Panoptic Gamescom 2017 Interview
Panoptic is an asymmetrical local multiplayer VR game, between an HTC Vive player, and a regular PC player. The Vive player controls the powerful Overseer, while the PC player controls the Challenger, a citizen rebelling against the Overseer’s oppressive reign. The Challenger must try to avoid the Overseer’s scorching gaze, and to do so, they must often hide in plain sight among the other citizens.
The game is made by Team Panoptes.
During Gamescom 2017, we found the developers of Panoptic at the Indie Arena Booth and had the pleasure of having a quick chat with them. We talked to Jan Tuts, 3D modeller and animator as well as Bastien Gorissen, programmer.
They told us a few words about their studio before talking about the game itself, telling us that Team Panoptes is a studio based in Belgium with four out of five working from there and one, who works as an architect, working from New York. “We are working on the game part-time, because we all have jobs next to game development,” said Jan.
The concept of the game, came to be back in the IG Jam of Gamescom 2016 where the game ended up winning three out of six awards. “We were all from Belgium and that is how I met the rest of the team that was already together,” explained Jan. Basically, the member of the team that is an architect, had a Vive and the team started brainstorming how they could use it. Eventually, the idea for Vive vs PC came to be and since then, the studio has received a lot of praise for it, therefore leading them to the decision to actually make it a full game and publish it.
“The theme that we wanted to go with was masks, since the masks stand for hiding. Even more so, hiding in plain sight,” Bastien told us. One of the rewards that the team received after the game jam, was the chance to showcase their game at a booth at Gamescom. “Innogames saw us soon enough and approached us,” said Jan, talking about how they managed to get involved with Innogames.
The game has been in development for one year now and the plan is to release it on Steam, in Early Access. There is already a demo on Steam that people can try out, but other than that, there is a lot of retweaking to be done before the game is ready to release. At the moment, the studio is looking for a publisher and some funding, to finish the game. “We are expecting to fully release the game near the end of 2018.” For the moment, the studio wants to add at least one new level to the game and then keep updating the art style while the game runs through Early Access. There should be a total of five levels when the game is complete though.
“The plan with Early Access is that we did not want to ask for money for something that is not ready,” explained Bastien. The team is also aiming to come to PlayStation VR and for that reason they have been trying to reach Sony to make that happen. “People actually want to play the game at parties and we feel it would be awesome to play it on PS VR since you would be able to have up to four players on splitscreen.”