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Evgeny Simonov, CEO of XOCUS — Interview Series

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Evgeny, CEO of XOCUS

XOCUS, the VR firm behind the likes of Presentiment of Death, Omega Pilot, and Fighting Clans, has spent the last four years furthering its efforts to conquer the virtual reality space, and is now gearing up to launch its fifth IP. To celebrate the team’s achievements, and to touch base on their upcoming projects, I thought I’d reach out to CEO of XOCUS, Evgeny Simonov, if only to grasp a clearer understanding of its plans for the forthcoming fiscal year.

Before we sink our teeth into the world of VR, tell us a bit about yourself. How did it all start for you as a developer?

Evgeny: I've always been on a quest to learn and grow. Engaging in scientific pursuits, research, defending my dissertation – it's all been part of the journey. I've ventured into launching startups, always finding joy in projects that make a positive impact on society.

Moving on to XOCUS — when was the company established, and how did it all come together?

Evgeny: The VR spark ignited for me in 2018 after attending this mind-blowing presentation by an entrepreneur and visionary Vladimir Zakoulov, a co-Founder of FunCorp, a mobile entertainment developer. But the real decision to dive into VR was made in 2019 after experiencing Quest 1. This wireless device left a profound impression on me, so I know I had to be part of this tech evolution! That’s when XOCUS the company was born, founded in 2019 by three people – me, serving as the main ideas guys for the products, a very talented programmer Roman Skvazh; Vladimir Zakoulov joined as an investor. We all shared the dream of creating a truly standout product in virtual and mixed reality for millions of users.

So tell us, why VR? What was it that drew you to explore this particular area of gaming?

Evgeny: Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by emerging technologies and aimed to create impactful projects using them, so VR just clicked with my love for emerging tech. When I got introduced to it, the energy to create something in this space was off the charts.  I've been a gamer since childhood, so diving into VR games was a natural and super enjoyable move for me. Sure, not everything fell into place at once – there was quite a learning curve, but I’ve been a huge believer in VR, so that has kept me going through the hiccups.

And do you think you’ll branch out to other platforms in the future? Or have you found your niche in the VR field?

Evgeny: Virtual Reality is smoothly evolving into extended reality today, and this transformation is set to continue into the future. We're in a tech era of mixed reality and AI, and combining these is the next big thing. It’s not just about gaming; it’s about changing how we do everyday stuff. We started with VR games, but now we're also moving into XR apps that improve the quality of life.

Your fourth game, Presentiment of Death, launched earlier this year on Meta Quest and PC VR. Could you tell us a bit about it?

Evgeny: Presentiment of Death” is a game where you control time using your weapon. The main concept of this game was to reimagine the mechanics of the SuperHot VR game and provide people with an intriguing experience combined with classical music. I enjoy the atmosphere of this game due to the fusion of music, gameplay, and stylistic locations.

The player controls a character who shoots arrows at monsters appearing from different sides and attacking. The main weapon in the game is a bow, and the speed of time's movement depends on the tension of the bowstring. The game unfolds in slow motion, but as soon as the player draws the bowstring, time accelerates, along with the movement of opponents! The player's task is to accurately assess the situation in slow motion and attack opponents in the right sequence. It’s challenging, but it’s a blast and keeps players on their toes!

Presentiment of Death — Gameplay Trailer

And what about your next game? Care to share any details, or is everything still being kept under wraps?

Evgeny: We are always an open book about our new projects! Our upcoming releases will have magic, enchantment, medieval castles, and mythical creatures defending your castle – everything you’d want from a fairytale immersion! We are also cooking up a physics-based fighting game with wild challenges, and have a new VR racer on the horizon.

Early next year, we will release a game titled “Rock and Roots,” where players will have access to a variety of magic spells and mythical creatures that will assist them in defending their castle. Also in development and set for release in the second quarter of 2024 is “Wicked Game,” a physics-based fighting game that promises exciting combat experiences against bots across various levels with unusual challenges to overcome. In this game, players will be able to actively traverse locations, scale walls, and stairs, leap on trampolines, ascend speedy lifts, and zipline across terrains. 

We are also staying true to our passion for racing, and are currently developing a new VR racing game, which we plan to unveil in early 2024. This game is all about the sense of speed, ramps, and jumps, giving players an unbeatable adrenaline rush. 

Of course, you’ve dabbled in a number of genres over the years. Tell us, what’s next for XOCUS? Can we expect to see any sequels for Presentiment of Death, Omega Pilot, Fighting Clans, or Z-Race?

Evgeny: We are always on the lookout for fresh ideas, and we are not afraid to explore entirely new genres. Personally, I like to keep an open mind. The most important thing for me is that the experience brings positive emotions to people, as we unlock VR tech’s potential in our projects. As for sequels to our games, I don't foresee us doing that in the near future. However, I don't rule out the possibility that someday we might create a game that will have multiple parts!

That being said, we are committed internally to releasing new tracks for Omega Pilot every month or so; this doesn’t count as a new version of the app but does keep our loyal users engaged. As to Presentiment of Death – we’ve been asked by our partners to build a new version with similar game mechanics but with more weapons, monsters, and music tracks. While this sounds exciting, there are so many new things we can experiment with, so this sequel is on the back burner.

Are there any important dates that we should be jotting down in our calendars for next year?

Evgeny: As we are finalizing the exact release dates for new titles next year, the most significant date to mark your calendars with is July 17th, which is the birthday of XOCUS. We are almost 4.5 years old already! 

Time certainly does fly! Any final words for our readers?

Evgeny: We live in an exciting era of technological progress! The future is just being shaped, but at XOCUS, we are all about focusing on adding positive vibes, whether it's through experiencing new games or having amazing moments with unique uses of mixed reality. I believe XR tech is a game changer that will have a revolutionary impact on humanity and how we interact with information. I'm certain that we can harness these technologies for the greater good!

Thanks for your time, Evgeny!


Interested in staying up to date with XOCUS’ latest projects? If so, then be sure to check in with the team over their official social handle here. For more updates, visit the website here.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.