Lauren and I (Andy) are working on Zenith, a VR MMO that also runs on non vr desktops.

You can see some very early prototype footage here.

Zenith is a massively multiplayer online metaverse where millions of players can adventure together in a gorgeous anime inspired world.

We're building this game because we really really wanted to play it, and nobody else was doing it. Games like Final Fantasy, and Chrono Trigger, and more recently Nier Automata, were a huge influence of ours growing up. We're also obviously fans of Snow Crash, Ready Player One.

Although Zenith is the most immersive in VR, it is also going to feature a desktop mode. Zenith supports crossplay between Desktop and VR. We hope to launch on Oculus Quest, Rift, HTC Vive, Index, and PSVR.

We have experience on our team from Oculus, Unity, Google, Apple, Cisco, and other gaming startups and currently are at a team size of 8 and have seed funding from some of the best investors in the world. Obviously we'll need a bigger team to realize the full vision, but our current team size will allow us to build the prototype and gameplay necessary to get more investors on board.

We are using Spatial OS and Unity which allows us to focus on content creation rather than server programming.

We currently have a Discord of about 2000 people here and you can signup for updates here -- we will also be running a Kickstarter starting next week. We have working prototypes and our last game was a finalist for Unity MP and VR game of the year.

Proof

Comments: 119 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

supjeremiah22 karma

Hello fellow epic gamers! :~)

I have a several questions so feel free to pick and choose!

  1. Do you plan on adding more headsets as options post launch? I currently have a Samsung Odyssey Plus and last I checked you weren't currently testing for it.

  2. How do you plan to combat cheesing combat? Such as rapid fire bow attacks, or rapid fire slashing. I know you have particular swing patterns that must be hit in order for the skill to activate, but do you plan on having any internal cooldowns for those?

  3. How much do you plan on taking inspiration from SAO? Will there be combat bonuses for rotating attacks between party members? AKA the "Swap" mechanic seen in the first arc of SAO.

  4. Is housing planned and to what degree? Wildstar had the most amazing housing system in an MMO and seeing something like that in VR would be amazing.

4b. If you got a working housing system done early would you consider releasing a precursor to the actual game that essentially acts as a VRchat, but using the housing system. This will allow a community to form prior to launch and form lasting bonds between players.

  1. Zenith is being built for desktop simultaneously. Do you worry that VR users may feel obliged to play desktop for efficiency reasons?

  2. How involved do you foresee the gearing process being? I love that in SAO, Kirito had to face a Dragon in order to craft a sword that would end up lasting him the rest of the game. Will we see epic opportunities such as this in game or do you think you'll take a more traditional approach of X bosses have X loot tables.

I have so many more questions but I'm sure I'll be bothering you guys in discord as we get closer!

nagaVRCat18 karma

We will support SteamVR which theoretically should support your Odyssey Plus -- we just aren't testing on all HMDs.

Until You Fall is probably a good example of the "type" of gameplay we're going for. Internal cooldowns will be expressed more like "timing" as in you can keep slashing but if you don't time it correctly it'll be negligible

Combat bonuses would be awesome! SAO kind of just ripped that from ff11 back in the day anyways lol. I could definitely see stuff like that, but we are all about balancing the core mechanics before expanding to things like that.

Housing is planned - when? Depends.

The Desktop version of the game will be feature different classes.. imagine it as a window into the same world but with different gameplay styles more suited for desktop, instead of a port of the same classes over.

Bosses will have loot tables for sure, but there might be additional modifications around that that we would announce later on. I would just stayed tuned there

Crafting will be a big component of the game -- not ready to announce more on that front.

One thing to note is though we are hugely inspired by anime like SAO, it's not going to be SAO. Zenith will have it's own unique influences from the hundreds of games we've beaten and played over the years, since we were children.

wanderingmagus10 karma

Assuming that cross-platform play is an option, how will you balance mouse-and-keyboard advantages against VR players, especially in PvP? A M&K player being able to turn 360 with a single flick of the wrist and noscope someone, while a VR player having to physically turn much slower and aim, seems unfair and unbalanced.

Additionally, there has been a lot of suggestions on the Discord server from the community about a desire to implement interactive crafting and a player-driven economy, with crafts requiring controller motions and players being able to set up shops rather than rely on NPCs and a universal auction house. Are there any existing plans regarding crafting and economy?

