Low-Fi: Dev Q&A On Massive Cyberpunk VR World, Quest Spin-Off, And More

It’s been over a year since IRIS VR Inc. first introduced us to LOW-FI via Kickstarter and we’ve been excited ever since. Having previously released a separate cyberpunk project for VR, Technolust, IRIS now aims to bring us an open-world sandbox game to VR, giving players full creative freedom.

Playing a police officer assigned to city-block 303, this new cyberpunk game promises open-ended choices, allowing you to “Patrol the streets and the skies, solving mysteries, fighting crime, or giving in to corruption and your own desires”. Promising a non-linear structure, this world is free to explore as you wish, choosing which crimes you wish to investigate and multiple ways to resolve them.

LOW-FI Cyberpunk VR Adventure

It smashed that initial Kickstarter target to reach over $81k in funding and hit several stretch goals, such as an additional “wastelands” area with a larger action focus and your own cyber-wolf companion. These goals also included the promise of a “Next-Gen PSVR” port, notably becoming the PlayStation 5’s first confirmed VR Game. 

We got a fresh look at it as part of our UploadVR Summer VR Showcase 2020, but recent news that the PS5 won’t support existing PSVR headsets (outside backwards compatibility) has led to much debate about VR’s future on Sony’s next-gen console. 

With Jim Ryan ruling out new VR announcements in the near term, we reached out to Blair Renaud at IRIS to discuss the implications this has on LOW-FI’s announced PS5 edition, also taking the opportunity to discuss just what we can expect from its gameplay.

Henry Stockdale, UploadVR: Firstly, thank you for joining me here Blair. For any readers unfamiliar with LOW-FI and it’s development, could you please introduce yourselves?

Blair Renaud: Hey, I’m Blair Renaud. CEO and director of IRIS VR INC. Grumpy old game dev. Probably best known for LOW-Fi and Technolust (Oculus Rift Launch title). I’ve been in the game industry for about 25 years now.


UploadVR: You’ve described LOW-FI as a huge open-world game, bringing us a sandbox style adventure with action elements.  What inspired yourselves to create such an ambitious project?

Renaud: VR is one of the greatest artistic tools humanity has devised. We have the ability to transport the user into a new world of our creation. I’m a huge fan of 1980’s cinematic classics like Blade Runner, Robocop and Total Recall. So it’s natural for me to want to build similar worlds. If I had a holodeck, this is the type of program I would want to enjoy.


UploadVR: Considering the setting, LOW-FI has often compared to a VR version of Cyberpunk 2077, something you’ve also done via Twitter. In terms of gameplay though, would you say there’s much common ground between the two?

Renaud: No not really. I mean, I havent played CP2077, so I can’t really say how similar it is. Did I compare it? Maybe just to say I have flying cars and they don’t? haha. I really don’t think it will be very similar at all outside of the general genre of cyberpunk. LOW-FI will have optional gunplay, whereas it seems to be the focus of CP2077. We have no fail states. What I’m trying to create is more of an open world for a player to do whatever they feel like doing, whereas CP2077 seems to be a bit more scripted and (dare I say) linear. Though we will have multiple story-lines for the player to follow, I like to think that we’re doing something a bit different with LOW-FI.


UploadVR: Within the game, we’re playing a police officer that’s been assigned to a crime-ridden section of city-block 303. What sort of characters can we expect to meet along this journey?

Renaud: Most of the human inhabitants of the world are permanently jacked into The Platform, a sort of Facebook metaverse. The only people left are the other “low-fi”, who for one reason or another can’t or won’t subject themselves to it. Some have medical reasons, others ideological. We’ve got all types though. Corporate execs, Ugly Bob the pawnshop owner and his robot companion Penny, a mechanic who deals in illicit firmware, a cybernetics dealer named Juan who’s trying to steal advanced tech from the AI who reached an intelligence singularity and many more. On top of that there are a ton of robots of various types left behind by the singularity.

UploadVR: You’ve described it as a non-linear experience with a branching narrative, so I’d like to ask about story progression. Is that dependent on what crimes you investigate, or is there set criteria to meet before players can advance?

