Unbound Fighting League (UFL) is gunning to be the first real virtual reality fighting game.
The project is being developed by Sandbox VR and has recruited two notable members of the Fighting Game Community. Eliver ‘Killer Kai’ Ling, who is best known for his skill in Marvel vs Capcom games and his propensity to power up by taking off his shirt mid-match. And Anthony ‘Crackfiend’ Nguyen, who is best known for his skill in Street Fighter titles and the ability to cook up mouthwatering barbecued meats.
They both were gracious to share some time to talk about their upcoming project, the VR fighting game: Unbound Fighting League.
What’s your involvement with this project?
Eliver: When UFL was getting ready to launch, a friend of mine on their marketing team reached out to me knowing about my experience in the FGC. They were looking to run tournaments and events and hoping to get more players interested, so I was brought on as a consultant to make sure these events ran smoothly as well as to make sure our local scene was aware that UFL exists.
Anthony: I was scoped out for my previous work in the FGC by this company called Sandbox VR. During the interview process, the big topic of discussion was to have a major focus on building communities and creating new opportunities. Since we were aligned in that esports was not possible without communities that drive our games, we came to a mutual agreement to work on this project together. Now I am the Product Evangelist for Unbound Fighting League.
What’s your own vision for the game?
Anthony: My vision for the game is that it would become its own product in which people could just walk into a UFL facility and play pick-up games or “fights”. People should be able to come and go as they please to improve their physical abilities in a digital world, a new-school arcade so to speak. What I love about fighting games is that we learn about ourselves and each other through combat, and I believe that UFL will take that to another level by having our bodies become the controller.
How do you think UFL will fit in with the general FGC and in the tournament scene?
Eliver: We ran one tournament already with entrants coming mostly from the So Cal FGC. Everyone had a great time and like any other fighting game, we were all discussing strategies and meta development. I think the most telling result that happened was Reynald winning the tournament. So think about this: while he does work out regularly, the guy who won the whole thing wasn’t necessarily the most athletic. He was a seasoned world champion fighting game player who applied that experience into a new type of environment. When it comes down to it, this is still a fighting game at the very core and I think the members of the FGC will have a lot of fun with it when they get a chance to try.
Anthony: I think that in general, this would be a great fit with the FGC because it’s still a fighting game at the end of the day. Being athletic can give some advantages, but not enough of an advantage where it’s a requirement to be the winner. It is still fundamentally a fighting game at the end of the day, which leads me to believe that it would thrive well in the tournament scene.
What challenges are you facing with developing a game like this?
Anthony: I think our biggest challenge is with making this a fit for gamers who have physical disabilities. It is certainly one of our biggest challenges, but a challenge I think our team would relish in trying to resolve. If someone couldn’t naturally walk, it would be incredible to put them into a virtual environment that allowed them to feel like they are walking or running. This is a dream, but virtual reality allows us to turn these types of dreams and ideas into reality.
What do you want potential players to know about the game?
Eliver: The game is an incredible experience like nothing I’ve ever tried before. Upon hearing about it the first time, I was pretty skeptical since most VR experiences I’ve tried, while visually appealing, were rather limited. On top of that, I would get motion sick on games with a lot of moving around. So when I was told about this being a VR fighting game, I kept my expectations low. When I tried it, I was blown away. Ultimately, all I can really say is try it and see for yourself!
Anthony: I want players to know that first and foremost: this game is mad fun. Since your body is the controller, there are limitless possibilities in how you can approach a battle. Weaving with your head and body, side stepping, 360 sword swipes, these are all possible in Unbound Fighting League. I want players to know that our team at Sandbox VR wants to make this right not just for the FGC, but the entire world. TLDR: If this sounds like your schtick, hit me up and I’ll book you into a session.
To find out more about Unbound Fighting League, be sure to check their Twitter here.