Ever since being owned by Japanese conglomerate Kadokawa, Kadokawa Gempak Starz have been on a roll with the variety of projects they undertake outside of their main business in producing and localising comics as well as running the name sake magazine. They have dabbled in mobile apps and games, but at Comic Fiesta 2016 they debuted a VR experience based on the Lost Legends series called Lost Legends Vertical Raid.
By any standards this VR experience does nothing new in the VR space, but it is essentially a kickstart for the developers, Amazing Newstar, to explore and get familiar with VR development. The experience involves picking up and then dual wielding guns, a walk on a ledge and some shooting in a snowy landscape while a floating robot guides you with a soothing voice.
To be honest, we did not walk away impressed with the quality of the experience as we experienced framerate stutters (which really took out the immersion) and something was off with shooting the guns- the projectiles seems to shoot at an angle rather than straight out of the guns making aiming difficult. This could either be intended by design or some issues with tracking- the experience was running on HTC Vive in a huge hall at Comic Fiesta where interference with the Lighthouse sensors could possibly happen. We were explained that the experienced was all made in under 4 months, so this not as polished as we were expected.
Then again, despite its shortcomings, Lost Legends Vertical Raid could be the signs to come of greater things to come. We met and spoke to Chris Yew, CEO of Kadokawa Gempak Starz on the VR experience. The company is currently exploring the possibilities of VR and AR and look for its applications outside of just gaming- other fields could benefit with its use such as education. So don’t expect a bunch of VR games from them just yet as they plan to see the market for VR games develops while also pursuing in non-gaming related projects.
While we walked out unimpressed with Lost Legends: Vertical Raid, we certainly are interested with where Kadokawa Gempak Starz is going right now. Lost Legends: Vertical Raid certainly is a sign of more local companies taking advantage of VR. While the experience is only available at Comic Fiesta booth for now, they do have plans on releasing it on Steam to get more feedback and see what they can improve on. Hopefully it will be better than what we tried out here, though it should be a blast to those unfamiliar with VR.