An Interview with… Wolf and Wood
Gateshead gaming company Wolf and Wood, specialises in making virtual reality (VR) games and is currently gearing up to launch one of its biggest titles on a new platform after its game was picked up by PlayStation VR.
Gateshead is fast becoming a regular stomping ground for independent games studios. We caught up with Wolf and Wood Founder and Creative Director, Ryan Bousfield at their new HQ in PROTO. Here Ryan tells us more about the beginnings of the games company, plans for the future and what it’s really like to be based in the North East.
When and why did the company set up?
I’d started making small game demos as a side-line because it was a good way improve my skills while exploring something different to the commercial work I had at the time. The initial demo released was a VR (Virtual Reality) horror called A Chair in a Room, a short story about a missing girl in which you had to find clues with your very faulty torch. It gained the interest of some big YouTubers whose videos were taking the little 5-minute demo to an audience of millions. This gave me the confidence to go it alone and make a full game, it took about a year without sleep, but I launched the full 3-4 hour version of A Chair in a Room on SteamVR in April 2016. Wolf & Wood have since grown from just me to form a small team and recently released our second game The Exorcist: Legion VR.
What do you specialise in?
We focus specifically on VR games and experiences but to do that we have a broad range of skills. Writing code and producing artwork is the foundation but we handle 100% of the project in-house, so this includes additional skills such as writing, animation and music production for example. There’s four full time and one-part time at present so we each take on a few different roles as required.
What game are you most proud of and why?
It’s always the next one. We love the previous ones, but we learn from them and aim to make something bigger, faster and stronger for the next one. We’re not saying too much about the next one just yet except it’s a step away from horror and we’re all having a great time playing the early version.
What’s next for emerging tech in games?
In VR the next big change comes with the new breed of headsets such as the Oculus Quest, these are completely self-contained and free of wires but track your position just as well as any top end PC headset would. They’ve been likened to VR consoles which I think is a good way of looking at it.
Do you have any exciting news to tell?
We’re currently in the process of porting A Chair in a Room: Greenwater to PlayStation VR, this is expected to be out in the new year and beyond that, the new game I mentioned earlier is due out on SteamVR and Oculus in spring 2019 but to be announced yet.
What are your thoughts on PROTO: The Emerging Technology Centre?
It’s good for a lot of reasons but for us, it gives a small team a fighting chance against larger companies. For example, all the music so far has been recorded at home, this comes with its problems, so to have access to a soundproof recording studio offers so much more potential. Hopefully the next soundtrack won’t have my cat knocking things over in the background.
What is a common misconception about the North East in your opinion?
I don’t think people know exactly how much goes on up here, living here we think we have a good idea, but it’s still surprising to find out that a big IP game was made just up the road.
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