First-time VR developer Kerestell Smith’s Early Access Multiplayer game Gorilla Tag has become one of the hottest things in the VR landscape. The seemingly unassuming title has amassed a player base of 675k unique players in the four and a half months since its release. The game has players take the form of an ape as they chase other players around the map with Smith’s novel take on a deceptively simple but nonetheless fun locomotion system.
Kerestell Smith himself is an enterprise software developer with Gorilla Tag being his debut in the game development space. His experience with the competitive scene of the Oculus’s Quidditichesque game Echo Arena had been an inspiration for the game’s locomotion system. In a statement to Road to VR he said, “When you’re doing something like stick locomotion or teleportation, you’re more or less giving orders to a virtual entity. It doesn’t fully feel like you’re present. Like with stick locomotion it feels a lot more like you’re kind of sliding and ice skating around. It doesn’t feel like you’re moving through an environment. When you have to walk with your hands [as in Gorilla Tag], every movement is dependent on how you’re actually moving [in the real world. You’re using your arms like you would be using your feet, so it feels a lot more like you’re actually walking around.”
The game is in its most barebones shape at the moment being in an Early Access title. While the game does boast a robust locomotion system, Smith had taken a minimalist approach when it came to the character design and UI. The parts of the character that the player did not have direct involvement with were removed. “I tried to focus the design as much as possible was on making it feel as grounded as possible,” he says. “You don’t have feet controls in VR, so I took out the legs. You don’t have ring and pinky fingers in most controllers, so I took those out. I didn’t put in any floating menus or UI, everything is grounded in the world.”
Though Smith currently works on Gorilla Tag in his free time, he expects that Gorilla Tag will be leaving Early Access in February 2022 depending on community feedback and response. He has also gone to state the base game will always be free, even in the final version, with players able to purchase cosmetic packs with Early Access Supporter DLC currently available to give players a way to support further development of the game.
Gorilla Tag is currently available on Steam for PC VR headsets and for Quest on both SideQuest and App Lab. The game does have cross-platform support with the Oculus Quest.