“We knew we needed to do something besides being a one-game studio,” Goldstein said. The team had developed a relationship with Oculus’ current VP of content Jason Rubin while he was at THQ, the now-defunct original publisher for Evolve.
After chatting with Rubin at his new Facebook-sponsored digs and finding out what Oculus was looking for, Turtle Rock put together Other Worlds, a quiet, meditative experience that places you inside a trio of gorgeous 360-degree panoramas. It’s not really a game in the traditional sense — you’re stuck in place, for one — but it gave Oculus enough confidence in the studio to let it keep experimenting.
Turtle Rock’s next project, 2016’s Face Your Fears, was a little more traditional. It’s a free-to-play jump-scare game that puts you in situations like a prop plane whose engine started sputtering or a child’s bedroom where malevolent clown dolls fall off bookshelves and closet doors open and slam shut. So far it’s racked up 1.6 million downloads — almost double the number of players Evolve had at its free-to-play peak. That isn’t lost on the team.
Studio co-founder and design director Chris Ashton said that there was pressure to succeed with VR given the Left 4 Dead creator’s AAA lineage. “We’re always proud of the product we deliver, so the expectation was that we would basically go into VR and we would kick ass,” he said.
Which brings us to the team’s latest project, The Well. Throughout our conversation, the team kept referring to The Well as…