Popular Italian VR developer Antony Vitillo, aka SkarredGhost, talks about his upcoming active mixed reality title HitMotion: Reloaded.

Priding itself as the first mixed reality fitness game, HitMotion and its newest iteration, HitMotion: Reloaded, seek to offer something to Vive Focus Plus players that they sorely lack without native support for titles like BOXVR and Soundboxing. This mixed reality (kick!)boxing title is being worked on jointly between developer Antony Vitillo and an entire team of developers that have recently formed a new studio/development agency called New Technology Walkers. The last time he and I spoke in a formal context, Vitillo was still busy working on one of his experimental Vive Focus apps called Beat Reality. What’s changed since then? Here’s a transcript of our brief Skype call:

“So, catch me up. What is this game called and what is it about? Start me from the top.”

“We made a game called HitMotion years ago. And this is like an elicitation or a modern version of HitMotion. So how the game works, well, you put the headset on your head. Then you see your surroundings, and when you start the game, you see elements popping up around you and you have to punch them with your hands. So it’s a bit like, imagine a bit like BOXVR, but not with elements coming from long corridors. But elements popping up around you immediately. Um, so you have to punch red elements with the red gloves, the blue elements with the blue gloves. Also, you have to dodge elements that will attack you later on in the levels. And so the player has to move in the room to punch this stuff and stay fit in this way.”

“We knew that we wanted to do something that reminded us a bit of HitMotion that was a full body VR game. So you could also kick stuff, punch it, use your pelvis to destroy things. We tried to get some ideas, so we actually made some experiments.” – Antony Vitillo

“Okay, cool. So you said ‘we’. So it’s not just you; it’s a team of people working on this game, right?”

“Yeah, it’s a small team. Uh, we can say like an indie team here. Uh, actually I am not the sole developer. I am starting a developer agency here. So we have a team. We also partnered with other people like for instance, Enea LeFons, the man of the 30 days in VR. He helped us with audio and also a bit with the art. I really think that was fun also to do these things together because just developing alone is so boring.”

“Yeah, of course. So this is your agency’s first project?”

“Yeah, it’s the first new product. We’re called New Technology Walkers. And we mostly have a B2B consultancy. Training, maintenance, that kind of stuff. Also, we have some experiments with the Focus that are published online, but it’s the first little part of those that we made. We are really proud of them.”

Image credited to SkarredGhost

“Tell me more about HitMotion: Reloaded. What was the idea behind getting the elements to pop up in front of the player as opposed to seeing the elements coming at them from a distance?”

“Uh, yeah. Are you asking where the idea of the game came from?”

“Yeah, the idea of the base gameplay elements.”

“Well. Um, the idea is a mix of things. We knew that we wanted to do something that reminded us a bit of HitMotion that was a full body VR game. So you could also kick stuff, punch it, use your pelvis to destroy things. We tried to get some ideas, so we actually made some experiments.

We tried different things and we also started to get some inspiration from other games. But the problem is that we didn’t have that much time because, uh, at a certain point, someone suggested ‘Hey, why don’t you showcase the game at the Vive Ecosystem Conference? It’s like, in one month and a half.’ This is one of the most important events for HTC, and we had limited time. So it was a really interesting experience, to say the least. We had to find an idea for the demo that was not too complicated to dev up. So you know, for instance, BOXVR is a complete training solution. You can’t develop it in like one month, right? So we thought about something simple like, okay, ‘You see objects. You punch them.’ To add something a bit different, Enea LeFons suggested ‘Hey guys, why don’t you add some kind of audio feedback to the game?’ So the elements are sound reactive. They pump with the frequency domain, and you see them pumping with the music.

So we continued on this path. We managed only to make a little demo because the time was very limited, but at the event, people tried and appreciated it. Mixed reality was very useful because we didn’t have a big booth. And so the fact that people could see the surroundings made them play safely. So we got no injured people, and we also got some good feedback and also some suggestions on how to improve the game. And now we’re developing the complete solution. So the real game, not only the demo. We’re employing all the feedback that we got from the people that have tried it at the event or even here in the lab.”

“Are you planning to release it beyond the Vive Focus Plus?”

“Well at the moment, we’re focused on developing for the Focus. But after we’ve distributed the final version of the game for the Plus and Viveport, it will also be compatible with Pico and the other Vive Wave-compatible headsets. We may start working also on other devices. So, we’re considering it for an open ecosystem and such. The first step is to put it on the Focus Plus, and then who knows what other headsets.”

“Regarding the Quest, we all know that it’s fantastic because it’s very light. It has great games like Vader Immortal, Beat Saber and such. But it’s also a more closed ecosystem, both on the hardware and software side. I know a lot of people that have their apps being rejected on the Quest.” – Antony Vitillo

“Okay, cool. That’s interesting. Do you know of similar upcoming games that are coming to the Vive Focus Plus?”

