Ramen VR, a new indie studio, launched a Kickstarter recently to help fund an ambitious new MMO called Zenith, a game currently being built for both VR and desktop users.
At the time of this writing, the Kickstarter project has secured over $170,500, a far cry from the original $25,000 funding goal proposed when the project launched two weeks ago. There’s still 30 days left until the project comes to a close, with the next stretch goal coming at the $200,000 mark—the promise of more than one playable race at launch.
Zenith is said to head into Early Access sometime in August 2020.
Although the fledgling studio hasn’t publicly shown much in the way of gameplay, the team, which is made up of developers who previously worked on VR multiplayer shooter Conjure Strike, has managed to attract a fair bit of attention in the venture capital space for their efforts, having now secured additional Y Combinator funding of a reported $134,400, according to Crunch Base.
This puts the team’s overall funds to over $300,000 currently, which admittedly pales in comparison to standard MMOs built for PC, which can span into the tens of millions in development dollars. Very few VR games have had the luxury of those sorts of funds, so it will be interesting to see what the team can do on the shoestring budget, or if they’ll be able to attract more VC cash along the way.
Billed as a cyberpunk-themed MMO put into VR, the team says they’ve been inspired by a number of works of fiction including games like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Nier: Automata, anime like Sword Art Online and Castle in the Sky, and books such as Snow Crash, Ready Player One, and Rainbow’s End.
“These worlds were integral parts of our lives but it always felt like we were seeing those worlds through a small window. We’re building Zenith because we want to you to experience living in these worlds,” Ramen VR says.
To bring the game to life, the studio is collaborating with Improbable, the makers behind the cloud platform SpatialOS. This, the studio says, will make it “much easier to build an MMORPG,” and that it will allow them to build a world with “real physics, complex AI, and a landscape that evolves and is shaped by players and NPCs alike.”
Since the studio was founded earlier this year, Ramen VR says they’ve already built seven prototypes of the game, and have been running user playtests with their Discord community for over a month.
Zenith is targeting release on Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, Valve Index, PSVR and desktop PC. The studio maintains all versions of the game will include cross-play.