Hey everyone, we want to kick things off with a bang for our first blog post of 2022! We have some very exciting Pistol Whip and Cloudhead news and we are thrilled to announce that we celebrated the studio’s nine-year anniversary just a few days ago.
In 2013, we were just a handful of people in a garage, not knowing where the next decade would take us. Nine years, multiple innovations, four titles later, we have weathered the VR storm. We have grown and cultivated a deeply experienced team and acquired bedrock knowledge which will help guide our next steps. Check out a fun synopsis of our history here.
New Content from Cloudhead!
Thanks to our broader success, we Are excited to Announce thAt we’ve begun work on new next-gen VR titles with deeper scope and vision! We can’t wait to share more as these projects develop! Our Cloudhead Labs division is also marching ahead with mad experiments, innovative ideas, and an eye on the future of XR.
With these ambitions comes a rapidly growing team full of talented and passionate VR developers, to support multiple projects. We continue to cultivate a FUN, inclusive and diverse work culture, so keep an eye out for our upcoming career opportunities @CloudheadGames.
Pistol Whip to Bring Modding & Contracts!
We’ve heard you, loud and clear – and modding support for Pistol Whip is something our team wants as much as our players do!
Unlike many of the other action-rhythm games in the VR market, Pistol Whip and its scenes (levels) are fairly complex in nature. Whereas with some other games you can easily input your own beats, the experience, the environment remains largely the same. Pistol Whip levels are custom-crafted worlds from beginning to end and we’re building the tools to make that process more approachable.
We are also excited to announce: code name – Contracts, a new upcoming feature which will once again change up the way you play – whether you are new to Pistol Whip or a seasoned action hero. Contracts will allow players to collect brag-worthy rewards by completing specific and time-critical missions!
Pistol Whip is an essential inclusion in every VR game library, and continues to dominate the charts, accumulating numerous awards and accolades. At launch, Pistol Whip’s Arcade Mode showcased 10 heart-pumping scenes and since then we’ve added an additional 20 scenes, two story-driven cinematic campaigns, the Styles system sandbox, weekly challenges, and Party Mode. With the addition of Styles, we’ve seen players post over 2.5 million scores across more than 100,000 unique leaderboards, with over 5,000 unique styles played every week!
You can read more in Pistol Whip’s 2021 round-up further below. And stay tuned for more @PistolWhipVR updates.
We are happy to be here, and we’re just getting started.
Our Favourite Cloudhead Highlights from 2021
The top of the list was our CEO and Creative Director Denny Unger in a fireside Chat with Meta at GDC.
The Future of Gaming: Quality and Connection | GDC 2021 Talk with Meta (Facebook)
Cloudhead CEO and Creative Director Denny Unger joined some notable industry veterans and executives at the Game Developers Conference Showcase in March 2021. He was joined by Meta’s Michael Verdu (Former VP of Content, Facebook Reality Labs), Jason Rubin (VP of Play, Facebook Gaming), and Moderator Dean Takahashi (lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat).
While we couldn’t be there in person, this fireside chat titled The Future of Gaming: Quality and Connection, discussed the evolution of the Oculus Quest Store and Facebook Instant Games platforms, and how they support developers in creating high quality games. Denny shared the studio’s thoughts on the evolution of the Oculus brand and its hardware, as well as how Cloudhead wanted to approach the creation and development of Pistol Whip.
Cloudhead Game Jam
We hosted our first ever game jam in January 2022. This team building exercise allowed us to spotlight the vision, innovation, and expertise of each and every one of our talented team members. Although the projects are only a part of the fun for team-building, it was amazing to see everyone’s talents on display.
Devcom Developer Conference
We were elated to be a part of the 2021 devcom Developer Conference, where our team showcased their expertise and innovation. Check them out here.
- Developing with Purpose: A look at the Pillars behind Award-Winning Pistol Whip
- The Art of Action: A Comprehensive Look at the Art and Inspiration behind Pistol Whip
Game Devs of Color Expo
Shortly after our devcom talks, our Executive Producer, Ed Lago, was a featured speaker at the Game Devs of Color Expo, where he shared more on “The Challenges of Managing a Remote Team Working on a Live VR Product.”
