World Wars Toons, one of VR’s earliest hopes for a great first-person shooter (FPS), is no more as developer Studio Roqovan closes its doors.
The company revealed as much last week. World War Toons was a multiplayer FPS. It featured optional VR support set in a cartoonish version of the Second World War. In 2015 Studio Roqovan (then named Reload Studios) raised $4 million to make the game a reality. The game launched in open beta in the US for Sony’s PSVR headset when it released back in 2016. However, the studio removed the game from the PlayStation Store in September 2017. At the time, the developer explained that “increasing difficulty of having both VR and 2D gameplay interacting together began to compromise what we could make at the timeframe we wanted to keep.”
World War Toons never returned to the PlayStation Store. Last September, we reported that Roqovan was partnering with SNK to developer an arcade crossover with the Metal Slug franchise. In a Facebook post last week, Roqovan revealed that the game had now launched in Korean arcades. However, due to issues that “unfortunately could not be resolved” the Metal Slug content has been completely removed. The original World War Toons has been “put to sleep” too.
“Bigger bad news is that Studio Roqovan is no more,” the Facebook post reads. “We really tried our best to make the game happen, but it wasn’t to be.”
The World Wars Toons IP will go to a new company.
Speaking to UploadVR over email, studio CEO James Chung spoke a little about Roqovan’s demise. “Long story short, it just comes down to slow adaptation of VR market’s growth and my failure to bring in enough funding to launch World War Toons properly and do live ops,” Chung wrote. ” We had our game up on PSVR for about 8 months. The main goal was to test gameplay and network issues. So the beta test was limited on the North American region on PS4 alone. We did see healthy amount of downloads initially and internally, we have a version of the game that was improved from this test. But this one was never shown to the public. But the production of this version had to halt due to the funding issue as mentioned earlier.
“We did try to pivot into other unmentioned areas. And doing LBE based games was our attempt to ride through what a lot of people are calling the “VR winter”. But as you pointed out, we could not reveal a lot of what we were building with Metal Slug due to finalizing some of our agreements and it just did not lead to a place where it was reasonable for us to keep pursuing. All the complications lead us to drop Metal Slug IP and focus on World War Toons IP driven game as you saw from our announcement.”
VR’s slow start has made it a difficult market for developers. There’s hopes that new, most accessible headsets might change that as 2019 moves on.