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Cloud gaming: How Insomniac’s VR game ‘Stormland’ is elevating action adventure

Can you talk about Stormland’s robot gardener protagonist and what makes him a different kind of hero for VR? MD: The androids of Stormland were designed for decades of hard labor in a harsh alien environment. They are both rugged and highly adaptable. Players supplement their android bodies by physically attaching new parts and literally removing and replacing their own arms with enhanced ones. Upgraded arms can transform and activate useful abilities like deploying a support drone or releasing a burst of electric discharge.

Years ago, an army of hardened military robots descended on the colony and wiped it out, destroying the hero in the process. At the start of the game, the hero miraculously reboots to find an alien sprout in its chest. You come to learn that this sprout seems to understand your android anatomy and can grow stronger and supplement your body with a host of exotic alien abilities. Understanding the mysteries of this strange plant leads players to the titular Stormland where they learn more about the alien ecosystem and how they can protect it from malicious robot intruders.

Can you recapStormland’sdevelopment timeline for us?

MD: Our earliest prototypes for Stormland were in 2014 when we created an internal, non-VR demo featuring a world in the clouds you could explore. This was around the time we started talking to Oculus about creating titles for the Rift and when we showed them this demo, they challenged us to think about how that experience might translate to VR.

Most of Stormland’s production team worked on Edge of Nowhere and The Unspoken. Throughout these projects, the early Stormland demo and the idea of free VR traversal was always in the back of our heads, so we built up a laundry list of things we wanted to try. In 2017, we started prototyping VR traversal mechanics for Stormland and by the time the larger team rolled on from The Unspoken: Acolytes, the game had a functional foundation that proved the concept worked--we could create an open world VR game where you could fly through the clouds.

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