Finally, there's been some debate about the general "theme" of the game, since it has been described as "anime-inspired" and "cyberpunk", while incorporating traditional elements like swords and magic. Are there any plans to have themed areas, or places in the world that aren't necessarily high-tech oriented? You've described the world as "Ghibli-inspired", what did you mean by that?

nagaVRCat2 karma

VR and Desktop play will feature different types of gameplay mechanics so..would not worry too much about competing between the two platforms

I'd love to do a interactive crafting system -- however, I don't want to make any promises there yet. The first and foremost important thing is to create a compelling resource/crafting/recipe loop and then use the physicality and minigames to make it more fun

Outside areas will feel more miyazaki-inspired. There will be more pastoral open scenes.

mackpack9 karma

Will it be 100% science based? Will there be dragons?

nagaVRCat2 karma

Science based dragons duh

CrookedToe_9 karma

I was wondering with such a small indie team how you plan to implement an ai that allows your offline player to go on quests with other people? Do you have someone dedicated to that or is it just a cross that bridge when we get to there kind of thing.

nagaVRCat4 karma

We don't have a team dedicated to that yet -- but the point I want to make here is that I don't anticipate our team staying this small forever.

Kalman987 karma

I'm interested in how healing/support characters will work. It is my understanding that there will be various classes that can slot skills to take on any role they would like. In general, will healing be the generic "activate skill and everyone nearby gets X healing", or will it be more active and involved than that (which is what I'm hoping for)?

I am a big fan of support classes that aren't necessarily healing as well, giving buffs and debuffs, and generally manipulating the combat to turn in your party's favor, à la Shiroe of Log Horizon. Are there any plans to have this playstyle be available eventually?

I am heartily looking forward to this game's release. Thanks for hosting this session for us!

nagaVRCat2 karma

We definitely want healing to be more of an active effort. One good example of a mechanic we exploring for example is Overwatch's Mercy's healing beam, which forces you stay stay within LOS of the character.

There will probably still be auras and the like that are more passive and easy to activate but that'll be mixed in with more visceral healing abilities

ZombieKidProductions5 karma

Hey, Zenith crew! On the Discord, a lot of the community members have been making suggestions to the game.

How many of those suggestions are you considering for Zenith? Do you happen to have any specific suggestions in mind that you'd want to talk about?

nagaVRCat6 karma

we really love all the activity on suggestions from the community! To be honest, we probably won't implement most of them, but we will read all of them. Ultimately we need to build the game that we believe in (with feedback from the community) but we don't want to throw in the kitchen sink. The more upvotes something gets, the more likely we are to take a look at the ideas more in detail but even that doesn't guarantee anything.

Reddoons4 karma

Hi, I am very interested in this project, the only reason I haven't backed it is due to the lack of shown content, however what I have been shown looks quite interesting. I do have a few questions that I wanted to ask.

  1. So as we saw by the early combat footage, will the combat only be the pattern "beatsaber" based, or can the play freely swing in whichever motion they want and hit the enemy and do damage? It feels a little weird to make it solely patterns and rythm imo.
  2. The economy, since we all know that in mmos the economy is one of the biggest interesting factors and could either break the game or keep it stable. Is there any idea for a supply and demand type of economy?
    1. 2a Will there be limited resources in the world perhaps? or needs to take time to regen?
    2. 2b Will players be able to start shops in the world to try to make a in game living for themselves?
  3. As another person asked, housing and land. Will players be able to buy property in the game?
    1. If yes, what will the purpose of these properties be? Private lounge? Storage? Crafting space?
    2. Will there be some sort of property that we can buy and perhaps rent out to some other person? Or maybe will we be able to place down some sort of building?

P.S I know these questions are very long term into development mostly, but I thought it would be best I ask since I am thinking about backing the game.

Thank you and keep up the good work!

nagaVRCat4 karma

  1. It won't be beat saber based only -- that was a really early prototype, for the melee combat look at something like "Until You Fall" we had no idea they were doing something similar (but single player) when we started working on this, but that's a much closer comparison

There will be resources that take time to regen. Shops depending on how much we can raise from investors and our kickstarter

  1. Housing property will eventually be available, however, not necessarily at launch - Private Lounge, Storage and possibly more.

Thanks

Brismannen3 karma

considering mmo's are extremely labour intensive games to make and maintain, how manny additional workers over your now 8 do you feel is enough to make all your plans a reality?

How will you finance the game post launch?

lastly, you linked what you call yourself some very early prototype fotage and also claim that you have a working prototype, and in the comments of your linked post, you write that "its just something i whipped together real quick for fun". what is the actuall progress of the game right now? How far have you progressed since the video you recently posted?

nagaVRCat3 karma

Expansions, possibly subscriptions, cosmetics, etc. will never be p2w and early adopters will never pay subscription fees

ViolaUniverse3 karma

Hey! Will there be any form of pay2win in the game?

nagaVRCat4 karma

never

DynatrixGaming3 karma

Will you be accompanying suggestions made by other Zenitheans? How much have you already add into the "must add" list?

nagaVRCat1 karma

That question was answered above, but it really depends on how well the idea jives with our game design. I can say that the modular class system for example was inspired by a Zenithean.

