Camouflaj Tests Quest 3’s Power For Batman: Arkham Shadow

Developers at Camouflaj are spending a “decent amount of the CPU and the GPU” of Quest 3 to render real-time shadows “at a crisp level” for Batman: Arkham Shadow.

Camouflaj founder Ryan Payton told UploadVR he asked someone to bring in an Xbox 360 to the office with a copy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and “I said, how are they doing that? That’s an Xbox 360. Clearly the Quest 3 is many times more powerful than this.”

“Given the themes of the game, the noir aspect of Batman, the moodiness, and just how cool it looks to have real time shadows in VR, it was one of those few times on this project where I basically got in front of the team and I said, there’s no room for failure here. We have to deliver on shadows, and we gotta do the work,” Payton said. “And they did the work.”

Quest 3 Exclusive Batman: Arkham Shadow Story Trailer Reveals Gotham Threat
Batman: Arkham Shadow dropped a new cinematic trailer for the Quest 3 VR action-adventure, detailing Gotham’s latest threat.

A new story trailer just debuted showing the overall narrative background for Batman: Arkham Shadow. Release is slated for later this year, lining up the title for high expectations from not just current Quest 3 buyers but also prospective Quest 2 to Quest 3S upgraders as well.

A Meta-acquired studio focused on delivering real-time shadows via the XR2 Gen 2 chipset to make you feel more like Batman in an Arkham game ends up being a high-profile test of Meta’s long-term strategy in VR, particularly in contrast to PSVR 2 adding PC support and Apple Vision Pro all-in on hand tracking.

Payton said that while Camouflaj worked on the project for four years, the game didn’t have real-time shadows until 2022. Now, there are shadows from Batman, enemies, and the environment. How exactly did that feel to see in headset for the first time?

”Magical,“ Payton said. “When we turned on the shadows, and the team warned me that the framerate was gonna dip at that time, they had this hallway in one of the earlier environments of the game, and they put a light behind me, and pretty early in the game, there’s an enemy…it’s one of the rat cultists enemy types at the end of this hallway. And I’m, me, Ryan, as Batman, I’m casting a shadow onto this long hallway, onto this enemy, who’s screaming, ‘Oh no, it’s the Batman!’ This is amazing.”

Payton adds:

“The wish fulfillment of Batman: Arkham Shadow in large part is the feeling like you are Batman in the suit. So that’s why…seeing Batman cast a shadow onto the environment is an important aspect, but also looking down and seeing that it’s not just floating hands, it’s the full suit. It’s the gauntlet. You look down, you can see the batarang slot on your chest, your legs. The team has done a great job to remind the player that when they look down they look like Batman, they feel like Batman.”

Camouflaj’s previous title, Iron Man VR, holds a spot on our list of the best games on Quest headsets.

“Whether it was with our previous title or now it’s with Arkham Shadow, a meaningful, deep story that takes these characters that you embody and you go into pretty dark places, the more I can connect the player and make them believe that they’re Batman, the more of an impact some of these pretty heavy story moments are gonna have on them.”

What can Camouflaj say about the length of the game in Batman: Arkham Shadow?

“We don’t know exactly the final run time of it, but I can say that the game is bigger, longer, more feature rich than our previous title, Iron Man VR,” Payton said. “All told, we’ll have about four years on this project, we’re really aiming for the game, from a content and length perspective, to be as close as we can get to Arkham Asylum. I don’t know if we’re going to get there, but the structure of the game is also very Arkham Asylum inspired. What I can say with confidence is that we’re going to land somewhere between Iron Man VR and Arkham Asylum in terms of length.”

Payton says they’ve taken inspiration from Beat Saber and Superhot as well, so we’re extremely curious to see how the combination of precision-tracked controllers and haptic feedback feel when we go hands-on. Arkham Shadow is due out later this year with more details at Gamescom in August.

“I think with Batman: Arkham Shadow we have an incredible opportunity to introduce many more people into the world of VR,” Payton said. “Even though it sometimes can feel difficult as you’re trying to chain combos and do counters and jump into a special combo and take down, you know, 12 enemies in one big chain and you just can’t believe that you just pulled that thing off? We’re fully translating that into VR, but in a way that is still friendly for most players.”