Renaud: That’s something I want to leave completely up to the player. For example; right off the bat, you’re told about the officer you’re replacing, who is dead in the morgue. If you want to investigate that, you’re free to do so. Clues and twists await. Or, if you want to just go to the casino and pay the slots in hopes of buying a cool arcade machine for your apartment with your winnings, you can do that too. I really want to leave it all open ended. As I said. No “save the world” stuff.


UploadVR: A morality system is also featured, giving players creative freedom in how they solve crimes, from simple arrests to accepting bribes. Does that factor into the branching paths, or are there other consequences to your actions?

Renaud: There isn’t really a morality system per se. There are however a lot of morally grey options for the player to explore. They have consequences in the same way they would in the real world. If for example, you accept a bribe, that’s on you. You’re really the only law in town, so you’ll probably get away with it. What consequence letting someone get away with a crime might have really depends on the crime though. I want those feelings to be on the player. I’m not here to tell you what I think you should do in any given situation. There’s no score system, outside of maybe money. A lot like life.


UploadVR: Does gunplay factor into that too? It’s been mentioned as an optional feature previously, so it sounds like you can solve crimes without resorting to weapons.

Renaud: Gunplay is completely optional and will be limited to use against AI. I feel like if someone want’s to play shooty-man VR, they have plenty of outlets for that. That’s said, there will be full quest-lines involving hunting down rogue androids if they player chooses to pursue them. They pay well, but I can’t guarantee some of the androids wont try to tug at your heart strings.


UploadVR: LOW-FI garnered attention as PS5’s first VR game but right now, a new PSVR headset is unconfirmed and existing headsets can only be used via backwards compatibility, Hitman 3 and No Man’s Sky being prominent examples. Jim Ryan seems to have ruled out a successor being released before 2022, so where does that leave LOW-FI’s PS5 edition?

Renaud: I can’t speak to anything about a possible PSVR 2 outside of saying that if/when it becomes available, we fully intend to port LOW-FI to it. In the meantime, we are a registered Sony developer, and are also working on a non-VR version of the game.


UploadVR: You’ve ruled out a PS4 version previously, but previous comments suggest that was more about the PS Move controllers than the console itself. Was this truly an insurmountable hurdle?

Renaud: Though the PS Move controllers are a terrible fit for the game, that’s not the only reason. PS4 is very last-gen at this point. LOW-FI is a next-gen VR title.

UploadVR: During the Kickstarter campaign, “Next-Gen PSVR” was mentioned and PS5 support was a Kickstarter stretch goal. Has Sony given you any indication to their future plans? 

Renaud: Yes, but I can’t speak to them. Nor am I sure that they haven’t changed. Recent announcements indicate that they may have.


UploadVR: Your last Kickstarter campaign update confirmed a pitch had been sent to Oculus, regarding a LOW-FI spin-off called Agency for Quest. Has there been any further developments on this?

Renaud: Yes! It’s been approved! It still needs funding to justify taking people away from LOW-FI though. Fingers crossed for us!


UploadVR: Lastly, is there anything you’d like to share with LOW-FI’s fans?

Renaud: I want to thank all the current backers for their support of course! They have made my dreams come true! I’m a holodeck programmer! And if anyone want’s to help support next-gen VR and get in on the action they can purchase LOW-FI at https://anticleric.itch.io/low-fi and get immediate access to the development build which we update all the time. Then, when the game is released, they’ll be able to choose what platform they get a key for (Steam, Oculus, ect.).

Fore more on Low-Fi, be sure to check out our coverage hub and let us know what you think down in the comments below!

Low-Fi Dev Build Updates Adds Playable Gameboy And SNES Machines In VR

A new update to the developer build of upcoming cyberpunk indie VR game Low-Fi adds a playable SNES arcade cabinet and a handheld Gameboy console.

While the in-game devices won’t ship with emulator cores or ROMs installed, players will be able to supply these themselves in order to get the devices working in-game.

