The headline might seem a bit confusing at first, so let me explain. Battlerite is an upcoming Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game, or MOBA, from independent developer/publisher Stunlock Studios. It’s the spiritual successor to their previous game, also a MOBA, named Bloodline Champions. Bloodline is a free-to-play game that found a lot of success and popularity — now Battlerite is aiming to expand and improve on that foundation. Rather than relying on just the genre’s existing tropes, the game also introduces top-down shooter mechanics, mixed with standard MOBA melee combat.
Today, Stunlock released a new trailer for Battlerite that not only shows more of the game in action, but also spotlights the upcoming VR Spectator Mode. For those that follow the MOBA scene, you might remember that DOTA 2 also debuted a VR Spectator Mode recently, which is currently active as the enormous International Championship is running.
What makes Battlerite’s spectator mode so interesting, though, is that you’re not just sequestered in a separate room like with DOTA, watching a screen and a map. Instead, you’ll actually take a bird’s eye view of the action with the ability to move around and manipulate the camera angles on the fly. It looks similar to the format for a strategy game such as AirMech, except you’re spectating a MOBA match.
It doesn’t stop there, though, as they’ve created ways for spectators to interact with players. You can throw down flowers into the arena and feel more intimately close to the game itself. The game’s press information page has no problems with making direct comparisons to DOTA 2, either “Trumping DOTA 2‘s Virtual Reality Mode” is a header for one section of the page, for example. It goes on to say, “Swedish game developer Stunlock Studios demonstrate what makes their virtual reality observer a killer experience and superior to the blockbuster games.”
As mentioned in the headline, they’ve actually used this mode to film the latest trailer as well, which is linked above. You can watch a mixed reality version a minute or so into the video that shows Tobias Johansson, Stunlock Studio’s Head of VR, zooming in and out of the map as they record footage. It’s a testament to how versatile the game’s spectator mode aims to be.
“This is a cutting edge filming technique when it comes to recording gameplay footage and we are now working on integrating a VR option into our observer mode,” writes Johansson. “We have this thing we call ‘Pinch-To-Zoom-3D’ that works just like on your smartphone — but in VR. With this function you can zoom in and out without breaking the immersion and flow. We are aiming on throwing you into a virtual colosseum at the final release of the game.”
An approach like this is really unique and it’s something we hope to see more studios consider doing, even if they aren’t built for VR, such as traditional MOBA games. Adding VR Spectator Modes may become more common than you’d expect.
Battlerite is targeting a September 20th Early Access release date for PC.