A VR Climbing Game Like No Other
Based in Albany, NY
Don’t Look Down
The robot you created has betrayed you and taken over your fortress at the summit of a mountain. In order to stop his evil plan, you need to overcome the traps and enemies that GearHeart has placed in your path. Can you make it to the top and save the world?
Catapult Games is an independent game studio with 3 full-time developers. They are focused on the incredibly immersive potential of virtual reality. Their first release is Don’t Look Down, a VR game that has you battling robots as you climb and fling your way up a mountain.
Catapult Games was founded in 2017 by Chris Caulfield and Dane Jennings, after they graduated with their respective degrees in Computer Science and Political Science. They decided to team up to work on a VR game after experiencing the magic of VR when Chris got a PSVR for Christmas in 2016. It was apparent to them that virtual reality was going to change the world and they would have to act fast in order to be on the cutting edge of this emerging technology.
IgniteU and 1st Prototype:
While their respective skill sets were complementary enough, Chris and Dane knew they would need to seek out experience from veterans who had successfully run their own businesses. Specifically, they were looking for insight from those who had started a game studio. Luckily, they made a number of connections with awesome game industry people while getting a crash course in start-up operations at the IgniteU accelerator in Troy, NY. By the end of IgniteU, Catapult Games was an incorporated studio with a working prototype of their VR climbing game.
With Chris handling the coding and level design and Dane crafting the business and marketing plans, the guys decided they needed to hire an artist. When they brought this up with their lead advisor, Sebastian, he mentioned that he knew the perfect candidate. When Sebastian had run a VR hardware company called Ilium VR, he worked with a talented 3D artist named Kolel. They set up the interview with Kolel and had him onboard in no time. With the artistic vision of Kolel, the game began to look more professional. When they pushed an update to Itch.io that included the new environmental design, they saw their game shoot up in the rankings of the most popular VR games.
In the Summer of 2018, Catapult Games was accepted into the REVEAL gaming accelerator based out of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Working closely with game industry professionals and other new studios, they received in-depth training on all aspects of running a videogame company.
Feedback and the VR Industry:
Throughout the development cycle of the game, Catapult Games has continually sought out honest feedback from others. This has taken the form of multiple playtesting parties, industry feedback events with local game companies, and the decision to release the alpha of Don’t Look Down as a free download. Dane attended Oculus Connect in September 2018. It is no surprise that when he met developers from some of the top VR game studios in the world, he asked if they would be willing to playtest Don’t Look Down. Many of them agreed to do so, which has been quite valuable.
The team has held back any updates to the Itch.io build for more than 3 months. Despite this, Don’t Look Down has consistently ranked among the top 3 most popular VR games out of approximately 1,500. In the meantime, they have added new levels, enemies, hazards, hold types, polish, and core revisions. They are now ready to share what they have been working on with a $9.99 USD limited beta release that will initially be exclusive to Itch.io.
Redefining the Cutting Edge of VR
With a small team that is focused on developing the incredibly immersive, accessible, and fun virtual reality content, Catapult Games is poised for success.
In the last year since the studio was founded, Catapult Games:
- Was featured in a Spectrum News Story
- Was interviewed by Game Launch
- Presented at The Business of Digital Games
- Showcased at NYVR, Boston VR, Boston New Tech, and others