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Resolution Games, the VR game studio started by Tommy Palm of Candy Crush Saga fame, has launched Bait!, a new free-to-play fishing game for the Samsung Gear VR virtual reality mobile headset. Bait! is one of a variety of games that Resolution Games is creating to lure gamers into VR.
Stockholm, Sweden-based Resolution Games raised $6 million from Google Ventures and others for projects that explore new experiences that VR makes possible. And the fishing game is one of the first real products that the team has created for VR, which could be a $30 billion market by 2020, according to tech advisor Digi-Capital.
“We think of it as a fishing adventure game,” Palm said in an interview with GamesBeat during the Game Developers Conference last week. “It’s a highly visual, immersive app that is very relaxing.”
Palm was the former “games guru” at King Digital Entertainment, and he got part of the credit for the enormous success of Candy Crush Saga. He left last year and announced his new company in May 2015.
“It took about six months to make this,” Palm said. “We have experimented with other platforms, but the Gear VR is the one we are launching on.”
In the fishing game, the team minimized the amount of movement in the game to avoid motion sickness, a common problem in VR games.
Palm was one of the pioneers of mobile games, but he sees VR having a faster ramp. Mobile gaming, he said, had to wait for infrastructure to develop such as payments, localization, and distribution. Some of these things are already in place for VR, as it is one more digital platform. Palm likes to create games that have a mass market appeal, or titles that can appeal to everyone from avid gamers and VR enthusiasts to anglers and nongamers alike.
“Fishing is something people can relate to,” he said.
I tried out the game, which Palm said the game is more than a simple fishing simulator. It provides a diverse, story-driven experience with visually rich environments and plenty of fish to collect throughout. Gameplay spans four different lakes, each with a distinct style and varying fish species that lure you in. You don’t need to use any controllers to play Bait!. You simply look at the place where you want to cast your line. Then you tap the side of the Samsung Gear VR headset. The line is cast. Then you just wait.
When a fish takes your hook, you can see it happen. Then you tap your headset to hook the fish. After that, you have to continue tapping at the right cadence to keep reeling in the fish. If the fish image turns red, then you have to stop tapping or the line will break. That adds more excitement to the experience of reeling in a fish. When you land the fish, you find out what kind it is. In the bait shop, the store owner gives you various missions, like catching a rare fish. I started catching fish within a minute of trying the game. It was easy to learn and play.
You could view this kind of game as pretty boring. But there’s a reason people fish. It is relaxing and slow paced. You get a bit of a thrill when you find out what kind of fish you’ve caught. The graphics are beautiful, and the game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second.
“It was perfect for me on the plane over here,” Palm said.
The story may help keep people engaged. In the story, players are transported to Bait! Island to help their boss catch a rare fish as they try to save the faltering aquarium where they work. Bait! is free and available now for Samsung Gear VR users in the Oculus VR Store.
“It’s amazing. Bait! had an almost instantaneous relaxation effect. Once you get started and cast your first line, everything else in life disappears and you’re truly in the moment – I bet my pulse even went down,” said Maarten Noyons, founder of IMGA (International Mobile Gaming Awards). “I got the game within minutes, and could have spent hours chasing down all the different species and experiencing the different lakes.”
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