In two tweets from Low-Fi developers Blair Renaud and Noah Rayburn, the Low-Fi team showed off two new easter eggs coming to the developer build of the game, available to Kickstarter backers or those who purchase access online. The videos show a SNES arcade cabinet and a handheld Gameboy console, both running their respective system’s titles via emulation. This fun feature will be available in-game for anyone to try out, after a little bit of set up.

The emulation runs as a LibRetro front end, so the feature won’t be available until players supply their own console cores and game ROMs. Currently, only the TGB Dual core for Gameboy and the snes9x2010 core for SNES are supported.

To get the cores up and running, users will have to download the zip files for their desired core and extract the DLL file inside. Then, they can navigate to their Low-Fi install folder and place the DLL files in /Low-Fi_Data/Libretro/Cores.

Once the cores are in place, uses can place their game ROMs in /Low-Fi_Data/Libretro/Roms/. The Gameboy core supports .gb, .gbc and .sgb files, and the SNES core supports .smc files.

Once everything is in the right place, the SNES arcade and the handheld Gameboy should be fully playable in-game and work just like real devices. Low-Fi developer Blair Renaud says the plan is to support more consoles over time, both handheld and cabinets, but the focus is on the more important work and the game’s core mechanics for now.

Elsewhere this update includes a fresh graphics pass, new storefronts, an example dialogue system and other features. You can see the full changelog right here.

The update is available now to those who have access to the developer build.

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Low-Fi Oozes Gritty Cyberpunk VR Style In Latest Trailer

The latest Low-Fi trailer debuted today during the UploadVR Summer VR Showcase 2020 and it’s still looking just as cyberpunk and stylish as ever with a planned release for sometime this year in 2020 for PC VR. Apparently a PlayStation 5 version is in development as well.

Watch the latest trailer right here:

If you’ve been following this game since its original reveal and/or Kickstarter success, then there isn’t too much new information in that trailer. We got a few glimpses and clips of areas we haven’t seen before, as well as some nice footage of the cyber doggo walking alongside the main character, but not too much else.

More than anything, this trailer is just good reassurance that development seems to be going well. It’s difficult to overstate just how ambitious of a project Low-Fi looks to be, especially for a team of this size, but after Technolust, which was great, we’re optimistic about its chances.

Low-Fi is being billed as a completely open-ended non-linear VR game with a rich and detailed atmosphere. If it can deliver, there is a lot to be excited for here.

We don’t have a release date or release month yet, but IRIS VR continues to proclaim that Low-Fi will release later this year for PC VR headsets. If you want to try an early alpha version of the game right now, you can pay for that access right now, which will include a copy of the full game once it releases.

Check out every trailer, article, announcement, interview, and more from the UploadVR Showcase right here.

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LOW-FI Finishes Kickstarter Fully Funded, Reaches 4 Additional Stretch Goals

LOW-FI, the latest project from Technolust developers IRIS VR, has finished its Kickstarter campaign.

It has been fully funded and has reached four additional stretch goals, raising $81,188 total after an initial goal of $45,384.

The Kickstarter went live early last month and the developers are looking at a 2020 release for the game on PC VR headsets. David went hands-on with an early access version of the game just before the Kickstarter launched. That build centered around exploring the dystopian, cyberpunk-themed city of the game, both on foot and in your air car, which lets you fly around in a Blade Runner-esque manner.

The game also surpassed its funding goal by a large margin, opening up the possibility of reaching several stretch goals. The first three of those included a next-gen PSVR port, licensed music and a new “wastelands” area of the city. However, the Kickstarter also just recently surpassed the fourth stretch goal, which unlocked a cyber-wolf companion.

The video above, posted alongside an update to the Kickstarter, shows off an in-game model of said cyber-wolf, which looks pretty slick but also a little bit creepy. The campaign update describes the cyber-wolf as “a tamable pet and loyal companion. You can fight crime together, cause trouble, or just play fetch if that’s what you want to do.”

According to the campaign’s FAQ, pledge rewards will be issued after the end of the campaign, so any backers can hopefully expect those tiered rewards to come through soon.