Bubba66893 karma

Hey! Thanks for doing this guys! I've got a broad question for ya;

What will kickstarter tiers have? What is that "thing" people may want to by the $$$ option rather than the $ (cheaper) option?

(Edit) also! What graphics card will be suggested? The demo seems beutiful!

Thanks again Yell0w0s!

nagaVRCat1 karma

It should run on a basic graphics card, between 980 to 1060 i would say. The demos you guys are seeing are definitely not optimized yet, but they are running rift and in engine on our development computers.

WilliamVal13 karma

Hi!

i was wondering if there's gonna be different classes, and what they might be?

also what kind of weapons there will be?

nagaVRCat2 karma

We recently revealed our first mage class https://mailchi.mp/1344bbb69bfe/introducing-our-first-class-the-essence-mage

We also have a melee class we're prototyping but we haven't talked much about that except for showing the footag.e

lowghost20182 karma

Are the classes in game going to have assigned genders or can you choose the gender?

nagaVRCat4 karma

You can choose.

ViolaUniverse2 karma

Will there be vr and non vr crossplay? Or only between vr headsets

nagaVRCat1 karma

There will be Cross Play between VR and Non VR

Anreill2 karma

Would you please describe your current thoughts on monetization strategy in detail?

nagaVRCat4 karma

One price at launch -- anyone who backs the kickstarter will get the game free forever, (still might need to buy expansions later on). Later on we might switch to subscription but kickstarter and earlier backers will not have to pay subscription.

We aren't ruling out different monetization strategies however it will NEVER be P2W.

susara862 karma

I am super excited to support your project! I missed the early backer but I see the kickstarter starts next week. What time should it be up? (Eastern?)

nagaVRCat1 karma

We're hoping sometime in the AM next Monday but the time might change depending on how much more work we are doing.

videovillain2 karma

Most of my other questions have been answered so I’ll ask: - is there any influence from .hack? (The anime, which was kind of like the original SAO) - anything like the way original SWG worked where you could sit in a cantina watching entertainers and get bonuses that last and the entertainers could make money and gain xp?

nagaVRCat2 karma

No influence from Hack although I’ve heard that before!

itsbhenry2 karma

A few questions:

  1. Could you shed more light on the locomotion system? How will it function? Is there anything available currently that resembles it?
  2. How do you guys plan to implement skills?
  3. Will character customization be in depth?

nagaVRCat2 karma

Typical free locomotion you might see for those that don't get VR sickness.And an out of body locomotion system for people that do get sick (kinda like the VR chat version of movement, but with more affordances and based on joystick control)

SincerePuppet162 karma

Two questions. I know you said very early development, but do you guys have a planned year for the release? The game sounds great and I really want to get my hands on it. Second of all, do you guys have an idea on pc spec requirements?

nagaVRCat2 karma

sometime in late 2020 is when we plan on going EA.

x-Sage-x1 karma

uh... who's kidney do i have to sell to get myself on a list of potential players / early adopters?

nagaVRCat2 karma

Kickstarter is coming next week on Monday!

Skoot991 karma

Any chance we could see this on PlayStation VR in the future? Maybe if things go well on PC?

nagaVRCat2 karma

yeah just going through the approval process with Sony right now

ViolaUniverse1 karma

Will your housing system be in the same style as final fantasy online? With multiple housings some only achievable as a guild house etc?

nagaVRCat1 karma

it's way too early for us to comment on the specifics of player housing yet. I can say it will be less static than FFXIV but that's about it.

SamsonIsMyFriend1 karma

Any opportunity for PVP in your game?

nagaVRCat2 karma

There will be PVP but probably not at launch, (soon after, though) we haven't announced any of the PVP modes

Jakko13021 karma

What will the more expensive Kickstarter teirs get me? Just cosmetics or more gameplay access in the pre-alpha? What will the Kickstarter prices be?

nagaVRCat1 karma

You'll need to stay tuned for those since we're still working on them

Sraiko1 karma

i have question for the server plans are they gonna be Na_East, Na_West Eu, etc?

nagaVRCat2 karma

It depends on the performance and throughput we can get. As with an MMORPG, its best to have it fit on one massive server, as smaller indies, thats probably what we'll start off with. But as the world grows we'll need to shard the serveers

iDigitalBlockz1 karma

How much classes do you plan to have in the game? And will there be any crafting mechanics in order to create new weapons, for example a craftable item a boss can drop which can then be crafted with another item in order to create a weapon that isn’t available to buy?

nagaVRCat2 karma

There will be craftable items in the game that can only be obtained via crafting. At least 3 classes at launch, but each class will be highly varied based on the loadout you choose for them.

MCalchemist1 karma

Thank you for doing this ! Any word on the status of your PSVR SDK application?

My other question is about cross play and if you think this is a must have for your game's success?

nagaVRCat1 karma

we're still in process with playstation.