In-VR Interview: Matt Hall On Developing Shooty Skies Overdrive

This week, we sat down to chat with Matt Hall, the co-creator of Crossy Roads and part of the development team, alongside Mighty Games, of the new VR title Shooty Skies Overdrive.

Shooty Skies Overdrive launched for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift this week, and if you read our review, you’ll know that we quite enjoyed our time with the game. Earlier this week, I sat down with Matt Hall to talk about the development of his new VR wave shooter.

Hall was an original DK1 backer and created a small VR game many years ago called Discovery. Since then, he’s been waiting for the right time and concept for him and Mighty Games to pull the trigger on something bigger for VR, and Shooty Skies Overdrive was the end result.

The game is a roomscale experience where you’ll be simultaneously dodging and shooting bullets as enemies fly around you, with multiple difficulty settings available. “It plays with scale quite a lot,” said Hall. “So as opposed to Space Pirate Trainer, where you’re shooting things a very long way away, or Robo Recall, everything’s around you. You can reach out and touch and, you know, chop with chainsaws and blow up with yo-yos, all the little crazy aliens that are flying around your head.”

We also talked about how COVID-19 impacted the game, with the team going into lockdown around halfway through the development cycle. The biggest challenge was not necessarily working remotely, but actually distributing and finding headsets for everyone to use while at home.”We certainly weren’t expecting having to share the limited hardware that we had around,” said  Hall, and pointed out that there was added challenge as an Australian-based studio, as headsets like the Valve Index still aren’t available directly to Australian consumers.

In terms of post-launch content, the studio has already begun work on some new modes and features. “We’ve got a 1.1 [patch] coming out. One thing we dropped from the final game was the arcade/high score mode. Quest has an API [with] leaderboards and stuff, so we’re going to integrate with all of that [as well].” Additionally, the team is looking into implementing hand tracking support on the Oculus Quest in a future update as well.

If you haven’t already, you can check out some gameplay footage and read our review of Shooty Skies Overdrive here.