Zenith Dev talks about the influences of anime and solarpunk

Developer Ramen VR has caught the attention of virtual reality (VR) enthusiasts since the release of Zenith: the last city, with the game even briefly reaching the top of the Steam player lists.

While it’s still in early access, fans are waiting for it Zenit represents a step towards the fully immersive virtual reality MMORPG popular in fiction. Explore future ideas, influences, and projects Zenith: the last cityUpload VR spoke with Andy Tsen, CEO and co-founder of Ramen VR.


Ramen VR itself is a small business for an ambitious project like Zenith: the last city, with only 15 workers. Tsen was sincere about the challenges the developer faces and meeting people’s expectations: “When we launched Zenit, there were a lot of people waiting for Sword Art Online or World of Warcraft. We’re more like Ultima Online, a few guys trying to create something we’re passionate about.

Comparisons to virtual reality MMOs like Sword Art Online or .Hack are inevitable, and Tsen said anime and Japanese culture have a significant influence. “The inspiration for the game comes from every game I’ve played,” he says. “Anime was a big part of my training years, so we took ideas from Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft and even Nier. We wanted to create a world inspired by anime and JRPGs. You can see that in the open world, such as the Plains region, we refer to many Miyazaki and many Nier.

Speaking about the tone and genre of the game, Tsen said this: “If you look at the city, we have solarpunk up and running, while the start area was inspired by Final Fantasy VII’s Midgar and many other cyberpunk media. There are elements of science fiction, but it’s very inspired by fantasy, but it will have more of a solarpunk theme and style than cyberpunk. cheerful and bright is good, a dark place of fear is bad. “There will be nuances and complexities that players will discover as the game world expands and perfects itself. Thicker, darker Cyberpunk media.

A common criticism of many modern MMOs is that the intuitive and fun gameplay can be lost amidst a sea of ​​complex systems, rewards, and coins, so it looks more like a job than a game played for pleasure. “I think a lot of the immersion has been lost in modern MMOs,” Tsen commented on this. “Our goal was to create an immersive world where people could reach their full potential without worrying about what was happening in the real world. It is a new reality based on the game. We want to focus on creating fun experiences for people.

When asked how this contributes to accessibility for players, Tsen said the team made sure it was possible to play Zenith sitting down, and then added: “Often accessibility is not just a good design. He said that this was just a starting point for Ramen VR, and that they were willing to integrate accessibility into the game during the early access phase. just for an example: “We’ve had to work with some of our team members who get a lot of simulation patients, so we imagined things like our out-of-body locomotion to mitigate it.

Tsen also said that this focus on accessibility extends to online security and the convenience of gaming, focusing on the tools that are given to players. “You can block people or you can silence them. For us, security is very important. We have GMs who can travel the world invisibly and make sure everything is fine,” he said, adding that robots are effective. limited when it comes to protecting a community. “You can’t do much with automation, so you still need human judgment.”

Tsen also stated that Final Fantasy XIV is an example worth following, as Square Enix has positive reinforcement systems that allow players to praise other players who have impressed them during a task, dungeon, or raid. It works as a counterpoint to blocking and reporting systems to help foster the community, which Ramen VR hopes to develop for Zenith as well.

Ramen VR is already committed to adding hundreds of hours of new content to its next major update patch, and Tsen spoke excitedly about what Zenith gamers can expect in the future: there’s a lack of final content of the game at this time. We need to do so much more. In our next major content update, our goal is to fix and expand it so that there are things for casual gamers, things for die-hard gamers, or those who just want to focus on cosmetics.

In fact, Andy also mentioned during the GDC that there are plans to add more exploration and environment puzzles, but that’s not the only thing the development team has planned: the line, though. What is currently available for Zenith is only about 10% of what we want to offer our players.

Given that Zenith has already received a solid response from the Upload VR review in its current early access status, it’s worth considering what could provide 90% additional content. Creating an MMO is no easy task, and many developers have failed to break down barriers to growing a small business sustainably.

Tsen hopes that they can continue to grow and overcome the challenges involved in creating and maintaining an expansive MMORPG. “We have big investors, we have a positive cash flow, but the next big question is how can we scale it while maintaining the culture that has brought us this far.”

Zenith: The Last City is available on Quest, Steam and PlayStation Store.

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