Our Favourite Pistol Whip Highlights from 2021
2021 was a very busy year for Pistol Whip, where we were gearing up for one the biggest updates in the game – ever! Check out these highlights:
Oculus Gaming Showcase – Teaser Trailer
We had the pleasure of being featured at the Oculus Gaming Showcase in April, where we announced the Smoke & Thunder campaign with our teaser trailer!
Pistol Whip OST Vol. 2
We also dropped the second volume of the Pistol Whip Official Soundtrack, featuring a number of our amazing musical artists as well as exclusive Pistol Whip mixes!
You can also read more on what happened in early 2021 in our April Roundup Blog.
Smoke & Thunder + Styles
In August, this is where it all went down – Wild West Style(s). The Smoke & Thunder cinematic campaign launched on the 12th as one of our biggest updates ever! The update included a fully-voiced story-driven campaign, a pulse-pounding star-studded soundtrack, art by Fico Ossio, and the game-changing “Styles” system.
Pistol Whip’s “Styles” system allows players to create an unstoppable action experience with bonus added replayability. You combine your preferred weapon type with up to five modifiers in the scene (level) of your choice, to create a personalized unstoppable action experience! Each unique combination creates a new leaderboard, so you can challenge friends or compete solo to dominate the leaderboard for that Style.
As mentioned earlier, we have seen heroes post over 2.5 million scores across more than 100,000 unique leaderboards, with over 5,000 unique styles played every week.
What’s Your Style?
With the addition of the Styles system, we wanted to see players’ new Styles in action! We were privileged to feature content creator LSToast, as well as some of team Cloudhead in a series of videos. You can check these on socials @PistolWhipVR. If you missed your chance to show off your Style – there will be more where that came from, so stay tuned!
We also had the pleasure of working with our treasured music artists for What’s Your Style! We enjoyed getting to see artists immerse themselves into the game while listening to their own tracks. Artists featured included LeKtriQue, HVDES, Devora, Draeden, and Magic Sword.
2022: The Road So Far
It’s only March, yet so much has already happened for Pistol Whip this year:
- Pistol Whip won Best VR Game (AKA The Jamiroquai) at the inaugural Spawnies Awards in February! You can watch our Executive Producer Ed Lago’s speech here.
- Pistol Whip’s Smoke & Thunder cinematic campaign is nominated for a 2022 Canadian Game Award in the category of Best AR/VR Game!
- And who could forget a little something called… the Encore Update! Launched on February 24, 2022, this was our first update of the year for Pistol Whip. Encore brought with it new scenes, new modifiers and the highly requested new way to play with friends and family in Party Mode! A full breakdown of the Encore update can be found here.
Links seen in this blog
“GDC 2021 | The Future of Gaming: Quality and Connection”, YouTube, Meta Quest, https://youtu.be/Uh5186NQQYA
“devcom 2021 Playlist”, YouTube, Cloudhead Games, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5rP3znsgewQ3Jc7yT9meDyR3GwMHVK4s.
“Game Devs of Color Expo”, Official Website, https://www.gamedevsofcolorexpo.com/.
“Pistol Whip – Smoke & Thunder Teaser | Oculus Quest, PC VR, PSVR”, YouTube, Cloudhead Games, https://youtu.be/cK8KkNTHKKY
“Pistol Whip – Everything New in Pistol Whip | Oculus Quest, PC VR, PSVR”, YouTube, Cloudhead Games, https://youtu.be/7sDWGXp_0qc
“The Spawnies Awards, Best VR Game”, Instagram, Cloudhead Games, https://www.instagram.com/tv/CZc8JwYKlTu/
“The Canadian Game Awards, Best AR/VR Game”, Official Website, https://cgameawards.ca/announcing-the-canadian-game-awards-2022-nominees/
“Join the Party in Pistol Whip’s Latest Update, Encore!”, Meta Quest Store, Pistol Whip, https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/developer-post/1327685751064813/