En Garde: ‘Broken Edge’ Brings Fantasy Sword Fighting to Life on Meta Quest 2

Oculus Blog
November 17, 2022

Sharpen your blade and study your opponent because Broken Edge is here, bringing fantasy sword fighting to life on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro. From developer Trebuchet and publisher Fast Travel Games, this 1v1 title is perfect for swashbuckling duelists and novices alike. You can hone your skills in the dojo or compete head-to-head in the global contest to climb the ranks online.

We spoke with the creator of Broken Edge, Trebuchet Creative Director Guillaume Perreault Roy, to learn more.

How did you get your start in the games industry?

Guillaume Perreault Roy: I used to do Flash games 20 years ago. They were bad but had millions of views!

What brought you to Trebuchet?

GPR: When I met the Trebuchet team, they were working on Jousting Time. I had a great impression of the team, and I thought they would understand the concept of Broken Edge, having approached PvP melee in VR.

What was the inspiration behind Broken Edge? How (if at all) did the game’s premise change over time?

GPR: It came from reflections on the issue of physical feedback (or the lack thereof) in VR: “What if blades could cut each other?” The figure of the epic duel stayed constant, but we added many mechanics to put an emphasis on the blade clashes. We also worked on the immersive aspect by adding a roleplay dimension to the game. We really want the players to feel like empowered warriors in the comfort of their living room.

How long was Broken Edge in development?

GPR: The initial phase (inception, concept, prototype) was in 2019. However, overall the game took two years of development.

Any favorite anecdotes you’d like to share?

GPR: The conclusion of the closed alpha back in July was a pretty memorable moment! We had a “dev vs. players” format, which elevated the stakes to a level that we had not yet experienced: Both the devs and the players wanted to take away the alpha cup. Playing while people cheered and tried to coach their champion over voice chat was an amazing experience!

How did you settle on the art style and color palette for Broken Edge?

GPR: In our initial orientations, we used darkness and contrast, but we reoriented towards our main goals: a distinct and refined aesthetic, clear gameplay, and Meta Quest 2 compatibility.

Players can choose from the Barbarian (massive sword, wild slashes), the Duelist (fine rapier, piercing axis style), the Knight (sword and shield, technical strikes), the Samurai (edged katana with stances, rhythm, and cuts), the Persian (dual-wielding spinning scimitars) and the Tyrant (mighty zweihänder, half-swording). Which is your personal favorite and why?

GPR: That’s not an easy question! I will pick the Samurai because his martial style is very fun and tricky to roleplay (switching from stance to stance). It’s a demanding class with high risk/reward.

What lessons learned from your previous projects like Prison Boss VR did you apply to the development of Broken Edge?

GPR: The paramount importance of coherence in VR (between the virtual and physical world). In Prison Boss, we achieved this by setting the game in a prison cell. In Broken Edge, we use the “mirror movement” mechanic so that it’s always the opponent who closes the distance.

Tell us about your fencing mechanics. How did you go about developing them?

GPR: There are layers of objectives in our fencing mechanics. First, you want to touch your opponent’s body and defend yours: A single hit can cost you the round, so that’s the highest stake. Second, you want to cut your opponent’s blade as deep as you can while preserving yours. By doing that, you exhaust their weapon and gain a massive advantage. Third, you have to adopt the martial style of the class you play, which strengthens your blade. Those are all layers of skills to master through a dynamic progression.

Why was virtual reality the right medium for this game?

GPR: VR is the only medium for this game—almost all your inputs are movements! The concept is built around VR’s strengths and weaknesses. The figure of the duel is iconic, and holding a sword in VR is great! Simulating clashes is an issue, and players may tend to wield and wibble their sword too fast. By tackling those problems, we want to unlock the potential of epic PvP sword fighting.

Who did you work with on the soundtrack and sound design? What was that experience like?

GPR: It’s our second project with Vibe Avenue, so much of the game’s world relies on their work. From my perspective (game design), it was spectacular to observe how the players’ comprehension of the mechanics improved as the SFX feedback was implemented.

What was it like working with Fast Travel Games?

GPR: It was a great help as we can rely on their experience and expertise in VR games releases. They love VR just as much as we do, and it was a great fit right from the start!

What advice would you give to a developer looking to start working in VR?

GPR: Focus on the specificities of VR! Let its immersive potential drive your imagination. There’s still a lot of room for discovery. Also, you need to consider the medium’s issues and work with its limitations (which is an amazing source of creativity).

How do you think VR will continue to change the face of gaming in the next five to 10 years?

GPR: VR is here to stay and grow—the immersive potential is too strong. The main issues (price, user experience, high-value content) will gradually improve, and mass adoption will follow.

What’s next for you? Any exciting updates in the works?

GPR: We have a whole hidden roadmap: new classes, objectives, and game modes. We’re about to enter the phase where the game evolves with its community. It’s our objective to spearhead the genre of PvP melee in VR and to grow with our player base.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

GPR: Picking up a sword and fighting is quite universal. Whatever your age or culture, the odds are that dueling is very instinctive to you. We aim for the ultimate “easy to play, hard to master” gameplay: You start with gameplay that feels natural, and the skills you can develop are limitless. We hope you’ll enjoy playing Broken Edge as much as we loved making it come to life!