Did you help fund LOW-FI on Kickstarter? What are your thoughts on the gameplay we’ve had so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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Cyberpunk VR LOW-FI Kickstarter Surpasses $65K Unlocking New Wasteland Area

Upcoming open-world cyberpunk VR action adventure game, LOW-FI, just surpassed another Kickstarter (campaign page here) stretch goal milestone to include a brand new Wastelands zone.

After just a few days over 700 people pledged over $45,000 to help LOW-FI reach its initial goal. In the two weeks since then it has gone on to raise an additional $20,000 to surpass its second $64,000 stretch goal: The Wastelands area.

According to a recent update on the Kickstarter campaign, the new area will be much more action-oriented than the rest of the game, which takes place inside the city itself in a perpetually overcast nighttime atmosphere.

wastelands low-fi area

“Far outside the city walls, a desolate land exists. A land where your badge means nothing. A land filled with the wreckage of the old world, where scavengers and protein farmers make their own rules. Only the bravest souls will want to venture out into the wastes. Are you one of those brave souls?

The plan for the wastelands is to allow for more action oriented gameplay. With your weapon at the ready, you’ll be able to barter with locals and plunder alongside the lawless scavengers. It’s a true wild-west out here where anything can happen. A place where our next stretch goal may come in really handy.”

We went hands-on with an extremely early Alpha build of LOW-FI just before the Kickstarter launched and it honestly has a lot of promise. Visually it’s looking excellent already and the atmosphere is palpable. Piloting the flying patrol car felt great and the city feels alive and teeming with seedy bad actors waiting to be exposed. The pitch is for an ambitious cyberpunk simulation with emergent gameplay around every corner as a true sandbox, so time will tell if that comes to fruition. I really enjoyed Technolust, so I’m confident this developer can deliver.

The next stretch goal tier is a Cyberwolf Companion with ominous glowing blue eyes that will take commands and become a powerful force by your side.

Let us know what you think of LOW-FI and whether or not you pledge to VR Kickstarters at all down in the comments below!

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Cyberpunk Adventure ‘LOW-FI’ to Feature Exclusive Music by GUNSHIP

Fans of British synthwave band GUNSHIP rejoice: LOW-FI, the upcoming cyberpunk VR game and spiritual successor to TECHNOLUST (2016), is getting an exclusive Gunship EP.

IRIS VR released word in a Kickstarter update this week, revealing that not only will the game feature a number of cool ’80s inspired tracks, but that the campaign now has a number of rewards that fans of the band should appreciate.

Backers of the ‘CYBERPUNK’ tier or above, which starts at $60 CAD (~$45 USD), will receive a digital download of the exclusive GUNSHIP/LOW-FI EP.

Many tiers now feature the ability to enter into a lottery to hang out with Gunship in the social VR platform VRChat too.There’s also a Gunship themed in-game credit, and high resolution GUNSHIP/LOW-FI artwork.

Gunship made this statement in support of the game:

“We  ( GUNSHIP ) are big fans of VR. Like you guys, we grew up reading about cyberspace, the metaverse, the matrix, and more recently the Oasis… . It feels  like a cool thing to do, to help bring this project to your attention  – like  adding a small brick to the big wall of VR gaming progress over history. LOW-FI  is being built by Blair Renaud and his band of VR renegades – these guys were responsible for ‘Technolust’, a game which we all felt was as close to getting inside  Blade Runner as currently possible. We spent a lot of time wandering around in ‘Technolust’ channeling inspiration for tracks like ‘Cyber City’ and ‘Woken  Furies’. LOW-FI is being built with the indie spirit, and we feel that its team are precisely the type of people who will usher in the VR experience which fans of our collective nature & tastes have all been long waiting for. These guys are pioneers, let’s help them push VR forward!  We are hugely excited to channel our years of obsession surrounding dystopian sci-fi narratives and cyberpunk lore into some original music for LOW-FI. It’s going to be FUN, come get involved, maybe we’ll see you in ‘the  platform’…”

The stretch goal was initially unlocked when the campaign passed the $52,000 mark (~$70,000 CAD). Soon after, the campaign also unlocked a stretch goal at $64,000 (~$84,000 CAD) which is slated to bring a new Wastelands area to the game.

