On the Apple TV 4K, VAST is a buttery-smooth, anime-flavoured sci-fi FPS, and at the moment the Apple TV platform is the only place you can play it. In a playground filled with iOS to tvOS conversions, VAST is a salmon swimming upstream, being tvOS-only, although Xander Davis and his team at Astrogun have a multi-platform future planned for this episodic adventure.
But before all that comes to fruition, Davis today revealed some exciting short-term plans, which involve a complete graphical overhaul, the impressive results of which you can see in the loop above.
““The leap in performance and visual fidelity that VAST is getting is the equivalent to that seen in a generational leap in consoles,” Davis explained today in his reveal. “It’s only been a few months since soft-launch, and yet you used to have to wait a decade to get this kind of improvement in your favorite game franchise, both as gamers and as a development studio. We are pushing the brand-new Apple TV 4K and its A10X Fusion chip with Apple’s Metal graphics API to the absolute max, reaching parity with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One level visuals.”
The update will come free for those who have already purchased episode 1 of VAST, as will the future episodes, so this graphical makeover will be like getting a new game all over again. The same but different. Very different if you check out the original trailer for the version of VAST that released last year, embedded below.
The overhaul comes in tandem with an update to the game development platform – Unity – which Astrogun is using to craft its FPS. Over on Astrogun’s blog, Davis goes into the juicy details with lots of words like lightmapping, soft ambient occlusion, and colour correction stylisation, but thankfully, also has a knack for translating it to us civilians who just want to shoot an alien in the face.
“I want to make sure we find the right balance between a fully textured look and the more anime-like art-style we want to lean more into, which is more the voice of VAST,” Davis explains. “There’s a level of minimalism and yet hyperreality I want to try to achieve that makes the world of VAST seem very fun and welcoming for adventure, yet rich in detail and especially colour.”
If you’re new to reading ATVG, or somehow missed it (I forgive you), you really should check out our world-exclusive interview with Xander Davis, in which Astrogun’s fearless leader took us on a deep dive through the making of VAST, the highs and lows of developing for Apple’s newest gaming platform, and future plans for the IP.
In our Best Apple TV Games of 2017 we gave the gong for Best FPS to VAST, and its exciting to think that it’s about to get a whole lot better when this update lands, which is scheduled for early May 2018.