Fast Travel Games Creative Lead James Hunt discusses ‘The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets’ and VR Gaming

"The game is full of interactions and encourages curiosity."

The Oculus Quest has opened the doors to Virtual Reality games and experiences to a lot more people and games developers are working really hard to create some great experiences for people as they begin to delve into other virtual worlds.

At last week’s E3 convention there was a strong showing for Virtual Reality games and a lot of developers showed off some great titles across the entire spectrum, but there were a lot of new titles for the new Oculus Quest and one game that caught my eye was ‘The Curious Tale of The Stolen Pets.’

As soon as I saw this game. I reached out to the developer Fast Travel Games and managed to get a few questions answered by James Hunt, who is the creative lead on the project. Below is what he shared with us.

ScifiPulse: First off how did you become involved with Fast Travel Games?

James Hunt: I’ve previously worked with Oskar Burman our CEO. When I mentioned to him that I was thinking about changing jobs he told me that Fast Travel Games was looking to expand. The idea of joining a small team working with VR was really compelling and I ended up joining in 2016.

SFP: The new game you are developing looks like a lot of fun. Where does the idea for ‘The Curious Tale of The Stolen Pets’ come from and what is the inspiration behind it?

James Hunt: I was approached by our CTO Kristoffer Benjaminsson asking me if I would be interested in prototyping a VR game inspired by a couple of games we both like. One being Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. I took the weekend to think about a game idea and the next week we started a prototype. Two weeks later we started working on the game that became The Curious Tale.

SFP: How would you best describe ‘The Curious Tale of The Stolen Pets’? Is it a puzzle game or a platform game. It looks like a little of both to me.

James Hunt: The game is full of interactions and encourages curiosity. To find all the pets you need to solve light weighted puzzles. The game has actually no platforming, just adorable characters and animals inhabiting the worlds.

SFP: One of the things I loved about what I’ve seen of the game was the animation and the fact that it all seemed to be somewhat like a 3D treehouse. The design reminded me a little of Tree Tots, which was a Treehouse toy from the 70s. 

James Hunt: I love stop motion and how it feels like you can actually reach out and touch. I think having the worlds in front of you in VR creates the same feeling of presence. It almost feels like the worlds actually exist! The visual style has been iterated along with the production and is a collaboration between all members of the team. Inspiration comes from the games we love such as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Machinarium and Journey.

SFP: As a developer of Virtual Reality Games. How do you guys decide on what would work best in a Virtual Reality environment? Are there specific styles of gameplay that works better in Virtual Reality than others?

James Hunt: Most games could work in some way or another in VR, but your right that some game styles work better than others. We at Fast Travel Games try to create games that we believe play better and are enhanced in VR. With hand presence and the feeling of you actually being in the game VR is very immersive!

SFP: What retro games could you see working well in VR. I mean back in the early days of the 70s and 80s we had stuff like Pong, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Donkey Kong.  But in the 80s when home computers came out we had stuff like Paper Boy and California Games and all manner of things. If you could choose a Retro Game to bring to VR what would it be and how do you think it would make the transition?

James Hunt: Good question! There is actually an app for playing emulators in VR which is kind of cool! But apart from that, I think the game of choice would have to be a remake made specifically for VR. How about a Bubble Bobble in VR, that would be fun!

SFP: I’ve recently got my very first VR headset in the Oculus Quest. How much of an impact do you think the Oculus Quest is likely to have to mainstream gamers and what sort of games do you feel will make a difference in helping to sell VR to the Mainstream audience?

James Hunt: I think the Oculus Quest is a game changer! Finally a headset for the mainstream! No wires and so easy to set up. Still a while before VR makes a big impact on mainstream gamers though, but we’re on the right track! A big title like a new Half Life or Zelda made specifically for VR could be the push VR needs!

SFP: Aside from ‘The Curious Tale of The Stolen Pets’ what other things do you guys have in development at Fast Travel Games?

James Hunt: We are very happy to be working on Budget Cuts 2 together with Neat Corp. Apart from The Curious Tale and Budget Cuts 2, we are working on a couple more projects, but nothing we can share at the moment.

Thanks for showing interest in The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets and we look very much forward to share it with everyone later this year!

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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