“At VEC, I was able to try another game about boxing. It was different. There was an avatar that let you, uh, punch stuff like in the books in Chinese. So you’d have to punch his hands, you know. I don’t know how to explain it. But you’d train with an avatar that was your personal trainer. And it was in VR. And there were other kinds of experiences.”

“Okay. But they were unlike experiences that we’re used to in the non-Chinese market?”

“Uh, no, I don’t think that they were like the other ones like, you know, BOXVR or Beat Saber. Those were more exclusive to the Quest.”

“Huh, that’s interesting. Are you trying to mainly reach the Chinese market?”

“Well, we’re actually open to the worldwide market and not totally focused on China. Of course, I think that Focus Plus will be very strong in the Chinese market. Also, it’s more difficult to get a Quest in China. It’s possible, but it’s complicated. Uh, so I think that it could be an opportunity to enter China as our first market. We have just translated the demo in Chinese. So, yeah, it will be interesting to see how we perform in that market.”

“We hope to have a version available in, you know, in the upcoming quarters. So in the summer or in September, we’ll have something on the store. It’s not an official statement, we just hope to make that time. During the summer we also hope to have fun in the sun, so the release date may go backward.” – Antony Vitillo

“So does your team ever plan on starting development for the Oculus side?”

“Are you talking in general, or for the game?”

“Just in general.”

“No, I’m just, uh, I’m open to whatever platform. I played all that on Oculus Quest as soon as I could. I like the openness of the HTC Vive Focus. HTC is also offering stuff like hand tracking, gesture tracking, and then it’s more open to USB stuff, Bluetooth. So I like that the Focus Plus is more hackable. Regarding the Quest, we all know that it’s fantastic because it’s very light. It has great games like Vader Immortal, Beat Saber and such. But it’s also a more closed ecosystem, both on the hardware and software side. I know a lot of people that have their apps being rejected on the Quest. And then as I’ve said in my comparison post, I think that uh, Oculus is now targeting more bigger studios. Especially for funding and better support. There’s the Oculus Launch Pad program, but I’ve learned that they’re more interested in the bigger studios. Meanwhile, I’m seeing that HTC is more open to little studios, little experiments, and indies. So this is also one of the reasons why I targeted the Focus. But I feel that, yeah, the Quest, the Focus Plus, and even the Mirage Solo are interesting devices.”

“Do you have a release date?”

“Um, no, not a release date. We hope to have a version available in, you know, in the upcoming quarters. So in the summer or in September, we’ll have something on the store. It’s not an official statement, we just hope to make that time. During the summer we also hope to have fun in the sun, so the release date may go backward.”

“Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t talked about yet?”

“The demo is already free on Viveport. I hope that you have a Focus Plus around your house so you can try it.”

“No one from HTC sent me any Vive demos so far! It’d be nice. But yeah, no, I mean I’ve tried a Vive Focus Plus once. It was during my NordicTrack demo at GDC earlier this year. That was the only time I tried it. It was like, for five minutes tops.”

“Okay. The next time you see a Vive Focus Plus person, ask them to let you try the HitMotion game. The best game ever for the Focus Plus. Um, the final version of the game will be available in maybe two or three years. That will be a paid game. So not super expensive, but a paid experience. I hope the people who try it will give us some feedback because we have this demo out and we know that is very hard. But it was made just for the VEC. It’s already fun, I know people are having fun with it, but we want feedback wherever possible. Another thing that I want to say to you, Gabriel, is that launching the game in front of Shenzhen was pretty cool. So being there, in front of this audience of Chinese people and telling them that I was going to launch my game. I think it will never happen again. But it was very cool.”

(Update 6/22: SkarredGhost has reached out to us and clarified that what he originally meant to say in the interview was that a ‘final’ version is what’s getting released this summer. He does, however, hope to continue offering support and polishing the title for two to three years.)

“What kind of responses did you get?”

“Uh, what kind of response from the Chinese people?”

“Yeah.”

“When I was doing the talk, you know, they laughed at me when I started talking in Chinese at the beginning. So maybe they weren’t expecting that. Um, I don’t even know if I said everything in the right way. But when they tried the game, we got the feedback that it was very nice.”

“Haha, well alright! I think that’s all I need, Tony. Thank you for spending your time chatting with me!”

“Thank you, Gabriel!”


If you’re a Vive Focus Plus owner who’s interested in trying out the HitMotion: Reloaded demo, you can check it out on the official HitMotion website.

Is HitMotion: Reloaded something you’d try out? Let us know in the comments.


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