'LOW-FI' Kickstarter Reaches Funding Goal in 3.5 Days, Now Eyeing Stretch Goals

At the time of this writing, the project’s campaign is sitting at a little over $64,000 (~$58,000 CAD). Two major stretch goals are still on the horizon, namely a version for the next-gen PSVR at $256,000 (~$380,000 CAD) and an Oculus Quest version at $600,000 (~$780,000 CAD).

There’s still a few more unrevealed stretch goals on the horizon though, so there’s no telling what cybernetic implant madness IRIS VR has up its duster coat’s sleeves.

Make sure to check out the Kickstarter here.

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LOW-Fi Cyberpunk Kickstarter Fully Funded With Weeks Of Fundraising Left

The cyberpunk-inspired VR project LOW-Fi from IRIS VR is fully funded on Kickstarter after just a few days of crowdfunding.

More than 700 backers pledged past the $45,384 goal IRIS VR set for the project which already has a working alpha build we were able to try. The studio headed up by Blair Renaud released Technolust (Review 8/10) back in 2016 with LOW-FI representing what’s been produced from the profits of that work. The studio is seeking funding to build additional content into the game.

The risks portion of the Kickstarter helps explain why the project funded so quickly: “There is almost no risk to you as a backer. Not only does our team have multiple shipped VR titles (some on kickstarter), but you will also be given immediate access to the development build of the game.”

Here’s some of the early alpha gameplay from LOW-FI:

A pledge of about $35 in United States dollars promises “access to LOW-FI’s private developer discord channel where you can help shape the game and receive exclusive 0-day updates” as well as “immediate access to the development build of the game as well as a completed retail copy on the platform of your choosing (Steam, Oculus Home or Windows MR).” The retail version of the game is slated for release in late 2020.

The project finishes fundraising on Oct. 2 with that same month listed as the delivery timeframe for the Kickstarter’s rewards. “With extra funds comes more content, higher quality sound, art, animation and talent,” the project page states. LOW-FI launched on Sept. 2 and they’ve already announced the first stretch goal.

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Technolust Team Launch KickStarter for Cyberpunk VR Experience Low-Fi

In 2016 indie developer Iris VR Inc. launched its first virtual reality (VR) experience Technolust, a cyberpunk-themed adventure made possible thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. Now the studio is back with another crowd-funding campaign for the videogames’ spiritual successor Low-Fi. 

The brainchild of Blair Renaud, Low-Fi is another dystopian sci-fi experience inspired by some of the film greats such as Blade Runner, Robocop, Outland and Alien. A story synopsis explains that:

“LOW-FI is the street name given to those who cannot merge with The Platform, a ubiquitous virtual reality simulation where most of the population now live their lives. You are a low-fi police officer that has recently been transferred to a particularly crime ridden section of city-block 303. The only inhabitants of note in your jurisdiction are other low-fi, and human intelligence (or below) artificial life forms who have remained among the citizens after the AI singularity.”

As a cop you can patrol the city streets on foot, finding crime among the dark neon-lit streets or head into the skies to cover vast areas in your police cruiser. Designed as a non-linear open world for you to explore, you’re free to do your job and investigate crimes or simply head to the casino if that’s what you want.

Low-Fi screenshot3

The Low-Fi Kickstarter aims to raise $60,000 CAD in the next 30 days, having already achieved just over $22,000. To access a copy of the videogame when it becomes available you’ll need to pledge at least $35 (£22 GBP) for the normal retail copy. Here’s where things get a little confusing. Most of the tiers list a delivery date of October 2019, but that’s not for the full title, merely the ‘Development Build’ which is included with all but the first two tiers. As Iris VR lists on its website, the full commercial release of Low-Fi is expected to happen sometime in 2020.

