One of the cool things about virtual reality is how it offers us a new perspective on existing genres within gaming. Its immersive nature can impact different styles of gaming and developers will continue to experiment with this idea as the Meerkat Gaming team is doing. Matt Rodwell and the team at Meerkat are adding a new coat of paint to the classic arcade style with their new game, Special Delivery, taking inspiration from age-old classics.
We spoke with Rodwell via email about the game.
Special Delivery tasks you with maneuvering through a neighborhood on your bike while tossing newspapers onto doorsteps and into mailboxes, much like the classic Paperboy. That’s not exactly where the idea started, though, as Rodwell explains.
“The original idea for Special Delivery came from working on the upcoming mission system for our Early Access burglary sim, Klepto,” he says. “I had an idea for a series of ‘reDelivery’ missions where you, the thief, go around the neighborhood stealing newspapers and re-delivering them to your own customers.” The idea got the team thinking about Paperboy and even other classics like Crazy Taxi, Road Rash, and Sonic when it came to spitballing gameplay ideas for Special Delivery.
Paperboy’s popularity has even permeated into other mediums, making appearances in the films Wreck-It Ralph and Pixels. Both films were thick with their admiration and nostalgic nods to classic video games so it’s no surprise Paperboy found a place in each. Paperboy as a game is a timeless classic that thrived on its simple controls and arcade play, both things that could translate well to the VR arena.
Rodwell has been working on the game’s concept and game design document for the past few months, but it’s only been in active development for about a week. If you take a look at the screenshots, GIFs, and video, it already has a distinct visual and gameplay style that the team is hard at work iterating on for specific modes.
“We currently have a few different game modes in the works which are all based on a common delivery theme,” Rodwell says. He continued by detailing two modes that are on the drawing board: “Breaking News” that has you working to build a consumer base for the game’s fictional publication, The Oldtown Observer, and a currently unnamed mode where you play as a downtown bike courier racing against the clock to deliver to different business while navigating streets much more hectic than in the previous mode. The former mode’s route expands every seven in-game days and also includes a boss-fight element that involves the rival paper and their delivery service. Nothing is finalized when it comes to game modes, so either of these could change drastically between now and release.
Special Delivery is still in its very early stages, but the team isn’t planning to go an early access route. In fact, once it releases, they’re already planning to put together free post-release content that could include new maps and additional game modes. The team previously has been split between accommodating both their VR and non-VR players with Klepto, but Rodwell declares Special Delivery is “a refreshing break from that struggle as we’re able to focus on making the VR aspect as comfortable, enjoyable, and optimized as we best know how.”
We will continue to follow Special Delivery as it develops and we get hands-on time with the game in the near future.