that in the beginning you have enough time to decide on your approach. Ships will have stealth capabilities, the Darkfield, which will make you almost invisible and lets you canvas the scene. But after your first shot, all hell will break loose. You will need to coordinate the use of EMP bombs and nuclear missiles, protect your wing-mans and ultimately fly into space stations, stealing artifacts, destroying reactor cores and riding shockwaves back out."
This sense of everyone working together against stiff odds and relying on their teammates is important to the game, and along with the focus on virtual reality it could help the project stand out. But again, this is a niche inside a niche, and the team seems aware of this fact, especially when looking at the campaign's goal: $10,000.
"We have been working on Darkfield for the past 18 months and funded most of the development out of our own pockets and with the help of our existing crowd-funding campaign on our website," Schramm said. "The reason why we can make a game with such limited funds is simple: we don't pay ourselves wages. We have other forms of income to support us and the Kickstarter funds can go straight into making Darkfield an awesome game."
The Kickstarter has raised $7,000 as of this writing, with six days left to go.