Getting Onward on Oculus Quest was a ‘Crazy’ but ‘Essential’ Process Says Dev

Yesterday VRFocus revealed several new screenshots for the upcoming Oculus Quest version of military shooter Onward. In the run-up to the launch Downpour Interactive’s CEO, Dante Buckley had a few minutes to spare to discuss this anticipated port.

Buckley originally confirmed work had begun on the port a couple of weeks after the launch of Oculus Quest in 2019 and noted it wasn’t a simple endeavour: “It’s been a crazy process having to pretty much rewrite the whole game, in a way. Checking out every aspect of it, whether it’s memory, textures, shader code, sound effects, art, all kinds of things. We’ve been able to manage to pull together something that looks really good and is comparable to PC. It’s been a hell of a journey for us.”

The PC version is still in Early Access and while he wouldn’t say when that was likely to end when asked whether developing for Oculus Quest has seen the PC edition benefit Buckley commented: “Yes, definitely. From the get-go, we realised we’re going to do a lot of work for this thing on the Quest to make it run. Luckily with this, we’ve been able to optimise for low end on Quest. Every change we made on Quest we would update it to PC immediately.

“It’s an exact port in the sense that we have the same maps, the same gameplay mechanics, there’s no feature on PC that’s not on Quest, the only thing is that PC does look a bit better of course. In terms of overall gameplay, they’re exactly the same.”

Onward for Oculus Quest may not have the graphical fidelity of the PC version but there’s one aspect in which the standalone headset does shine: “One thing and this is a positive actually for the Quest is not having to worry about that wire, especially for a game like Onward where you need to go prone or crouch quickly and stand back up and turn corners,” explains Buckley. “When you’re constantly reminded of having a wire you’re not as free to move and win the game. Especially going from prone to standing, if you gotta get up real quick to run because someone threw a grenade around the corner it’s so easy to step on your cord, yank your head, you’re always cautious of doing those things. With Quest you’re free.”

Like many developers, Buckley is highly enthusiastic about Oculus Quest and its potential for not only Onward but the industry as a whole. “We realised that getting on Quest, really for any studio, is essential to a studio’s life,” he states. “It’s the next generation, it’s affordable, people like it because its wireless, I think PC VR will always be around but ultimately wireless and mobile VR will be the future. So figuring out a port and getting on this platform is essential for any studio that wants to grow and to really build a company that can make money off of VR because there’s a lot more people on standalone VR. Just sticking to PC is not the way to go. I’d say if you’re a developer get on Quest if you want to be a big player in VR, it’s worth doing.”

Onward will be hitting the standalone headset on 30th July, with PC cross-play support. VRFocus will continue its coverage of the videogame in the run-up to launch.

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