To begin with Low-Fi is being made for PC VR headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality. The studio has also set some lofty stretch goals, two of which include PlayStation VR ($500,000) and Oculus Quest ($850,000) support. As the campaign continues, VRFocus will bring you further updates.

‘LOW-FI’ Kickstarter Comes to a Close After Nearly Doubling Funding Goal

IRIS VR launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign last month for LOW-FI, an atmospheric cyberpunk virtual reality game and so-called spiritual successor to TECHNOLUST (2016). The campaign is now over, having garnered $108,191 CAD (~$81,000 USD), a bulk of which came in the campaign’s first week.

Update (October 3rd, 2019): The Kickstarter is now over, although IRIS VR promises to open up an Indiegogo campaign in the coming days for anyone who wants to pre-order the game. The Kickstarter’s closest stretch goal wasn’t met, which was said to bring robot fighting to a casino area, and while the game won’t include robot fighting, the casino area has been confirmed by the game’s developer Blair Renaud.

Update (September 6th, 2019): The Low-Fi Kickstarter has reached its ~$45,000 ($60,000 CAD) goal in less than 3.5 days. The remaining 26 days will move the campaign closer to its stretch goals which range from additional music and game content to a version of Low-Fi for next-gen PSVR and Oculus Quest, as well as a handful of stretch goals in the interim which haven’t been announced.

The two major stretch goals for a next-gen PSVR and Quest version have also been reduced, putting them closer within reach. The next-gen PSVR port is now promised at $256,000 (~$380,000 CAD), and Quest at $600,000 (~$780,000 CAD).

Update (September 3rd, 2019): Just 30 hours into the Low-Fi Kickstarter, the project has raised nearly 75% of its ~$45,000 ($60,000 CAD) goal. With 28 days remaining in the crowdfunding campaign, the project looks well on its way to surpassing its goal and starting to eye up stretch goals.

The first stretch goal at ~$52,500 ($70,000 CAD) will bring new licensed music to the game, while another ~$7,500 ($10,000 CAD) after that will secure new content called ‘The Wasteland’, though exactly what that entails hasn’t been revealed just yet.

The following three stretch goals thereafter are not yet announced, but way up there at ~$375,000 ($500,000 CAD) is a stretch goal to port the game to the next-gen PSVR platform, followed by an Oculus Quest port at ~$638,000 ($850,000 CAD).

Continue reading "‘LOW-FI’ Kickstarter Comes to a Close After Nearly Doubling Funding Goal"

‘Technolust’ Studio to Bring Cyberpunk Game ‘LOW-Fi’ to Kickstarter in September

IRIS VR, the indie studio known for the cyberpunk adventure Technolust (2016), today announced that the next VR project is headed to Kickstarter on September 1st, 2019.

Dubbed LOW-Fi, the game is described as the spiritual successor to Technolust, as it clearly taps into the same gritty cyberpunk feel that fans of the iconic film and literary genre know so well.

Unlike Technolust however, which is an Oculus platform exclusive, IRIS VR founder and indie VR veteran Blair Renaud says via Twitter that Low-fi is slated to support Oculus Rift, SteamVR headsets, Windows VR headsets, and PC at launch.

Here’s a quick rundown of the story:

As the player, you are “low-fi”, the street name given to those who cannot merge with the platform, a ubiquitous virtual reality simulation where most of the population now live their lives. You are a police officer and have been transferred to city-block 303, a particularly crime ridden section or Toronto. The only inhabitants of note in your jurisdiction are other low-fi, and the human intelligence (or lower) artificial life forms who have remained among the citizens after the AI singularity.

‘Lion King’ Director’s VR Film ‘Gnomes & Goblins’ is Back From the Dead, Now “Coming Soon”

Renaud maintains Low-fi will see release “sometime in 2020.” There’s no word on what the campaign’s initial goal will be, although considering the number of platforms the game is targeting, it could be more than the initial $64,477 CAD (~$49,000 USD) that Technolust garnered through its successful Kickstarter all the way back in 2014.

We’ll keep you posted on all things Low-fi leading up to the campaign. In the meantime, check out the game’s teaser below:

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