While at PAX East this year, we had a few devs in particular that we were excited to meet. The most prominent of them was the Montreal-based Trebuchet–creators of one our favorites, Prison Boss VR. One of the reasons this title stood out was its original premise, and its unique and quirky art style and gameplay.
It’s always a pleasure getting to experience something “new” in VR, and Trebuchet seems to set their sights on accomplishing that a second time, with their recently announced second VR title, “Jousting Time.” Not only did we get to speak to the devs about this upcoming project, we were able to jump in the saddle (literally!) and experience the game first hand, which we get into further below.
Whereas Prison Boss was released as Early Access, and updated quite frequently throughout its first few months before releasing out of early access, Trebuchet is taking a different approach with Jousting Time. They’re looking to the audience and gamers (that’s you!) for help with funding via a Kickstarter project. I can’t speak to the specifics of logic behind their decision, but I understand how costly developing for VR can be, and how difficult it can be to manage both consumer expectation along with development costs, etc. Clearly, the team at Trebuchet is confident in their product, and have displayed exemplary developer behavior. They have consistently been transparent and open regarding their projects, so this seems like a good route for them.
This new project is interesting in that it’s also social. There’s heavy focus on streamer integration (twitch, Mixr?) and even a custom app that allows you to not only spectate, but to interact with the match via emojis that will pop up on the stream, or maybe even throw tomatoes at whichever knight (player) you’re rooting against. These details are still being fleshed out. There’s even the possibility of an in-game currency, which both the knights and the audience can earn and use to unlock special effects or special interactive items.
Currently, their Kickstarter has quite a ways to go to reach the goal. The hardest part of crowd-funding is getting your future customers to buy in early, for which, we feel they are making a fair offering.
At $10, you will get the full game with delivery slated for November 2018. Now, $10 is a very fair price for this title. Although, conveying that, and getting actual gamers to “get it” and buy in, is the battle itself. It’s easy to pass up a Kickstarter because who knows if they will fall through? But we got to experience what already felt like a full game. So I think that it’s safe to say, backers will get a product by the end of this. At this point, it’s more about how much polish and extra features they can cram in on budget, and in time for release.
There are other backer options of course: you can do a 5$ spectator backing, or up your pledge for either beta access in Sept, or alpha access in July, plus tons of other backer options on the Kickstarter campaign (even ones which will score you a Prison Boss VR key), which you should totally check out here.
Personally, I was a bit unclear on what the experience would be like, but getting a chance to try it out at PAX East has definitely gotten me more excited about Jousting Time. So much so that we became backers ourselves.
In the game, you play as either a red or blue knight. You each sit atop a horse and select 3 weapons at the start of a match. Once “ready,” you move your right hand up and down (as if holding a horses reins) to gallop forward. Need a little boost? Then yell! There’s a voice-activated feature in which you shout whatever you want, and your steed will pick up speed. Then, with your other hand, simply aim your selected weapon at your foe, as your horses gallop past each other.
The goal is to hit the same spot 3 times to sufficiently weaken that area and defeat your opponent. Weapon selection plays a big part.
To start things off, you play rock, paper, scissors to decide who gets first dibs on weapons from the pool. Once a weapon has been selected, it can no longer be selected again either by you or your opponent. Also, your weapon can break. So, select weapons in a strategic manner, for an optimal set-up in each jousting round.
The devs spoke about the weapon selection being a big part of the replay-ability factor with this game, as we may see a feature where spectators will be given a say in the weapon selection or other details, as development continues.
The yelling part was a riot, especially at a live event. It was definitely one of the best parts of the game, and led to quite a crowd to surround the Trebuchet booth. There was a consistently packed line waiting to try the experience throughout our time at PAX. To top it all off, they brought in two real horse saddles (through US customs!), so you and your opponent could (IRL) sit across from each other on saddles, gearing up to go head to head. Talk about immersive! It really was a great time and a highlight of for us at PAX East. I would go so far as to say it was the most engaging and fun VR setup this year.
To be clear, we may be a bit biased here, as the Trebuchet team have been a truly fantastic group of people. So, we do want to see them succeed, but only in the best interest of creating great VR for everyone.
To back or not to back
Now the question: is Kickstarter a viable option for struggling devs to help fund their projects? Or would Early Access be a better route? It all depends on the project. I suspect the reason Trebuchet went with Kickstarter was simply that they didn’t have many other options, or possibly, the other options involved heading to a direction they didn’t want to go into.
Either way, I’m happy to jump in and support, but much of that is because I actually got to experience the game, and do wish that it succeeds in making it to market. So please, take a look at the Kickstarter. If this is something you would be interested in upon release, it may be worth it to you to become an early backer.
Oh and how we could we not include this: