The Superhot team thought that getting the game running in virtual reality would be a simple thing: Spend a few days working on that version of the game, get some publicity and make fans happy.
"Turns out that's not even remotely close to reality," Tomasz Kaczmarczyk told Polygon. "Back in 2014 we found one part of the Superhot experience that worked really well in VR and shipped it as a 5 minute tradeshow demo for Oculus DK2. It was loads of fun, people loved it and the extra publicity gave a huge boost to our Kickstarter campaign but it also opened our eyes to how much intricate research we gotta do before we can create a satisfying, fully fledged, awesome VR-bound Superhot."
They spent a lot of time looking at the different options for hardware, they spent a "scary" amount of time figuring out first-person shooter design in virtual reality and made a hard choice close to launch: They would have to rebuild the game.
"We're keeping the look and feel of regular Superhot and we're incorporating many of the locations you'll recognize from the PC version," Kaczmarczyk explained.
"The experience is just so dramatically different"
"All the rest though, we're building from the ground up — we're weaving everything together with a refreshed backstory, we're adding a lot of unique content and we're designing the entire gameplay with a laser-tight focus on VR. It's the best way we found to make you really, deeply experience all the crazy things you just can't do in your everyday shooters. And wow, the experience is just so dramatically different."
I had asked why a player would come back to the game if they had already finished Superhot, but Kaczmarczyk corrected me: You're not coming back to anything. This is a different game.
"You felt a bit like you were choreographing an insanely badass action scene every time you completed a level in Superhot — well, now you actually, physically need to go through the entire choreography yourself," he said. "You feel 100 percent engaged, it often gets tough as nails if you push yourself, but once you dodge that final bullet and smash the head off of that last remaining enemy with your own bare hands, you feel just exhilarated."
The game is being aimed at the Oculus Rift with the Touch controllers for now, but it's likely it will also come to the HTC Vive.
"We don't see much reason not to expect it to reach other platforms eventually," Kaczmarczyk said."With our deep, super friendly partnership with Oculus we're definitely focusing to premiere on Oculus Touch though. It's a challenge in its own right to design a complete game for VR even without focusing on multiple platforms right from the get go. Even with our limited indie resources though, I'm fairly certain we'll circle back to other platforms eventually."
Superhot VR is coming first to the Oculus Rift using the Touch controllers later this year.