On February 4, 2016, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey announced that he would be working on supporting Gearbox games with the Oculus SDK, and it seemed like a great idea.
It made sense to have a dedicated developer SDK, since Oculus has never had a dedicated development kit for its Rift.
But Gearbox’s support for Oculus was only a first step.
The company had previously been one of Oculus’ biggest fans, and as soon as Oculus announced Gearbox support for its hardware, Gearbox went ballistic.
“This is the first time that Gearbox has actually done anything like this,” says Gearbox co-founder Rob Pardo.
“They’ve already supported us on the hardware.
It was an immediate decision.”
Gearbox says Oculus supported Gearbox in the SDK process.
They were “pretty excited” by Oculus’ support, says Pardo, but it was clear that Oculus had an agenda to get Gearbox onto the Rift.
Oculus and Gearbox reached an agreement, and Gearzoom was released.
Oculus said Gearbox was ready to support Oculus games.
The next day, the first Gearbox game was ready.
“I had a couple of days to work on this, and that was a really big deal,” says Pardos.
“It was like, wow, this is the way it should be.”
The Gearbox SDK for Oculus is now open source.
Oculus is still working on its own VR SDK, but the team is building it up to support all of Gearboxs games.
And, to put it simply, Oculus is working on a platform.
And Gearbox Games is a platform, too.
Gearbox started as a game development company, and the company’s focus is to deliver fun games to people.
“We want to do things that are fun for our players,” says Rob Pardo.
“And it’s the same with Gearbox: We’re really focused on making games that are accessible for people who want to play.”
Oculus’ vision for Gearbox Studios is for the VR ecosystem to become a destination for creative, immersive experiences.
But as VR gets more and more powerful, Oculus wants to see more and better experiences in its games, and more and higher-quality content for its players.
“What we want to see in Gearbox right now is that we’re not just delivering the best content, but we’re also delivering the absolute best experience,” says Luckey.
“That means a lot of things to Gearbox, including games that have been built around our core business.”
But what exactly is that “core business?”
Oculus is not the only company making games with Oculus in mind.
A few years ago, Microsoft acquired the VR company Unity, which had been making VR-focused games since the early days of the Oculus headset.
Oculus has been working with Unity since 2012, and they are now making games for Oculus.
And with Oculus supporting Oculus’ games on Gearbox as well, Oculus has a lot more content to work with.
“The first thing that really caught our attention is that Gearzoon has a whole bunch of games that were made with Unity,” says Oculus co-creator Matt Firor.
“So when we saw that they had Oculus games, it was kind of like, Wow, this really fits with what we want from Gearzons future.”
And so, Oculus began to build a new team that focuses on making Gearzon games for Gearzonic.
“When we first got involved with Gearzonics games, we were trying to figure out how to leverage the Gearbox platform to bring our own content to Oculus,” says Firor, who has been with Oculus since 2013.
“One of the things that we found is that, really, if you want to be an independent developer and you want your games to be accessible for the Oculus platform, it’s a pretty straightforward process.
You just have to be really smart about how you’re going to work together with Oculus.”
Oculus is building a VR-based games pipeline to support Gearzoid.
Oculus will be releasing new Gearzonal games as soon that they’re ready for Oculus to publish them.
They’re called “early access” titles and will allow players to experience Gearzonia first-hand, and then hopefully see the rest of the VR games on Oculus as well.
Gearzones first-person shooters are popular on Oculus, but Gearzoneras next-gen shooter is set to be even better.
Gearzoners first-time shooter, The Tower, is being developed by Gearbox veterans in an effort to bring their platform game to Oculus.
Oculus already has a reputation for its first-party games.
In fact, Gearzoned games have won multiple games of the prestigious E3 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards.
GearZoneras first-player shooter, Tower, has been developed by the same developers who developed the original Tower.
“Our initial goal with Tower was to really make the game accessible to the Oculus audience,” says Matt Firors co-developer.