Update June 25, 2017: After teasing it back at PDXCon, players can now opt into the VR beta for Scanner Sombre.
The roll-out of Scanner Sombre’s VR beta comes after developers Inversion Software released a video that discusses the highs and lows of developing the atmospheric horror game. Mark Morris and Chris DeLay speak very candidly about Scanner Sombre, admitting that the game bombed on launch.
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“I didn’t think it was possible” says DeLay, as Introversion had just released the juggernaut that was Prison Architect, the team “wrongly assumed that would just give us a minimum number of people looking at our game.” In actuality, that minimum number was only around 6,000 people. Ouch.
There’s a big lesson about not overstating your player base with Scanner Sombre, with Morris acknowledging that the so-called “indie apocalypse” means that consumers are not guaranteed to buy your next game. Even when your previous game sold upwards of two million,Morris says you cannot sit on your laurels and assume the next one will sell even a shred.
If you want to try out Scanner Sombre in VR, you can see how to opt into the beta right here. It is also on offer for 50% off as part of Steam’s Summer sale, making it only $5.99/£4.49. Those numbers may get up to around 7,000 by the end of the sale, who knows.
Original story May 14, 2017: Following the release of Scanner Sombre back in April, Introversion Software have stated that the claustrophobic exploration game will be coming to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in the near future. While the game does involve the player character exploring a cave network using a VR headset, it was not designed as a VR-exclusive game.
Speaking to PC Gamer at PDXCon, Introversion co-founder Mark Morris said that, while Scanner Sombre is coming to VR, it would “just be nuts at the moment” to only focus on VR-exclusive games. Introversion’s Defcon VR was downloaded by “about seven people” says Morris, so while the technology is exciting, it just isn’t viable to solely make VR games at the moment. Instead, Introversion chose to release Scanner Sombre as a normal PC game, and then make it VR-compatible once a player-base had been established.
According to Morris, “we deliberately didn’t want people thinking Scanner Sombre is a VR game,” in order to stop people simply avoiding the game altogether because they didn’t have a headset. I do imagine that playing Scanner Sombre in VR will be the definitive experience, though, with its caves feeling all the more claustrophobic when you have a headset on.
The current plan is to have Scanner Sombre ready for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in about six weeks, so expect an official announcement from Introversion by the end of this month. If you want to go exploring in the meantime, Scanner Sombre is available on Steam for $11.99/£8.99.