On April 5, Lightning Rock released their first game – Marble Mountain – and JG caught up with CEO Shannon Pickles to find out more.
Lightning Rock is a young, Canberra-based company formed by a group of old friends, who had a range of careers but grew up playing games together.
“Our passion for gaming and technology never disappeared however, and every now and then we would talk about turning our coding and game development hobby into more of a reality.” Shannon said.
“Then one day on a random road trip back from Sydney, back in 2012… we just started chatting and decided if we didn’t actually do this now we never would.”
It wasn’t an easy road to Marble Mountain. With Lightning Rock being so small, and without a huge amount of experience, there was plenty of beating through the bush before they emerged from the forest.
“There has been three other titles that we started development on but fell by the wayside because they just weren’t coming out the way we wanted them to, or we realised we were in over our heads.”
Their achievement becomes even more impressive when you discover that the Lightning Rock team all worked part time to complete the project.
“The team is still really what I refer to as ‘hobby devs’, we haven’t even progressed to indie dev stage yet! So whilst we have been working on the title for a couple of years most of that has been on weekends, evenings etc.”
Probably one of the biggest drawing cards for Marble Mountain is its integration of Virtual Reality technology. While Pickles stressed that “the game is still awesome and really fun in Non-VR as well,” undoubtedly most of the buzz surrounding the game comes from the new wave of virtual reality gamers. One such player, who tried out Marble Mountain at PAX in Melbourne in 2015, was Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
“According to him it was the first time he had tried Virtual Reality. I can remember one part quite vividly that as he was rolling along he mistimed one of the gate posts and it sent him flying out into the foggy depths, he quite visibly jumped. It’s those visceral types of feelings VR creates I think are what makes the technology so amazing.”
It seems Marble Mountain has only served to wet the Aussie teams appetite for VR .
“We already have plans for development of our next [VR] title we plan to launch this year.”
So exciting times lay ahead for this ‘hobby’ company from Canberra, but Shannon admitted that there is a marble-shaped cosplay hole in his life that he would love someone to fill after none of his team would dress up for PAX.
He said, “I am happy to offer here and now the first person to send me a photo of them in a giant marble cosplay outfit wearing an Indy hat will score themselves 5 free copies of the game!”
So there you go – you know how to win yourself a few copies of Marble Mountain, plus you can find our review of the game here.
Marble Mountain is now available on steam, but stay tuned to Just Game to see what more is to come from Lightning Rock.